Do Less. Do. Less. Say it again. Do Less … how do those two words make you feel? Do you get anxious?
Doing less, this is not the phrase of the 21st century, if you do less, you’re not successful, you’re weak, you’re not doing enough, there’s something wrong with you, you’re not living life, you should be working more, doing more and so on and so on. But by doing less, you actually get to do more, wait, what? Does that make your brain hurt … mine too.
Not listening to my body
For a long time, I couldn’t shake that tired feeling. Some days, I would feel ok, so I would do more, I would go into overdrive. Only to feel like I was hit by a truck for a couple of days. I sort of lost my spark gradually over time, feeling more inclined to lie down, unable to go out and do the things I used to. I stopped enjoying activities that I used to love, the decline seemed so gradual that I don’t really recall when exactly I didn’t feel … myself. And the tiredness and feelings of depression just got worse. No matter how much or how little sleep I had, I was still tired. I was constantly apologising for not doing enough, not being supportive enough, not going out enough, unable to deal with any amount of stress, and feeling constantly overwhelmed. It was so unlike me, to feel so depleted … and that’s because I was … my adrenals were burnt out.
about 3 months ago, my body decided to stop. Bed ridden, I had no choice but to do less. I had this sinking feeling that my poor body, had finally given up. Symptoms included, aching joints, mouth ulcers, headaches that would last for days, aching kidneys, sensitivity to light and noise, a tiredness that no amount of sleep would remedy, so tired in fact, somedays I was unable to lift my body out of bed, nausea, trembles, insomnia – yeah that’s a thing, extreme tiredness and insomnia – it’s called Tired and Wired.
Tests confirmed, cortisol levels and DHEA were crazy low, I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue, A.K.A the 21st century stress syndrome. How does this happen? Relentless stress. When you’re living in high anxiety / adrenaline, fight or flight, buzzing with high doses of cortisol, until you have no more, you crash. And then you’re onto Stage 2 and 3 Adrenal Fatigue which is where I was. My body had been sending me messages, for months. Adrenal Fatigue is a progressive illness, symptoms can be minor, and gradually over time, things get worse.
Taking a long hard look
In between work and lying down a lot, I was lying down a lot … and that was my life. Luckily I got to work from home, so I could lie down and hold my laptop in ways that meant I didn’t even have to lift my head. Yep, I am resourceful.
Since the initial, oh boy, I am sick, what the fuck am I going to do. I have bunkered down and taken so much care of myself and also confirmed for once and for all, that only you can truly take care of yourself. The tables have turned – I am taking care of myself as I have always taken care of others. Of course, a cooked dinner or someone doing grocery shopping would be nice, but you know, there’s take aways and grocery delivery services. Again, being resourceful is a blessing. To be honest, knowing that I was actually sick and that it wasn’t in my head was a relief. I could work with that. I knew I had to do what it took to heal my body.
‘It’s more than just bubble baths’
Friends, self-care is so much more than pedicures and bubble baths. Self care starts with what you put on your body (lotions and potions), how your thoughts affect your mind, body and spirit, something I have been studying in so much depth of late, mindset is so powerful. Self-care is the food you consume, what chemicals you have around you, who you spend your time with – is who you spend time with filling you up, do you feel inspired with the people you hang out with? Each time you’re about to do something, you have to say, is this going to be good for me? I had to look at everything! You don’t know what good health is, until you don’t have it.
So my days look a lot like this, lots of healthy vegetables and fats, more than the recommended 5 veg per day. Like I am literally shoving spinach and broccoli down my throat. Ocean swims, meditation twice per day, gentle walks, yoga – mostly Yin and Restorative, taking a bunch of herbs, a lot of reading and learning new ways of relaxing at life – I am forever a student, time by myself at home, which is so nourishing, and of course, lots of love from my kitty, Coco. And I lie down whenever I can, obviously not so much when I am out, cause that would look weird. I use essential oils that are supporting me in ways, I never could’ve imagined. But that’s a subject for another post, which will be coming soon.
A reminder, it took years to get like this, it’s going to take time to recover
And I see the light now, I feel so much better compared to how I was feeling. Patience has tested me a lot these last few months.
Beauties, I invite you to do less. Do less so you can fill yourself up to do more. Don’t wait until you get sick before realising that. Being busy all the time isn’t something to be proud of, wearing it like some kind of badge of honour. Things suffer, you suffer, relationships suffer, your health will suffer … is it worth it?
So when you are thinking of self care, think of it more as an holistic hug, what will fill up your soul? Take time to breath, to be still, to be grateful, to move with ease, to check in with your soul regularly, to connect with people who love you and appreciate you, create space to be yourself and be with yourself, in all your complexities and humaneness. And most of all, fall in love with yourself.
“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” – Tori Amos
Be good to yourself