(blood sugar) causing a domino effect of unbalanced hormones which mess with sleep cycles. And there you’ve brewed yourself the perfect stew of anxiety.
Before we dig into this anxiety causing cycle, I would be remiss if I did not mention that there are medical reasons for anxiety that shouldn’t be ignored. Thyroid imbalances, anxiety disorders, trauma – heart disease and asthma also cause anxiety as well as mental health issues. Early childhood trauma is another trigger and these are just a few of the underlying causes of anxiety. If you are experiencing severe anxiety please see your doctor or mental health professional.
But with medical issues ruled out, the self-inflicted anxiety remains.
So, I want to take a minute to thread this all together – overwhelm is an emotional state developed from beliefs and habits we unwittingly adopt. Such as guilt, which leads to over-pleasing, which leads to over-whelm. Which we now know, from Part 1 (Five Strategies to Overcome Guilt) and Part 2 (The Disease to Please) of this series, is due societal training of women to feel guilty and over-please.
In my last blog we looked at practical ways to break the cycle of guilt so that it doesn’t take over our lives. The more I think about this though, the more I’m troubled by a pattern I see. Why is it that women are more prone to feel unwarranted guilt than men?
I’ve been thinking about this tendency and then I found this gem of wisdom that I believe gets to the core of the issue “The answer probably lies in socialization. Women and girls have been socialized for thousands of years to get along with others, not hurt anybody’s feelings, and take care of loved ones”. This is Melanie Greenburg, PhD take on this tendency and I think she is spot on. We feel guilty when we perceive we are falling short. It’s impossible to please everyone, but oh how that early childhood belief system, haunts us well into adulthood.
Guilt manifests itself in our lives in ways we can’t see ourselves. I didn’t even know I had a problem until a friend asked me “were you raised Catholic?” and I didn’t know what she was talking about until she said, “you are driven by guilt!”
That stopped me in my tracks – my jaw dropped! As hard as it was, I had to admit she was right. I felt guilty about everything. I felt guilty because I was never good enough, was never able to offer enough, and could never ‘do’ enough.
We’ve been duped!
Years ago, I taught a course, along with a Doctor friend of mine, on cancer prevention, which of course included education about eating to live healthy. I didn’t want anyone with cancer to feel bad due to their food choices because the truth is, we have been duped. In the 1940’s the era of industrialized food began. Canned food, frozen dinners, boxed food became the accepted way of living.
As a society, we have experienced a metaphorphosis of cultures. Around the turn of the twentieth century, as Susan Cain writes in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, “Americans shifted from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality…in the Culture of Character, the ideal self was serious, disciplined, and honored…The word personality didn’t exist in English until the eighteenth century…but when they embraced the Culture of Personality, Americans started to focus on how other people perceived them” and the age of ‘personality is power’ was born.
As far as I’m concerned when the industrialization of America began, everything went to hell in a handbasket – you, me, all of us were duped! We were led to believe that industrialized food was good for us and to be a ‘good’ person, you best be outgoing, powerful and dare I say – busy! Who you were as an individual didn’t matter. What mattered was to emulate those with ‘personality’ – the movers, the shakers, the doers!
I would like to believe that a new day is dawning. That we have entered a culture of ‘waking up’. That we no longer need to be a certain way, to be accepted by society. That we can once again find honor in being who we really are.
When I sold my nutrition store, and a few months later embarked on my ‘Year of No’ sabbatical, I struggled. Without the energy boost from caffeine (doctor’s orders to stop) and the buzz of winding myself up, I was lost. After decades of being on the go from the moment I woke up, until my head hit the pillow, I had no idea what my natural rhythm or ‘real’ energy was.
I am lucky. My life has led me exactly to where I need to be. Had I continued at the pace I was living, my health would have been in more serious jeopardy than it already was. What I learned is I am not high energy. What I learned is down-time is as important as oxygen. What I learned is I re-fuel with quiet time. What I learned is I am not a Type A personality, but I wanted to be, because my perception was that high energy people were liked, accepted and successful.
I was Curious what was being written about energy, so I googled ‘How to determine your natural energy levels’.
Here are the top search results:
*9 Tips to Boost Your Energy Naturally – Harvard
*Exhausted? 10 Ways to Sky Rocket Your Energy Levels – Dr. Axe
*Top Ten Ways to Boost Your Energy – WebMD
*11 Ways to Boost Your Energy Level, Instantly – Shape Magazine
Not one single article that says, “hey, maybe all that energy output, isn’t who you are”. Sigh…
Here are 10 questions to begin your research into discovering your natural energy level:
- How can I see this (my desire for more energy) differently?
- Do I wake up rearing to go (without caffeine that is)?
- Am I a morning person, an afternoon person or a night person?
- Do I enjoy steady work, or am I at my best when diving in and then taking down-time?
- Does time with friends or co-workers after work, help me wind down and re-fuel (without alcohol that is 😉) or do I need time alone?
- Do I push through those low energy dips, or take a 5minute breather?
- Do I breathe? Seriously…I don’t think I took a deep breath for decades. Over-busy people forget to deep breathe.
- What drains me?
- When do I feel most energized? What am I doing; who am I with, what time of day is it?
- Do I have firm boundaries in place so I can honor my natural energy levels?
And if you haven’t already, please read “Feeling Tired? 8 Reason Why and What You Can do?”
In my household, we have three different energy types:
- Smooth and steady: 9-5 Monday-Friday work. Routine. Structured. Evenly paced.
