A Tool to Combat Modern-Day Exhaustion 2.25.15

Several years ago I found myself feeling chronically tired and irritable by the end most days of the week.  Whether I was at home crossing off things on my To-Do list or at work tending to the task at hand, by the middle of the afternoon, I would find myself so exhausted and irritable that I wanted to cry or eat a box of cookies or hide in the corner.  Like most of us, I’d push through these feelings by drinking a cup of coffee, eating a snack or by sheer mental will.  Without a doubt, I’d arrive home at the end of the day feeling too tired to do anything enjoyable and too spent to give of myself to those that I loved.

During that time, I spoke with a friend of mine about how crappy I was feeling who suggested I “take a break” everyday.   I laughed, but also felt a sinking feeling that, yes this is something I need to start doing.  I wanted the solution to my afternoon and evening crash to be complex and savvy, but really, this simple idea provided me with the most benefits.  It's the simple things most of us are not doing that will benefit our minds and bodies the most…

Modern day society is set up to pull us out of balance.  We’re expected to work long hours with little time for breaks and juggle multiple responsibilities outside of the workplace.  While living our daily lives we are bombarded by stimulation of all forms and our minds are moving faster than ever trying to keep up with technology and the tens of things we need to do.  On top of all that, we are human beings who require processing,  feeling and reflecting upon our days and experiences and with little time to even take a lunch break, we tend to stuff all of that really important stuff down with food or more technology.  Our systems are truly screaming for a break to recalibrate, like my friend said.  Our bodymind is not wired to live like this.  I am no science expert (though I secretly wish I was), but I know for sure, that our nervous systems were not meant for this way of living.

I was trying to keep up with this fast-paced life, no time for being or feeling and admittedly, I was a bit addicted to it too.  My driven, Type-A part of my personality couldn’t see the idea of taking a meditation break or a short walk around the block just to relax, as a possibility.  Also, I wasn’t noticing anyone else around me doing this and didn't want to stand out.  I know many of you can relate to this.  Yet, as a Highly Sensitive Person and a Human Being, I couldn’t run on fumes forever and nor was it truly enjoyable.  I knew I needed to make a shift in how I was moving through my day.

Here's what I did: Ready to start feeling better, I started incorporating a 15-minute relaxation and recalibration break every afternoon, often before I would start to feel the crash.  I would even set a timer for 15-minutes.  What worked for me to get to my balanced place at that time was a combination of stretching, meditation and self massage in the afternoon.  It is an exploration process to discover what works for you.

Like I said before, this simple solution proved to be quite beneficial. The part of me that didn’t believe in such a simple solution was surprised at how much better I felt.  I started getting significantly less headaches, effortlessly lost weight, was more in touch with my thoughts and feeling which impacted me relationships and was happier.  I also was more productive and produced better quality work and made less little mistakes.

These days, if I don’t structure this break into my day somehow, I know that I am unlikely to give myself the space to do it and I also know that there is a good chance that something else will come up or someone else will, understandably, need my energy.  It's also the case that there are also so many distractions that tempt us, from watching television, surfing the internet, to really anything that removes us from ourselves and the moment and I can easily fall into that trap.  In looking out for myself and in wanting to feel good and bring that good energy to my interactions with others, I make scheduling this break a nonnegotiable like brushing my teeth.

Check out this video I created for you guys yesterday in which I show you what I did to reset my system in 15-minutes.  

Next week, you’ll receive part II to this article in your inbox in which I’ll share my top 7 favorite ways to reset and re-calibrate on a busy day (including several you can do at the office).  In the meantime, here are some questions to ask yourself.

What time of the day do you start to notice your energy becoming out of balance?  

What do you notice in your mind and body?  How do you feel?  What types of thoughts do you think?

What is your normal response to this feeling, meaning what do you do about it?  Do you push past it or stuff it down, or do you do something to rediscover balance?  No judgement, please! 

As a disclaimer, I have to share that this is usually not the only way I create balance in my life, but it is definitely an important one.


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