For as long as I can remember, I have been on the go. Forever on a mission to "do something". I am always looking for the next goal to accomplish, the next certification to get, the next job, the next whatever. My days consisted of working out for as long as my body could stand, working for as long as my body could stand, and partying, eating, drinking, smoking, and so on...for as long as my body could stand. Almost 5 years ago I felt the urge to "rest" more. I didn't know what that looked like though. Rest? Who has time for that?! How would you get anything done? When I thought of rest, I became uneasy and agitated. Rest meant being still, and being still meant I actually had to sit alone with my thoughts and stand confronted with everything a busy schedule hid in the dark. When the body becomes fatigued, we fight tooth and nail to "fix" our fatigue problems. We will take vitamins, supplements, injections, and any other prescription drug we can get our hands on that promises us more energy. The thing about energy though is this:
Energy cannot be created, nor can it be destroyed.
This is The Law of the Conservation of Energy. We learnt about it in science class and it is a fundamental truth. If energy can't be created or destroyed, why are we synthetically trying to gain "more" energy? Human beings are not machines, we are organic and we need time to rest. The body can only do so much and the psyche can only handle so much. When we run ourselves to the ground in all manner of ways, the body fights back and displays fatigue. FATIGUE then is not the issue, its the solution. Instead of looking at our fatigue as a beautiful gift, we look at it as a problem that we need to get rid of. We fight it, resist it, and try to mask it with substance, and by doing so we cause even more fatigue.
I say fatigue is a beautiful gift because it helps us to slow down. When we are fatigued, we are forced to take a step back and look at our lives. This is a beautiful gift. When we are fatigued, the body has no other option but to slow down it's pace which then causes us to be present not only in our bodies, but in our lives as well. I have said this numerous times to family, friends, and clients, being overworked and busy is a badge of honour in our society, predominantly in the West. I was at a work function for health professionals and the trainers who were awarded with the highest esteem were the ones who worked painfully long hours and sacrificed their lives for the almighty dollar. This is success? This is health? What has the fitness industry come to? And as a health professional, I disagree now. I disagree with overworking yourself, I disagree with sacrificing your most valuable asset (your time), just to make money. Does this mean that I don't think people should work? Of course not. But I think we have been deceived.
We have been made to believe that the more we do, the more we gain. This is only half the truth. What I have learnt is that less is more. By doing less, I get more. By letting go, I gain more, by giving I end up receiving, and he I withhold I end up losing everything. I believe in being the person you were created to be, by doing a good job at what you do, following your passion, and ever evolving into something greater, being something greater each day. But that doesn't mean running your body into the ground or racing through life and missing out on it all the while.
Since I started to adopt a slower paced living style, I have lost weight (by walking and doing Pilates instead of killing myself at the gym everyday), I am able to contribute fully to my relationship with my fiancé like never before, I get more school work done, I am better at my job, I make better choices when I eat, I sleep better, my digestion is better, I am happier, I am not always hungry, and I have energy. By doing less, by moving slower, I gained my life back.
Fatigue is a beautiful gift. Without my wonderful body screaming at me with fatigue as a plea to change, my life would still be turbulent. We must not fight our fatigue but welcome it with open arms. Fatigue says "look, I need to get your attention, something isn't right, you need to heal"! I finally get why I need to rest and to stay in a place of rest. When we are asleep, the body heals. When we are at rest, the body heals. If you have any kind of unwanted symptom that you need healing from, you need to be in a place of rest. You need to get out of striving in order to get what you want and what you need. You need to let yourself be fatigued in order to heal.
Treating fatigue means treating it with honour, and trust. It means giving fatigue room to expand and to show you things about your life and about how you use your time. What is your fatigue telling you? What areas of your life are draining you and what areas of your life energize you? What areas of your life are you controlling out of fear? What feelings or realities are you afraid of if you slow down? Take the time to honestly answer these questions and give yourself permission to slow down and most importantly, give yourself permission to live.