- High Energy: Although down-time is essential to their well-being, this person (okay, it’s my husband) can go at a pace that would exhaust me. I was convinced that my go-go husband, who has a high-stress job and gets projects done like no other, had adrenals that had shriveled to nothing. I was wrong. His adrenal test came back glowing, while I had full-on adrenal fatigue.
- Burst & Rest: Dig in to a project/work – rest and rest often. This is me. This is not how I operated for decades. I wanted to be like my husband.
Not anymore. I want to be like ‘me’.
One last idea to consider…once you have identified your energy type, have a conversation with those in your household or in your work-space. Understanding that my husband refuels by talking and I refuel by being quiet and making agreements (boundaries) that supports our individual well-being, supports our collective well-being as well!
What do you think your energy type is? Comment Below.
Several years ago, I had major sinus surgery to correct a rare condition I was born with. A few weeks post-surgery, I was frustrated as I was still tired and the pain lingered on. On the surface, I looked just fine, but what was out of sight had yet to heal completely. I remember thinking if I had a broken bone and had a cast, I would have been much more accepting of how I felt and kinder to myself as I healed as well.
What can’t be seen, is no less important than what is visible. Feeling tired, fatigued, sluggish can mean that inside, out of sight, your body has a broken part that needs to heal. Here are 8 possible, out of sight, reasons for feeling tired…
#1: Adrenal Fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue is very common. If you have been under stress, your adrenal glands could very well be tired. If you are craving salt; find it difficult to wake up, are waking up in the middle of the night, have dry skin, are pushed to the emotional edge easy, experiencing mild depression or anxiety, I encourage you to have an adrenal test run with a holistic oriented physician or practitioner. *See the link at the bottom and take the adrenal fatigue quiz.
#2: Low Iron.
An iron deficiency can make you feel weak, tired, light headed, short of breath, irritable, sluggish and make it hard to focus. Iron deficiency makes you tired because less oxygen travels to your muscles and cells. Google iron rich foods and please get tested as well. If you are vegan or vegetarian, low iron could be your low energy culprit.
#3: B12 Deficiency.
The body needs B12 to make red blood cells. Strict vegans and vegetarians are at a high risk for B12 deficiency. Signs of a possible deficiency are: fatigue, weakness, anemia, cognitive difficulties, numbness and tingling. There is also something called MTFHR Gene Mutation (which I have & is quite common). There is a whole lot to this, but nutrient deficiencies in Folate, B6 and B12 are associated with this Gene mutation. Again, the best way to know for sure is with a test.
*note, if you’ve had the 23&Me DNA profile done, your holistic health practitioner will be able to tell you if you have the MTFHR Gene Mutation. Or, using your 23&Me data, you can find out yourself at www.geneticgene.org I strongly urge consulting with a knowledgeable practitioner for the specific supplements needed to assist your unique body.
Yup – when you’re dehydrated you will feel tired. Sipping water through the day is the best way to stay hydrated. If you feel that afternoon slump, ask yourself if you’ve had enough water. Even a 2% fluid loss can zap your energy! Coffee does not count as water. Caffeine actually dehydrates. Sigh…
#5: How and when you eat!
This is a big one. Just like a car needs fuel to keep going, so do our bodies. Breakfast, means ‘breaking fast’. If you are not a breakfast eater, please start. Even 20 almonds, or a hardboiled egg will help to bring your blood sugar back into balance. Going a long time between meals causes your blood sugar to plummet. Eating every three hours – 3 meals and small healthy snacks in between provides the fuel your body needs.
**If you wake up in the middle of the night, how and when you eat could be the reason. When you go long periods between meals, you are training your blood sugar to rollercoaster. Often middle of night waking up is your body saying – feed me, my blood sugar is low. Try eating a small portion of protein before going to bed. For women, hormones wreak havoc on blood sugar. At my nutrition store, Holy Basil, which helps to balance blood sugar, by GAIA was my #1 best-selling sleep remedy for women.
#6: Winding down with a night cap.
Sorry. But this is another big one! Alcohol initially depresses the central nervous system causing a sedative feeling. According to Allen Towfigh, MD, medical director of New York Neurology & Sleep Medicine, P.C., alcohol creates a rebound effect as it’s metabolized, which creates an abrupt surge in the adrenaline system. This is why, you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night after you’ve had a drink. Dr. Towfigh says, “If you drink and you’re invariably waking up three to five hours after you go to sleep, that’s a great indicator that alcohol is the issue.” If you are going to have a drink, have it 4-5 hours before bedtime.
#7: Not saying “no” enough.
Yes. Too much on your plate and little time for yourself, will always lead to fatigue and depletion.
People-pleasing comes at the expense of your own health and wellness. Doing too much, creates stress. Stress creates adrenaline. Adrenaline plays havoc with blood sugar and can lead to adrenal fatigue.
Give yourself permission to say “no”. Your well-being, literally depends on it.
#8: Not knowing your natural energy level.
This is the topic for my next blog. Hold that thought!
Our bodies are fickle. When one piece is out of balance a domino effect occurs. When I was studying for my Nutrition Certification I did my final paper on enzymes and our digestive system, because my digestive system (along with a high percentage of my customers) was a mess. I was living under constant self-imposed stress (aka, doing too much). Through my studies, I learned that my body was taking energy away from my digestive system to fuel my go-go lifestyle. What was my domino effect? You just read them – at one time or another, I have experienced all eight reasons for fatigue.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
*Did any of these ‘reasons’ resonate with you?
*What challenges you with saying “no”?
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