I can’t stop thinking about this.
I recently ran a survey of our Intentional Health community. Over 70% of respondents indicated they had been on a health journey for a DECADE or more (40% of them indicating they had been on a health journey MOST of their life).
Call me crazy... and isn’t the point of addressing health issues to find a solution that works and get on with the more important and interesting elements of life?
I’ve long-held a belief that was affirmed after this survey:
The endless quest for understanding health
- and trying to find the ‘fix’ that will work-
is actually causing more health problems.
And the #1 negative impact that results?
I guess it makes sense that over 70% of survey respondents also indicated they need help with fatigue and exhaustion (naturally... it’s energy draining to be on a health journey that long).
But here’s the thing.
Most women that experience fatigue or exhaustion now... also think back over the course of their health journey and realize fatigue was one of the first symptoms to show up.
It’s just that fatigue has always been one of those annoying symptoms- something to caffeinate or dismiss- not something revered as important communication from our bodies.
Fatigue has become so common, most have accepted it as a normal part of life, not understanding that fatigue is the body’s first line of defense when there are underlying imbalances in body chemistry.
Balanced body chemistry (think hormones, neurotransmitters, minerals... etc.), allows the body to function properly in ALL systems (think endocrine, cardiovascular, immune, respiratory, reproductive, digestive, musculoskeletal).
So, when fatigue is ignored, the imbalances worsen, until eventually more symptoms are produced. Which symptoms show up depends on where the vulnerability is in the individual. So for one woman, she might experience gas and bloating, while another experiences PMS or hot flashes. Another might watch their blood pressure rise while still another feels anxious and can’t sleep.
And more often than not, one individual will experience a wide variety of symptoms, all of which aren’t life-threatening- just distracting- and seem completely unrelated.
But when we look at it this way, it’s clear.
The host of symptoms that are aggravating women are ENTIRELY RELATED... we (the health and medical industries) just aren’t looking deep enough... and aren’t truly understanding basic human physiology.
So what’s so tricky about this?
Because we have a long history of dismissing fatigue (even in medical offices, I’ve heard phrases like “it’s tough getting older” and “we’re all tired at times”), there’s a cultural norm around pushing through mind over matter. We’ve got a long ways to go to shift the paradigm into one that celebrates listening to, and honoring, the signals from our bodies.
So, how can you get started?
1- Use Hindsight— Think over the timeline of your life. Notice times when fatigue stands out as a major player in your health. Consider: what was your body communicating to you at that time?
2- Track— Keep a journal for a week. Note times when you have the most energy and when your energy is the lowest. Then consider: what influences impacted your energy (such as sleep, food, conversation, thoughts, time seated, screen time, demands of others... etc.).
3- Lead the Way — Every paradigm shift requires courageous souls to take charge. You can do this by honoring fatigue as a signal from your body and acting accordingly. No... this doesn’t mean you have to spend hours at a time in bed. It might just mean choosing to say no to an event you have a hunch will drain you or deciding to engage in gentle movement in lieu of the high intensity workout for a bit. It might mean asking for extra help in your house or at the office. And... it might require a few extra hours in bed ;-)