Last week we began discussing how to recover from fatigue, and you’ll remember that it all hinges on spending less energy than you make. In other words, you have to STOP doing the things that deplete your body of energy and START doing the things that nourish your body. Like a checking account, you can’t spend more than you make, nor can you survive long without some sort of income.
Today we’re going to look at three more ways to help you do this.
1. Reduce areas of stress over which you have control.
I have been noting four areas that seem to stress us women out. In my own life, I like to blame everyone else for these problems, but if I’m honest, I’ll admit that I really do have more control over these things than I’d like to admit. For instance,
- My Time
Of course, I can’t always control the way my days go, but by living within a simple daily and weekly routine, I can sure control a lot! By knowing my priorities and sticking to them, by determining to be disciplined with my household routines, and by learning to say “no” to activities that aren’t what God wants me to do in my day, I can certainly take control of this area of my life.
Let’s make this practical. Do you have a routine? You probably aren’t feeling well, and when your health goes, so do the laundry, the dishes, and the vacuuming. You shouldn’t add more stress on yourself by expecting perfection; but neither should you let the house get so bad that IT begins to add more stress to your life.
Learn to pace yourself. Rather than doing all the cleaning in one day, spread it out evenly over a week or month. Set a timer and work for only 15 minutes, then allow yourself to rest for 15 minutes. (Timers are the best invention ever made!) But be sure to have a routine of some sort, no matter how simple it is.
>> Check out the ideas from this creative blogger!
Are too many activities crowding out your routine? Just say no! (Will your husband be “the bad guy” and say no for you? What a blessing that can be!)
Are summertime travel, unexpected visitors, or extremes in temperature and humidity sucking the energy out of you? These things are all good — but facts are facts. You can’t spend more energy than you make, no matter how much you wish it weren’t so. Pace yourself, and get back to a simple routine. Keep your priorities straight.
- My Relationships
A poor relationship with anyone will immediately suck the energy out of me. God’s Word, of course, says that this is true.
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15).
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15).
For myself, I’ve found that I can rouse enough energy to be sweet to someone’s face, but when I’m all alone, I start to replay conversations in my mind, reliving all the frustration and anger I might be feeling. I feel my temper start to rise, and in my imagination, I’m fighting that person and “telling them a thing or two.”
My body doesn’t understand that it’s imaginary. My adrenal glands think the danger is real! In response, I secrete massive amounts of hormones to deal with the perceived threat, and sure enough, in an hour or so, I feel like a semi-truck has run me over.
A Bible verse that has been especially helpful to me is,
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44, KJV).
This verse takes care of my heart, which returns me to peace with God and others and restores health to my body.
- My Money
Anxiety over financial problems is a common denominator in the majority of cases of women who have debilitating fatigue. I personally think that if we have a problem “over spending” in one area of our life, we’ll probably see that problem in other areas, too.
Do you “over spend” energy, making you exhausted? Do you “over spend” with your time, making too many commitments? Do you “over spend” with your emotions, fighting battles that belong only to God? Take a serious look at your finances, too. You just can’t spend more than you make.
For some, loss of a job, enormous medical bills, car repairs and more can deplete financial resources. These things are out of your control. However, you can control your reactions. You must learn to take seriously God’s promise to provide for all your needs (Philippians 4:19).
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
- My Health
Many common health problems can cause stress to your body (and to your mind, too, if you’re worried about them). Some common ones that will deplete your body’s energy are colds, stomach flu, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, sunburn, cuts and injuries, migraines, and thyroid disorders. Some of these you can control; many of them you can’t.
However, at the first sign of illness, you can pick up the phone and cancel everything on your calendar for a few days. You can call a friend for help watching your little ones. You can head to bed for an extended nap. You can take herbs that will help your body heal. You can eat some homemade chicken soup and other nourishing foods.
Here’s another thing you can control. You know that sickness and injury happens to all of us, so you can be prepared in advance. You can have some nourishing foods made and ready in your freezer. You can line up help ahead of time from your church. You can have a box of special toys that you pull out only for desperate times like this. You can give yourself permission to rest when it’s needed.
I suggest that you take a few minutes to think about the things that cause you stress. Prepare ahead of time. Begin to meditate on Scripture that will strengthen your heart. Take control over the things you can, and learn to give everything else to God.
2. Use supplements to nourish your body.
Last week, we quickly discussed the importance of a nourishing diet (and I’m planning to return to that topic in more detail another week). I would like to quickly discuss some supplements that are helpful in overcoming fatigue.
