Dealing with Stress

 maybe you can lift it with some positive mindfulness

This week we were looking at the concepts of stress. We both identified that we have experienced that bone tiredness of stress and fatigue. We were talking about how we each get stressed and what we do with it. My route, after venting, is to resort to mindfulness  and meditation on the basis that i can let it go and stop ruminating. That got me thinking about the differing levels of stress that can so easily become fatigue. Real stress, not just being busy, becomes debilitating,

Fatigue is a different thing to tiredness. Tiredness can be resolved with a little rest, relaxation or sleep. Fatigue is like being bone tired, it is deep down inside you and the more embedded that it becomes the more it takes for you to get beyond it and hopefully get rid of it.

The experience of fatigue has been given many titles, some of which are accepted by the medical profession and some are referred to psychology as though they do not really exist. From my work as a psychotherapist I see many forms of fatigue. In most cases the experience of fatigue is a learned habit, and as you know from the live in the present work, all habits can be changed or replaced.

Let’s have a look at a few reasons for fatigue.

Under-load is the opposite of over-load. When someone is under-loaded they have little or nothing to do. This is the classic couch potato. There is weight gain, poor diet, and a resultant lack of energy. 

Clinical depression, is when the body chemistry is out of balance and can only be adjusted with medication. This chemical imbalance can create feelings of fatigue. Clinical depression is mainly treated with medication along with psychotherapeutic support.

Reactive depression  is when we have been subjected to an emotional trauma that has effected our body chemistry and created an imbalance. Again medication will help but the key here is psychotherapy.

SAD seasonal depression is when the vitamin D levels drop in the winter due to the reduced sunlight. This can be treated with vitamin D supplements.

Repressed anger is when people have internalised anger about people or events that is not dealt with or resolved.

Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS)  this is when the body system has been compromised by the infection and needs to rebuild itself. Some medication will help but in most cases it is time, good food, and rest.

The following are not recognised by all medical authorities who can sometimes write of people’s fatigue as psycho-somatic. These include:

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis  (ME) 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS

Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome CFIDs

In some cases even polymyalgia and fibromyalgia are seen as all in the mind. However, my colleagues in the pain clinic successfully treat many forms of fatigue using traditional medicine, psychotherapy and even acupuncture. 

Overcoming fatigue usually means that you have to take responsibility for your own system and become the expert in your own body and your own emotional system. It does start with ruling out health problems first.

So here are some ideas that you might consider.

Lack of sleep is bad for you. If you sleep less than seven hours or more than nine hours per night you have a problem. Less sleep indicates anxiety and more sleep indicates depression.

If you can’t sleep find out why and do something about it. Excess weight will also make you tired as will stress. If you find that you feel down in the winter and have SAD syndrome, get a vitamin D test, talk to your GP and maybe consider investigating St John’s Wart a herbal broad spectrum anti-depressant.

Things to consider…

Exercise – get your heart beating fast for twenty to thirty minutes everyday

Yoga – is a good way to promote feelings of relaxation and reduce fatigue in you muscles

Hydrate – with water, drink around 2 litres a day, feed your body and your brain

Bed early – get enough sleep but not too much

Meditate – research suggests that the ratio of meditation to sleep is about 5 to 1, that means that 10 minutes good meditation or relaxation is the equivalent of 50 minutes of sleep

Siestas! Afternoon nap – and power napping can boost your energy and you immune system

Don’t ruminate

When you ruminate on an issue it grows in your mind – ‘What you feed grows and what you starve dies’. The more you ruminate the more it takes over your system either good or bad.

The last bit is have some fun. Laughter and smiles that can raise your spirit and reduce your feelings of stress and fatigue.

Take care

Sean x