When you are dealing with adrenal and chronic fatigue, one of the elements that is absolutely essential for healing and building your energy is DEEP REST. The question is, however, how do you rest when you are chronically tired or exhausted?
As with exercising, there’s not just one solution, but rather several options. And sometimes, it’s about combining several techniques that work specifically for you.
Here, I won’t be discussing any treatments, but will share a number of self-help tools that you can use on your own.
Our mind-body connection is quite complex, but it can be summarised in one simple phrase: “where the mind goes the body follows”, although I believe that the opposite is equally true.
That is why it is important to relax BOTH the mind and the body so that you can experience a greater and deeper rest.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” —Thích Nhất Hạnh
Relaxing your mind and your body
Here are some of the techniques that I found particularly effective.
Guided meditation and Yoga Nidra. This is something I resort to when I want to have a restful sleep or when struggling with insomnia. On YouTube you will find an enormous amount of guided meditations, my favourite ones are the ones of Jason Stephenson, but do a bit of research and I’m sure you’ll find something that you personally resonate with.
Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic or dynamic sleep, is another form of guided meditation that directs you through four main stages of brain wave activity into the state between wakefulness and sleep which is deeply refreshing for the mind and the body.
Deep mindful breathing. There are many breathing techniques, that can help you stop shallow breathing, readjust your nervous system cycle and improve your overall mental and physical state. Deep abdominal breathing and other breathing or pranayama techniques are great for that.
Jin Shin Jyutsu body holds. Jin Shin Jyutsu is a Japanese physio-philosophy that involves the application of the hands to gently balance the flow of life energy in the body. It can help relieve stress, anxiety and fatigue.
Tension and release exercises. This exercise in progressive muscle relaxation activates the parasympathetic branch and helps you relax your entire body, step by step, moving through the body either foot to head or head to foot. The entire exercise takes seven to 10 minutes and can be done lying down or sitting.
Massage and bodywork. Physical touch can be extremely healing for both the mind and the body, but finding a competent and understanding practitioner is really crucial when dealing with a chronic condition. If you can’t find a massage or bodywork practitioner that you trust, acupressure self-massage is also a great solution whether you are dealing with headaches or dizziness.
Warm shower or bath. This is my number one choice for relaxation during the cold winter months. Warm water helps to increase blood circulation, relieve muscle tightness allowing you to relax fully. Adding a handful of Epsom salt and a few drops of calming essential oil will not only help to regulate the nervous system but also clear your body of toxins.
Restorative yoga, yin yoga and stretching. These practices are all about slowing down and opening your body through passive stretching. During the long holds, your muscles relax deeply. In restorative yoga, it’s a unique feeling because props, rather than your muscles, are used to support your body, whereas in yin yoga you are using gravity to stretch the connective tissues and let go of any tension in the body.
You can always combine different relaxation techniques, for example, doing gentle stretches in a warm bath, or holding the Jin Shin Jyutsu positions while practicing abdominal breathing or listening to a guided meditation.