In Genesis 1:29, God told Adam, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” Later, God provided the meat of clean animals for mankind to use as food. The purpose of food, God says, is the following:
“He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart” (Psalm 104:14-15).
Food that was created by God is nourishing to our bodies and healing to our cells. When I choose a supplement, I am careful to choose one that is as close to how God created it as possible. The more mankind has tampered with it, the more expensive it tends to be and the less good it tends to do for my body.
I have found the following supplements to be helpful:
- Enzymes — These are given to us by God in the foods He created, but heat destroys them. Our body can manufacture them IF it is not too tired! So for someone who is fighting fatigue, I highly recommend taking digestive and metabolic enzymes with every meal.
- Fats and Oils — These provide vitamins A and D, which are essential to recovery from fatigue. Be sure to purchase only the highest quality, from a reputable source, or you’ll simply waste your money. I recommend daily use of coconut oil, butter from pasture-fed cows, extra-virgin olive oil, and cod liver oil (capsules are fine).
- Probiotics — Since digestion is often a problem for someone with fatigue, I recommend a high-quality probiotic daily, in addition to the nourishing yogurt, kefir, and lacto-fermented foods you should be including in your diet.
- Sea salt — Avoid refined (ie. white) salt, but include ample amounts of unrefined sea salt, to replenish minerals and electrolytes that quickly become depleted when you are fatigued. Salt your food to taste, and if you crave even more salt, shake some into your palm and lick it off, following that with a glass of purified water or raw milk. Another good source of sodium and essential minerals is fish sauce, used liberally in your homemade stocks, soups, and sauces.
- Vitamins — I use vitamins D, C and B12, but I’m careful to purchase from reputable companies. You may wish to have your levels checked by your healthcare professional first, to avoid using too much. A good source of Vitamin C is acerola powder.
- Herbs — Do research ahead of time and stock your pantry with herbs that can take the place of common medications. Most medications, including ibuprofin, acetominephen, and cold medications, will quickly deplete your adrenal glands and damage your liver. God has provided healing herbs that quickly calm symptoms without harming your body. However, you need to be prepared ahead of time, before you need them. I prefer liquid tinctures or teas because they work quickly and many of their nutrients have been preserved better than capsules.
- Glandulars — Made from the glands of animals, these products can replace some of the hormones your body isn’t making. I don’t advise their use unless you’ve tested your hormone levels and know that you really need them. However, used properly, these can make all the difference in how you feel. Some excellent glandulars to replace adrenal hormones include IsoCort and Drenamine (by Standard Process). I recommend Armour thyroid (prescription only, from pork) or Thytrophin (by Standard Process) to replace thyroid hormones.
- I highly recommend the following companies: Garden of Life, Nature’s Sunshine, Mountain Meadow Herbs, Remnant Remedy Essential Oils, and Standard Process.
We’ve been told to exercise for so long that we feel terribly guilty if we’re not exercising now. In fact, inside our minds, we’re wondering if maybe the reason we feel so tired is because we don’t exercise enough!
Exercise IS important, and strong muscles, good circulatory systems, and stamina can result from consistent, moderate exercise.
However, if you’ve been monitoring your health and have determined (by basal body temperature, blood pressure, and other signs) that your adrenal glands are fatigued, NOW is NOT the time to be exercising.
I recommend that you continue to monitor your body temperature and other symptoms and only begin to exercise AFTER these things have returned to normal. To begin exercising, monitor your body temperature religiously, add in just a few minutes of light exercise per day, then carefully record how exercise affects your body temperature. Also note any mental symptoms you experience, such as brain fog, crabbiness, or a tendency to cry more easily.
In other words, exercise should be a LAST step in your plan for recovery, not the first step. Exercise can help you, but it also uses up energy. Do you remember our rule? You can’t spend more energy than you make. However, once your body is starting to recover, light to moderate exercise really can make a big difference in how you feel. Hopefully by that point, you’ll have learned to listen carefully to what your body is telling you and to respond appropriately.
>> I have provided you a chart that you can use to monitor your progress as you work through these six steps. Click here to download.
Next week we’ll take a look at the diet you should be eating, as well as foods you should avoid, since this is such an important part of your recovery.
Are you struggling with fatigue? I invite you to download our free audio, “Can Fatigue Be Fixed?”, or check out our e-course, “Too Tired: A Woman’s Practical Guide”. Thanks for visiting!