Back in the summer of 2014, I found myself completely exhausted with barely enough energy to take a shower. All I wanted to do was order take-out, eat, and sleep. I’d pray for days on my calendar with nothing to do and held out hope for hitting the lotto. I felt a lot of pressure to keep it all together and had moments of feeling like a huge fraud.
I mean, I teach people how to love themselves – this was not supposed to be happening to me!
But, I knew that beating myself up wouldn’t actually get me very far and that if I wanted to come out of this period of my life with my peace of mind intact, then I’d have to start with curiosity and compassion. I knew that this would be an opportunity for an even deeper level of healing that, in the end, would benefit me and you.
And, when I opened to that perspective, I was able to learn so much about myself and my body, and heal old stories and patterns that I didn’t even know was there. As a result, I have delved into an even deeper practice of self-love and self-care, which, in the end, has been a pretty amazing journey.
So, if you are feeling tired all the time and are wondering what is going on with you, here are a few things to consider.
1. Are your hormones in balance?
And not just your sex hormones; they are only a small piece of the overall picture. With the help of a Functional Medicine Doctor or a Naturopath, have your thyroid levels (a full panel, not just TSH), your cortisol rhythm (often the cause of feeling tired and wired), and your blood sugar levels tested. A qualified practitioner will be able to help you discern what the root cause is and help you discover any medications and/or supplements to support you.
Before all of this, I often thought that I could “think my way” to feeling better and found that mindset, while wholly powerful, it is just one piece of the overall puzzle. The bottom line is that if your hormones are out of whack, even the most judicious lifestyle and mindset changes won’t get you very far and it will feel like you are fighting against yourself all the time.
2. Are you just plain doing too much and pushing yourself too hard? Or putting everyone else before yourself?
In our culture, we have a tendency to worship at the altar of busy. We find ourselves using things like coffee and sugar to make it through the day, ignoring the bodies need for rest. For the women I work with, this is often because we’ve been taught that sacrificing yourself is the “right” thing to do.
But, the Truth is though, if you are laid up in bed like I was this summer, you aren’t able to help others.
3. Are you getting plenty of quality sleep?
This one is a little like “duh” but honestly, I can’t tell you how many of my clients have told me that they get plenty of sleep only to find out that they are only sleeping between 5 and 6 hours a night, that they toss and turn all night, that they are constantly waking up, or all three!
Most people need at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night. When you are well rested, you will be able to get out of bed without an alarm and will feel “ready” for the day ahead.
Here are some tips for increasing your quality of sleep:
- go to bed between 9 and 10 PM. Try to get up between 6 and 7 AM. If you must get up for work earlier, go to bed even earlier.
- sleep in a completely dark room. Hotel quality blackout curtains and a sleep mask can help with this.
- sleep in a cool (under 65 degrees) room with breathable linens. This is especially true if you are in menopause.
- turn off all screens (TV, cell phones, computer, tablets) by 8 PM. Try reading a relaxing book in dim light before bed, instead. The “blue light” of screens disturbs our natural circadian rhythm by tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime, which will greatly impact your ability to sleep well.
- use a sound machine or earplugs to drown out any noises that may disturb your sleep
It may also be important to get a sleep study done to ensure that you are breathing properly through the night.
4. Are you taking responsibility for other people’s feelings?
If you often feel like people “dump” their problems on you or you find yourself going over or trying to solve other people’s problems in your mind (including how they respond to you), you are likely taking responsibility for other people’s emotions.
For us caregiver/healer types, this is a huge one because we naturally want to make sure everyone is OK and empathy is one of our greatest gifts. However, the Truth is that you can’t control other people’s emotions and you can’t resolve them, either.
That is their “work” to do, always, 100% of the time. [ click to tweet ]
And trying to will wipe you out because you are trying to make your body process something that is not yours.
Dealing with your own emotions is plenty! Let go of the idea that you are responsible for other people. When you notice yourself doing it, remind yourself that they are trustworthy of handling their own emotional experience.
Honestly, getting enough rest is a big topic and one I could write many more words about. For now those, I trust that these tips will be helpful for you.