Natural Health, Uncategorized

It’s OK to be Tired

napThere, I just gave you permission. Probably no one has done that since you were about 3 and you took daily naps. I have so many people come to me for acupuncture and one of their main complaints is fatigue, exhaustion, low energy. They hate it and they want their energy boosted. Then when I ask about their schedules they are: full time moms, and or working full time, caring for parents, pets, a home, volunteering, exercising a lot, gardening or skiing or running marathons or who knows what else. And I tell them, I think you’re tired…because you’re tired. It is so American to think we can fire on all cylinders 24/7 and never run out of energy, but it is decidedly Un-American to be tired. Ever. We are a nation of accomplishers (ok I made that word up) and doers and achievers. Not nappers. One of my Chinese professors, an MD in China, told me that when he worked there 20 years ago, it was totally acceptable, and most people did this, to close your door or sit in your chair around 2pm and rest for 20 minutes. I think you might get arrested if you tried that in America. Or at least lose your job. I don’t know if that is still true in China, with such a different economy and work environment now, but I thought that was fascinating.

At one point I went to my MD and said I must have low thyroid or anemia I was so exhausted and I requested blood work (which she did. I was fine). She was from India. She asked me “2 very young little boys, work, home, and no help at all? No, your thyroid is fine. You are just tired. Do yoga.” I loved that Dr. But she was right. I was tired, because I was TIRED! So of course I do a full intake on every client who comes to see me, and many of them do need their energy and their digestion and their overall Chi to be boosted, which I do through acupuncture herbs and the recommendation of mediation or yoga. But I almost always now add, that we should not forget to allow ourselves to be tired. We are tired. Our bodies are telling us so loud and clear. And so….we should rest. Easier said than done. But we should not think this is an illness to be cured, rather it is a need to be met. Lie on the sofa, even if you only have 5 minutes. Or let yourself be lazy and not do the 100 things you need to do on that one morning both kids are in school. Just start be recognizing, that we already do so much, we should be kind to ourselves, as if we were 3 again, we need to lie on our blankies and have some quiet time. At least I know I do, and I do it every chance I get. Which is not that often. But when I do it, I make sure I do the most important part of all, I enjoy it. I don’t feel guilty or berate myself. I soak it up. One Z at a time…Zzzzzz….

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Natural Health, Uncategorized

I’m Going to Settle

Woman meditating

That’s right, I’ve decided it’s time to settle. And I’m so happy. That word has such negative connotations, settling – like it means accepting less. And for me, it does mean settling for less, but in a good way! In fact, at the risk of being dramatic, it’s changing my life, this settling. This year has been the most stressful of my life with a major debilitating illness, a 400 mile move with children who struggled with it, financial stress, and then the unexpected death of my mother just two days after she left our house at Christmas. It has been awful. Plus I work, I have acupuncture practices in two different states, and run I a home, am raising two boys and two young energetic big dogs, I was stressed! So much so that it started to impact my parenting, and that’s always where I draw my line. Or maybe where it’s so obvious how badly I’ve been treating myself that I finally see it. A few  weeks of watching my stress and short temper effect my kids and I thought something has to change!! But what? I can’t just never clean my house or do laundry or exercise the dogs or help the boys with their homework or go to work or………you know how it is, the list goes on. So what did I do? I read the word “settle” somewhere, in passing, and it was like a lightening bolt. That’s It! I thought. I needed to teach my mind to settle. Like muddy water in a pond all churned up my mind was chaos. My reality is busy. My mind was chaos. So that even on a rare day where I had a little free time, I still felt totally frenetic and swamped, even if I wasn’t. Because my mind was always in overdrive. I didn’t know how to settle down. How to let my mind settle, let the pool of water settle, let all the junk flying around in the water settle, let my breathing settle. Settle. For some reason this word has helped me enormously. I have meditated on and off for 20 years, but even that sometimes feels like an effort, “Clear the mind” – but sometimes I can’t. But settle, that I could do. I started sitting for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 in the afternoon. This is what’s recommended in Transcendental Meditation, about which I know nothing, but I decided that sounded reasonable. Long enough to make a difference but not a ridiculous thing to ask a busy working mother, like an hour morning and night. 20 minutes I could do. And I have. And the results were instant. I mean instant. No struggling to get meditation “right”, no wondering if my mind was clear enough, my inner voice quiet enough or positive enough. I had no agenda. I just let my mind settle. Tried to empty my mind, but if thoughts wandered in and out, that was fine too, I’d just ask them to be quiet, like patrons joining a violin concert a few minutes late. Just keep your voices down little thoughts and you can stay too.

Whatever it was about that word, it has shifted me. I instantly, that first night, slept through the night for the first time in months. And this week when I’ve woken and instantly gone into my default mode these days – panic – I just tell myself kindly to settle. And next thing I know I’ve gone back to sleep (this is a major development for an insomniac). And I feel as if I had so much more time in my day. That’s the strangest part. I don’t. But I felt all this room to get through my day more peacefully rather than rushing and short tempered and always feeling like I didn’t have enough time. My life on the outside didn’t get less hectic, but my life on the inside did, and so there was all this quiet space that hadn’t been there before and it changed everything about my day. So there it is. Really I am settling for less. Less stress, less chaos, less pressure inflicted on myself by myself, less worry. I see my mind as a cloudy pool of muddy water and I let the silt settle to the bottom, let my mind be clear and wow, it’s beautiful when that happens. I was instantly kinder, more patient with my children, and happier. Just happier, which is always a good thing. So there it is. It’s time to settle. Nothing wrong with settling for less 🙂