“Oh! that gentleness! how far more potent is it than force!”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Most of us are used to pushing, to working hard, to gritting our teeth and carrying on.
If there is a crisis in your life, that is often the only thing to be done. But sometimes, it seems that we become used to living as though all of our life is a crisis.
Friends, that’s not a great plan.
When we constantly push ourselves, and stress ourselves, we begin to alter our body’s chemistry. We normalise a state that is supposed to be about emergencies – living on our adrenalin and cortisol for a ‘fight or flight’ situation. In that state our digestion slows, our body is flooded with hormones that burden our livers, inflame our bodies, suppress our libidos and play havoc with sleep patterns. In that state we convert energy to fat, storing it for the coming crisis. We exhaust our adrenals, ruin our thyroids and put ourselves into chronic fatigue, emotional depletion and a place where everything becomes monochrome. We lose our joy. We lose ourselves.
If you are genuinely in crisis, with an abnormal amount of stress due to external conditions and circumstances, I wish you well and I pray for you the strength to get through these times the best that you can.
But if your whole life looks like a crisis, and you’re tired to the bones, numb from the grind of it all – maybe it’s time to change something. Because you are no longer living, you’re existing. You’re in survival mode. And that is no way to live a life.
When we get to that place we stop making good decisions and default to auto-pilot. We become broken robots.
Here are my top tips for moving back to a place of flow and balance so that you can begin enjoying life, and health, again:
- Simplify. Let go of some of your responsibilities so that you can free up some time in your schedule.
- Get a health check. If you’re exhausted/struggling/unwell all the time and your life looks pretty normal demand-wise, maybe there’s something else going on.
- Delegate. Seriously, no one can do it all themselves. Get a team together.
- Walk away. Sometimes the only thing left to be done is to walk away from the relationship, the job, or the situation. An ending, or a failure to complete, might actually be what’s needed to turn this around.
- Change your job.
- Take a holiday, or some time away from it all. Camping and house sitting are great options if finances are tight.
- Postpone some of your projects, or lengthen out the timeframes.
- Hire someone capable to sort it/fix it/build it for you.
- Schedule catch-up sleep and downtime into your calendar as regular events.
- Get your finances under control. Or get help to do this. No-one can get out from under that feeling of crisis if they are always worrying about where the next dollar is coming from, or how to pay off a mountain of debt. Make a plan and work the plan.
- Downsize. Sell stuff. Make things more manageable.
- Do the things that are important to YOU and quit doing things to please others or gain approval.
- Make exercise and a healthy diet a priority.
- Choose a hobby and make time for it by stopping something you don’t enjoy, or that doesn’t fill you up.
- Stop taking new stuff on and get the backlog completed.
- Say no to people and events. Create some room in your life for you.
Life is not always easy. Crazy stuff happens. Crisis sometimes too. But if your world has devolved into exhaustion and all the joy has been sucked out of living, it’s time for a change. It’s time to be kind to yourself and sort this mess out!