Two years ago, I hit the wall. I was bone-crushingly exhausted, and it had nothing to do with sleep. My emotional exhaustion came from pushing myself too hard through one too many difficult relationships and not listening to myself about what would make me happy.
So I did what most sane, rational people do: I stopped everything, sold my house, and went on a road trip… for eight months. Okay, maybe not what most would call sane. But it was effective. I realized the physical, emotional, and spiritual reasons for this collapse.
But knowing how to deal with stress like this means understanding the why. The New York Health Guide would have you consider these five physical reasons for your stress and fatigue:
- Your hormones may be out of whack. Ask your doctor to check your thyroid or adrenals.
- Iron levels. You may have iron-related or non-iron-related anemia.
- Chronic pain. Scan yourself to see if there is pain you’ve just gotten used to experiencing.
- Substance abuse. Daily or frequent drug or alcohol use.
- Medications. Check with your doctor to see if any you are taking could be causing the problem.
For me, it was those amazing hormones that, while working well to orchestrate most feminine functions, were having a difficult time adjusting post-menopause. Our bodies are brilliant when they are in sync and brilliantly out of sync at times, too.
Then there are sometimes emotional, and perhaps even spiritual, reasons for being exhausted.
Do you often find yourself pushing too hard to make something happen because you want it badly but find it’s not happening fast enough? Or are you trying too hard to make a relationship work? Or are you grieving over something or someone you can’t seem to get over, no matter what you do?
Sometimes, that soul weariness comes from simply being bored with our lives. We can’t seem to find anything that juices us up. So what to do? I say move! And I mean it in the most broad sense.
Judith Wurtman says when you are too exhausted to move, move for more energy.
Get up and go for a walk. Go to the gym. Do some sit-ups or pushups. There is something about moving the body that keeps the energy moving for a good period. And you can move in other ways, too!
Consider these possibilities:
- Change your mind. Just decide you will think differently about something from a different perspective. Then find one that makes you feel even slightly better.
- Change the subject. Sometimes the best we can do is think about something else entirely. Consciously choose to think about something that does make you feel good.
- Focus on doing things that nurture you. Take a hot bath with essential oils, Epsom salts, candlelight, and music that inspires you. Or rub oil into your skin and notice how wonderful it feels.
- Break away from that relationship that’s bringing you down, even for a bit. Find people who uplift you.
You don’t have to do what I did and wander the countryside being inspired by the beauty around me for eight months (though I’d strongly recommend that), but maybe it would feel good to take a break for a few days or a few weeks. Most say it’s not possible. But it is.