SLOW DOWN! DO LESS! RELAX! —Yea, those are all things that I just don’t know how to do and unfortunately, its gotten me into trouble.
It has been about 3 years now, that I started to really “feel” like I was getting older. Or at least that is what I was telling myself was the problem. But I since learned it was much more than that.
2 years ago, when I finally hit rock bottom and felt like a complete zombie, I decided it was time to get some help. I went to a Naturopath and we ran some tests. My hormones were a mess and I was peri-menopausal. FABULOUS!! Just what every 40 year old wants to hear, right?! So with natural supplements, we worked on those hormones. I started to feel a little better but still had no energy and was only sleeping on average 4 to 5 hrs almost every night. Even when I was able to sleep longer, I still wasn’t getting much sleep. I had dark circles under my eyes that wouldn’t go away. I had to take a nap every single day to make it all the way to evening. I was gaining weight even with all my workouts and could tell the I was losing muscle. It was awful. But I had to go on, I had a business to run, workouts to get in and things to do!
Then I decided to try acupuncture. I thought, WHY NOT, something has to change and it can’t make things worse, right?! We started working on my hormones along with my sleep–which are actually connected. If your not sleeping, it can mess with your hormones and vice versa, so why not work on them both! Double whammy! FINALLY, about 3 months in, I started to see the light. I was sleeping on average 6 to 7 hrs and sometimes even 8 hrs a night! My energy was improving!!
Then I started with a Digestion ND and learned that not only were my hormones were a mess, but my digestion was a mess as well. How could this be? I was eating almost a paleo diet, drinking all my water, taking all my supplements, etc. This just didn’t make any sense. So we worked on my digestion for about 3 months along with continuing the acupuncture.
My sleep was getting better, I was feeling better, I was dropping weight and gaining back my muscle, so what did I do?? I worked out more, put more work on my plate, pushed on!!
And here we are to the present…just 3 weeks ago, I started a cardio challenge with my Fit Chicks. I set myself up for getting in over 200 minutes of cardio each week and I did it for 2 weeks straight! On top of adding more to my work plate, putting together a challenge for my Fit Chicks, oh– and just life in general. Guess what happened?
I burnt myself out. I was exhausted. I wanted to sleep all the time. Everything made me want to cry. I didn’t want to wake up in the morning. I was putting on body fat and weight again. I got sick and I felt exactly like I did 2 years ago. 🙁
Back to researching online–what could be wrong with me?? Why was this happening?? I thought maybe it was adrenal fatigue or leaky gut or my hormones again or…. it could be anything. So I talked to my acupuncturist about how I was feeling and what was happening and she proceeded to tell me that I was over doing it. Her exact words were, “Our bodies cannot do both – heal and recover from constant physical exertion -not when you’re as depleted as your tests are showing.” Of course I knew this to be true, but I didn’t want to hear it! I am stubborn. I didn’t want to slow down! I felt GOOD when I worked out! I felt GOOD after cardio!! BUT I know in the end, it only hurts me and if I don’t learn to listen to my body, I will end up having even larger issues than I have now. I am almost 43 and I refuse to live my life like this! So I have to make some decisions. I need to do less. I have to take care of me and do what my body needs at this time.
She sent me a link to a great blog post called “The Dao of Exercise” Here are my favorite parts that REALLY stood out to me:
As Americans, and to an even greater degree, as people from the affluent suburbs of NYC, we are what we would call “Excessive Yang” – a more intense, competitive, driven population. Yang is hot. Yang burns energy. Yang consumes. It can be wonderful – inspiration, movement and vitality – but without the balance of Yin, Yang will send us up in a burst of flames. So we are already living in that relative state of imbalance. As a culture, we already could use a little more yin. Whether it be sleep, meditation, yoga, alkalizing, more blood, more fluids, more cooling, more grounding, we need something to offset and balance out the constant stress and movement that most of us experience daily.
–I am so YANG!! I need more YIN!!! —
We have these resources that we use to navigate our lives in whatever way we choose. These resources are what we rely on to live. Everything from sweat and tears, to blood, cerebrospinal fluid, semen, hormones and even bone marrow is considered a precious resource that serves a valuable purpose. The fluid we lose in perspiration is expended to cool our bodies, to detoxify and to expel pathogens when we are fighting illness. Urine carries unwanted waste out of our bodies. Even tears are part of a cleansing process. Generally speaking, the denser the resource, the more precious and difficult to replace, which is why we shed tears far more readily than we would shed blood. Hormones are part of this continuum as well, which is why symptoms associated with hormone imbalance (hyper/hypothyroidism, hot flashes, menstrual irregularities, night sweats) tend to occur more frequently as we tap into deeper resources. And if you’re tapping into bone marrow, you had better have a very good reason.
–This was exactly what I was doing.. “tapping out” my reserves.–
True healing takes time and patience, but the benefits of slowing down and making that time tend to be profound and lasting. Many people are amazed by how simple shifts in diet and lifestyle can energize, reverse age-related symptoms, speed healing and promote wellness.
–Well said and I need to print that first sentence out and post where I can see it daily.–
I am learning to listen to my body, which is most important. If it’s telling you to slow down, DO IT! The sooner you listen, the quicker your body will heal and respond. Don’t make the mistakes that I have which will end up taking me probably a year or so for my body to recover fully.
So what am I going to do about all this? Well here is my current plan.
- Slow down– take more time for ME!
- Only worry about things that really NEED to be done!
- Add some YOGA to my schedule, at least 2x per week.
- Only walk for my cardio, BUT I need to prep for a 5K and Mud Run in May—so some running will be done, but ONLY if my body is feeling like it can.
- Start working on healing my gut naturally, again.
- Add meditation to my life. Even if it involves just sitting outside, enjoying the sunshine and keeping my brain clear.
- Asking for help when I need it and saying NO when I can.
- Continue my weight workouts, but again, ONLY if my body is feeling good.
- Be grateful for how far I have come with my “issues” and be patient, knowing I will recover fully from all of it if I just let things go and do less. 🙂