Sunday, 24 August 2014

Burn Out!

AKA the all too familiar downward spiral.

So I did it again, not sure when I’ll learn. Got some energy back and started to do EVERYTHING the way I used to, the way I miss, the way that makes me feel powerful and productive… But the way that runs me down, uses all my resources and makes me sick. Seems every time I push too far too fast the SLOW DOWN signal becomes louder… This time I got a nasty attack of Shingles on my face.

I had chicken pox as a kid, the virus stays in your system and lays dormant. Chilling in nerve cells until your run down and your immune system is suppressed and then BOOM. Starts out as a cold, for me a migraine, numbness of the skin on my face and stabbing eye pain. Then about three days later a few small red bumps that I thought were hives and perhaps an allergic reaction to my new gut healing protocol showed up.  A few more days later my skin is burning, my eye has swollen up and the right side of my head is in intense pain. Being the stubborn chick I am I left it until my flatmate didn’t ask me IF I wanted to go to the hospital but gave me three time slots and asked WHEN.

I was pretty resistant, the whole time berating myself and blaming something I’d consumed or the lack of sleep I’d been getting the last two months. Thought the whole hospital idea was a waste of time and didn’t consider it could be anything viral. But it was worse than I thought, and while I was grateful to have an answer for the burning, swelling and numbness I'm not too happy to have 14 days of strong anti-virals in front of me and what could potentially be up to four weeks of forced down time. Bummer! 

Scale back two months: a break up, moving house, leaving a job, going back to full time night shift, driving 45 minutes across town pretty much everyday to ‘do stuff’ and get to appointments, new noises and not enough sleep. I enrolled in an online course, 2 workshops and joined the gym. Push push and refusing to slow down, I was way too busy for that. Same old story, lots of do and not enough down time. No matter how impeccable my diet is, or how expensive and thorough my supplement protocol, I made myself sick, again. I’m starting to notice this pattern, and this time I was able to surrender much more quickly. I “took my hands off the wheel” before I veered more out of control.

Cancelled appointments, let work know I’d probably be out for two weeks, called off social arrangements, withdrew from a workshop and mentally planned for two weeks of rest. I didn’t have any big story around it, simple fact is I was unwell, again, and my lifestyle created yet another hurdle for me as I still refused to listen.

Funny story is, I had Danielle LaPorte’s ‘Desire Map Day Planner’ open on my bookshelf for six weeks prior to my fall which listed the following:

Reviewing it now I did (and did not do) all of these things.

And back in April I posted this article about the exact same thing, busting through all your energy as soon as the smallest fraction of it starts to come back:  The Glass Wall Mistake that Everyone Makes

So, back on the couch, not as frustrated with myself as I usually am in these situations, I guess because I have more acceptance and understanding around how and why I got myself off balance. A greater sense of if I want to stop the roller coaster, I have to make the choice to get off it!

Action Steps:

  • More sleep, 5.5 hours a night isn’t enough
  • More time outside, working nights makes this hard, it has to become a priority
  • More gentle exercise, walking and yin yoga is more supportive of my body than strength training and running intervals at this point
  • Down size my ‘to do’ list, essentials only
  • Only start one new thing at a time, just because I have the energy in this moment for three new endeavours does not mean that energy will last into next month…
  • Meditate daily, even just ten minutes will create much more space in the rest of the day
  • Log off the computer and read something meaningful, facebook is boring and rarely enhances my day in any deep way ;-) 
  • Make more time for random restful activities and remember that they are NOT a waste of time.
  • Don't be afraid to chill and watch a little mindless TV or indulge in a movie night.

Biggest take away is that despite my consistency with my diet and always looking for the answer in what or what doesn’t go in my mouth, if I continue to live in this way and disrespect how much lifestyle choices affect my health I will continue to swing significantly up and down.

Slow down. Listen. Get outside. Laugh with friends. Stop obsessing. Tap into the flow of life. Trust your intuition. Look at the bigger picture. Be kind to yourself… For reals this time xx

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