A lot of women feel like they need to keep up with other people. If you don’t feel like partying four nights a week after a ten-hour workday or exercising for two hours every single day, you might think there’s something wrong with you. You might even beat yourself up or feel ashamed and lazy. Ignoring your body’s signals and writing them off as laziness is not productive or helpful – it actually drains your energy even more.
If you’re dealing with chronic fatigue, low sex drive, intense premenstrual syndrome (PMS), cystic acne, mild depression, or other “random” symptoms, going against your natural rhythm might be the issue.
Here are some symptoms that commonly appear when you have been pushing your body rather than honoring your limits:
1. Empower yourself.
When symptoms pop up, it’s easy to feel like there might be a bigger or more complex issue going on or you’re broken and can’t heal. The first step in healing is acknowledging that nothing is inherently wrong with you. You are whole exactly as you are. From a place of confidence in your body’s ability to heal itself, you can get curious about what’s going on for you and tap into the endless toolbox that is primary food. Embodying the mind-set that you are healthy now and you can become even healthier takes a huge weight off your shoulders and allows your body to naturally reach health.
2. Get real about rest.
Are you chronically exhausted, trying to push through the day? Maybe you’re actually tired. Starting with weekends, let yourself sleep as long as you want. You might notice that you wake up naturally without an alarm clock during the week. Some people will be rejuvenated after one long deep sleep, while others might need to take some serious time off to come back into balance. Sleep is a requirement for good health. Listen to your body and sleep when you’re tired.
3. Balance your nervous system.
Most modern people spend the majority of their lives in the sympathetic nervous system state, aka the “fight or flight, stranger-danger” zone. That feeling you get when someone creeps up behind you and surprises you – or, perhaps less likely, when you’re getting chased by a bear. Your body doesn’t know the difference between those literal stressors and chronic stress related to work or difficult relationships. When your body is in this sympathetic state, it can’t repair. When you are relaxed and calm, your body is in the parasympathetic state – referred to as the “rest and digest” system. This state is brought on by sleep, laughing, meditation, qigong, reiki, and physical touch with a loved one. Your body has to be in the parasympathetic state to heal and evolve. The more you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system by relaxing and having fun, the healthier you’ll be – physically and mentally.
4. Evaluate exercise.
It might surprise you, but sometimes the harder you work out, the more stress you actually put on your body. Depending on your constitution and condition, you may actually need gentle exercise, like yoga or tai chi. Certain forms of rigorous exercise trigger the stress response, so make sure you balance your hard-core workouts with practices that are easier on the body.Gentle exercise might include yoga, meditation, or dance. You might discover that your body responds really well to these more gentle practices. Experiment for a few weeks and see how your body feels.
Take some time this week to experiment with more rest, relaxation, and community connection.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with you; your body innately knows how to heal itself. You are healthy and taking empowered steps to become even healthier!