Last October, I moved across town; as a result, my commute quadrupled. At the same time, my work load increased by a third. Soon after, I began to feel cranky and fatigued all the time, had mood swings could have competed with the wildest roller coaster, and was sniffing and coughing more often than not. In short, I felt out of whack.
I realized that I was “living beyond my means” – I was asking more of myself than I had energy for. Not a good thing. And not sustainable in the long-term. It was time for a few changes to my schedule, to say ‘no’ more often than ‘yes’. To do less and be more.
As I was pondering my experience, I realized that I was not alone in my experience. The vast majority of us in this city, perhaps in this country (in this hemisphere, on this globe?), do more than we have energy for. In other words, we live on (energetic) credit. We use our stimulant of choice (caffeine, TV, email, work) to hype us up and keep us going, even though deep down, we’re bone-tired. We accumulate energetic debt. This may be okay for a while, but eventually we’ll run out of credit. And if we don’t have or know how to build up our resources (and that we have to build them up), we are in deep yogurt.
If this is in any way reminiscent of the financial crisis of the past few years, it is no coincidence. In her book Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life Dr. Claudia Welch argues that our personal lifestyle and life routines mirror the broader cultural mindset around us, and thus, more recently has led to a chronic overspending of our personal resources, mostly, our time, energy, and health. This is particularly true for women, she argues. Combining information from Western medicine and concepts from Eastern medicine, she explores how a stressful lifestyle and the imbalances and diseases women experience are intricately interwoven. Did you know that hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone can be used to produce stress hormones (if there is more demand than supply) and that this inevitably has myriad consequences for women’s health which so much depends on the delicate balance and functioning of these hormones? As a result of such imbalances, however, we introduce synthetic hormones into our bodies and wreak more havoc, while some simple (albeit not easy) adjustments to lifestyles and diet routines that would help prevent problems from occurring in the first place.
And so my plea is the same you will have heard many times: slow down, eat, rest. But hopefully, you’ll realize, the reasoning is rather profound.