The terms ‘Adrenal Fatigue’ and ‘Burnout’ are unfortunately becoming quite known due to the number of people impacted by these syndromes in our modern fast paced society. Dr Samantha Clarke shares how to recover and move towards what really matters to you.
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Here are some things you can do to recover today:
1. Keep the basics in mind:
Often we can try and remove stress and fatigue by over indulging in alcohol, meals out and late nights. This may provide us with short-lived pleasure and escape but in the long term we are probably going to create a further depletion in our energy, impacting the New Year ahead.
Try and keep the basics in mind at least 5 days of the week. Take time to prepare healthy meals for yourself, incorporate gentle movement into your day, take time to be mindful of your environment and make sure you are getting enough sleep.
2. Take time to connect with your values:
When you are suffering from fatigue and burnout resources can be so limited. Take stock of the areas and people in your life who are most important to you. Plan ways you can spend time in these valued areas in new year that will also be supportive to your long-term health.
3. Rest your body:
Resting doesn’t always mean lying down. The best thing we can do with adrenal fatigue and burnout is activate the Parasympathetic system which is the system in the body that tells our brain and body that we are safe. This can be done in many ways. Yoga, especially Yin or restorative forms of yoga, are good and so are Qi Gong, breathing exercises and meditation. Being able to shift from the Autonomic Nervous system into the Parasympathetic system can be a vital tool for recovery and long-term health and wellbeing. This is a central key to reducing stress. Sleep is also essential. Going to bed early at around 9pm and aiming to get 8.5 hours of sleep opportunity has been linked to improvements in adrenal fatigue and increased longevity. This doesn’t mean you cannot wake up in the night, just means providing your body with the time to sleep. If you do wake up throughout the night, mindfulness exercises such as breath meditation and body scans can be helpful to again create rest if sleeping is erratic as it often is with burnout and adrenal fatigue.
4. See a good integrated/functional doctor:
The last decade has really seen an increase in the number of GPs and health practitioners who are practicing integrated medicine. This movement away from a disease model to one of health and overall wellbeing has seen many GPs adopt a whole body approach to wellness. Not all stress is external to the body. Sometimes stress and the cause of burnout can be linked to toxins our body is not able to manage and detoxify. These practitioners can provide appropriate testing to assess individual sensitivities that may be an underling factor in your fatigue and burnout.
5. Find your ‘Why? And set clear goals”:
Often burn out and fatigue in this day and age can be linked to our removal from what really matters to us and what is our purpose. This ‘Existential Crisis’ if unnoticed or unexplored can lead to apathy, depression and a sense of disconnection. Taking time to explore your values and what gives your life meaning can be extremely valuable. However, we also want to then operationalise this into goals. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions, but we often fail to keep them as we do not turn these resolutions into goals and make clear pathways to achieve these goals. Take time to set a goal that links to this meaning or purpose. Create a manageable time frame for your goals usually 1-3 months. Set goals that focus on behaviours that are achievable and map out each of the steps toward achieving the goal. Make sure you set a time to come back and review your progress and then at this review time set another goal that is linked to your meaning. Share your passions and meaning with those you love so it stays fresh in your mind and heart, and remember many roads can lead us to meaning, so if you don’t succeed at one goal you can always set another.
6. Find your Tribe:
This is an essential part of moving out of fatigue and burnout and toward valued living. Evidence shows that we are highly influenced and influential to the people we spend time with, adopting behaviours and beliefs of the group. Take time to consider who in your life helps support your values and who helps you to move in the directions that matter to you. Act as support for one another and create time for these essential relationships
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