Q: I know you’ve answered this before, but I’m just so tired all the time. No matter how much sleep I get, I’m dragging. Do you think there’s something wrong with me?
A: The only thing that I can see “wrong” with you is that you’ve forgotten my number one cardinal rule about your health: if you’re worried about it, go get checked out by a licensed professional.
You didn’t really name all of your symptoms, so I’ll just let you know what I’m seeing about you, your health, and your current situation. You’re a really healthy person—you watch what you eat, you drink plenty of fluids, you get enough exercise, you try to remain optimistic.
But (isn’t there always a “but”?) you run too hard and too fast. It doesn’t look like you’re tuned in to your body’s natural rhythm, which is more like a dance than a sprint.
What’s the difference? A sprinter is thinking, “Okay, now I’ve got to get here, then here, then do this, then this, then I’ll be done for the day.” It’s linear—it has a beginning, middle, and an end, and you run the whole way, keeping your deadline and final goal uppermost in your mind.
A dance? It can start with two steps forward, but then you take a step back, then twirl, then dip, then pause. You’re concentrating on the dance itself, not on where you’re going to end up at the end of it. It’s the dance itself that matters.
You could end up exactly where you started, or even two steps behind your starting point. Does that mean you fail? If you’re running a sprint it does, but not when you dance.
What’s happening for you (and for most people I’m seeing these days) are some profound internal changes. When that happens, people usually expend a lot of energy working with those changes, but it’s not necessarily anything you can see on the outside, so you might think you should keep up your previous pace, not realizing that you’ve added a lot more “tasks” or “jobs” to your to-do list.
So you’re working with your conscious list (and I know you’ve got lists), but not taking into account that there might be some unconscious lists that you’re working with as well.
How can you become more aware of your other work? Stop running so hard and be still and silent sometime throughout your day. Work that into your schedule, as a necessary part of that other schedule. Take the time just to sit, close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and tune in to your body. It will tell you tons if you just pay attention to it and give it some of your time.
I’ve noticed with my mom being gone that I’ve been running about double time, probably trying not to become too sad, worried that if I slow down I might not get going again, but when I do slow down and notice my body, my shoulders and neck are almost always tight, my stomach is tight, and my whole body is just sort of rigid.
Not so good, so I try to tune in to that other rhythm, take some deep breaths, as often as I think of it. Then I feel more congruent, more integrated, more in alignment with all parts of myself—body, mind, and spirit.
Can it possibly be that simple? Stopping, breathing, tuning in? Definitely yes. Start there.
Now you talk about sleep. It looks like you’re usually a pretty deep sleeper, maybe waking once during the night, but now it looks like you dive in and out of deep sleep and light sleep, waking slightly during those light sleep cycles, and that’s not giving you the same sleep satisfaction as before.
That certainly adds to the tired feeling, even if you’re still getting 8 or 9 hours a night; it’s a matter of quality, not quantity.
When you’re lying in bed, ready to go to sleep, take a few minutes to slowly go through your body from top to bottom, or bottom to top, and relax each part of your body, taking deep breaths the whole time.
If your brain is going, imagine that you’re talking to a small child, and tell it something like, “You’ve done so much hard, good work throughout the day, but now you can just rest. There’s nothing more you need to do, just relax, let go.”
Now, yes, I am suggesting that you talk to your brain like it’s a small child, but I also suggest talking to all different parts of your body and creating relationships with them all. You’re all friends, aren’t you? You’re all in this together, aren’t you?
So why should this concept seem strange? Because you are your brain? Well, yes, you are, but there’s also that other part of you that knows it’s like a passenger in your body but isn’t necessarily the same as your body. So tuning in to that different perspective of relationship with your body can give you more clues as to what’s going on in your life right now.
As always, you need to trust—trust your body, trust your current process, trust in whomever or whatever is here in your life to help you, trust yourself, trust friends and family (if you know they can be trusted).
It doesn’t help to worry, that just adds to your workload in the form of mental energy expended.
Take action—take a different approach to your life and your body, and change things up.
When you see things from a different angle, everything may just fall into place for you. You’re smart, you’re intuitive, so I have all the faith in you that you’ll figure this out.
Besides, nobody else can figure your life out for you—you’re the expert here.
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