Our modern lifestyle has given us many things...some of them are great, like the ability to travel to beautiful destinations around the world, right down to the modern conveniences that give us more leisure time to be able to travel the world!
However, one of the legacies of our modern lifestyle that isn't so great, is the chronic low-grade stress and anxiety that is permeating people's lives. With more time available from modern conveniences, we still seem to be busier than ever. We fit more working hours into our schedules, we rush from one leisure activity to another, take the kids to another after-school sport or dance class, try to maintain relationships with family and friends, and deal with that ever growing inbox of emails! It just never seems to end and we find ourselves feeling tired and exhausted, not just at bed time, but throughout the day.
If you look at animals in nature, when they have been out for a hunt to catch their daily meal, and after they've eaten their food, they lie down and rest. This helps them recover from the fatigue of chasing their prey, as well as helping them digest what they've just eaten.
Compare that with our modern lifestyle of working hard and playing hard and putting a low priority on resting, and it's not difficult to see why we live in a society where many people are feeling burned out.
So, what do most people do when they are continually feeling exhausted? They reach for some kind of stimulant to help them keep going through their weary, exhausted day/life. The old saying of "pushing through" has become a part of our modern vocabularly because there is always something else screaming for our attention. So, we push through.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2011-2012, nearly half (46%) of the Australian population consumes coffee on a regular basis. Coffee has a stimulating effect on your adrenal glands, whether you actually feel it or not. Energy drinks have the same effect. In fact, some energy drinks contain much more caffeine than a cup of strong coffee.
Whilst I am not a fan of regular coffee consumption for various reasons (that's another blog post!), limiting your intake to 1 cup/day is certainly better than 4 or 5 cups, and sometimes coffee can be used therapeutically.
But this post isn't about "coffee-bashing" per se.
The most common mistake people make when they are exhausted is PUSHING THROUGH. This habit of 'keeping on going' when your body just wants to rest is a dangerous one for your health. By pushing and pushing and pushing, you will eventually wear out your adrenals, the batteries of your body. When you reach this place, adrenal fatigue/chronic fatigue is the result. Your body will make you stop. You won't be able to get out of bed in the morning. Your sleep will be disrupted even though you are chronically tired. Your immune system will be compromised and you'll become susceptible to all the 'bugs' that are going around, and you won't be able to shake it off completely when you do get sick. How many people find it hard to rid themselves of their cough after they 'catch' the flu? I've treated many people who tell me they just can't seem to shake the last little bit of their illness.
Our society today doesn't make allowances for recovery times when you become ill. Rest and recuperation are mandatory for recharging the immune system and completely recovering from illness. While you may not have the luxury of taking 6 weeks off work to recover from the flu, you do have the option of taking time out of your busy schedule to relax and rest particularly, when you feel exhausted. This is a choice we all have.
If you are a corporate executive, a busy mum, an athlete, or someone who works long hours, this information could save you from months or even years of major health challenges.
Take some time out today, or this weekend to put everything 'on hold' while you find a beautiful place in nature, in a library, an art gallery, in your own backyard, or somewhere where you can forget about everything for a while and give your body the rest it so badly craves.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Leave me a comment below.