A while ago I noticed an unhealthy pattern had sneaked in my life. It was a reminisce of my years in the corporate world, but I hadn't felt it for years, and the old familiar feelings rang my health and wellness alarms.
I don't play with health or happiness anymore, so I looked into my habits (of thinking and behaving) to understand what was causing it and to know how to make changes:
I had a productive phase going on and I was producing a lot of new content. Long to-do list made me minimize the meditation and writing time in the mornings. I worked late and then stayed up late spending "my time" in Instagram and reading work-related books and articles late in the bed.
It was hard to get up in the mornings as I was awake at some point during the nights. I felt tired in the middle of the day. To keep myself going, I had started drinking coffee on the afternoon. I felt tired and wired at the same time.
I was overdriving myself so that at the end of the week my brain was foggy and my body was over-heated, meaning I felt the blood pressure and cortisol levels were high.
I told myself it's temporary (and at the same time I was afraid it was not) and then I stopped: I don't want to do it this way, no matter what it is - I have a choice.
When I saw all these things and it was clear: I was suffering adrenaline fatigue. I lacked downtime and boundaries.
In yoga, there is a rule that after an inversion pose it's good to rest the same amount of the time that you have been upside down.
The same rule works in life: during the busier times, it's important to recharge the batteries - physically and mentally - all the time.
Creativity and productivity - both - require space and time. It's tough to create new ideas and be focused when your mind is full.
What I did to fix it:
The moment when I realized what was going on, I wanted to take responsibility for it.
I did the clarity exercise below and reduced all the unnecessary worries - there were not that much left after it - I felt at ease.
Also, I booked time for acupuncture, scheduled a sweaty yoga class, took a herbal path and did nothing but relaxing for a couple of days - I planned time to relax. I observed my mind carefully and skipped everything that was too overwhelming and making my brain buzzing. I changed the bedtime routines: no more mobile time or work-related reading. Instyle magazine makes me snooze in five minutes.
In the long run, adrenaline fatigue can create diseases as the body responses to mind’s constant overwhelm negative chatter and requirements.
Get to know your stress-factors and know your habits:
- What habits of yours do you like, why?
What habits do you want to change?
We need to keep track of our habits and know how they affect us - it can be very unconscious. If we don’t know what is creating the stress, we can’t react and respond it.
6 steps to releasing the stressful chaos and worries:
Take a pen and paper or open your notebook, and start answering the following questions:
How do I feel now - in the body and mind?
What issues are stressing you and causing this feeling? Write them all down no matter it's 99 issues and worries.
What are the worries that you can't do anything about? The future is not in your hands, the now is.
What can you do to your list? Prioritize them.
Plan how and when you get those things done (please don’t overplan and exhaust yourself as you can do only three foremost things per day).
- Ask yourself why have you chosen to do it? Remind yourself about your what you accomplish when you get there and finish the sentence:
“I am doing this because…” and decide to be excited about it. You need to decide it if you don't feel it.
There you go - now you have a clear plan and you know it's doable and you can affect.
This gives you the motivation, as we all have to eat our shit sandwich as Elizabeth Gilbert calls it: no matter we follow our passions, we still need to do the work, and often it's challenging.
When you choose to struggle for the things that matter to you and are important, it's not that bad at all as you know it is meaningful to you.
The worrying thoughts won’t take away tomorrow’s problems, but they will take away today’s joy.
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