You know the feeling, you are feeling great after a Christmas break and summer sunshine. January comes and it’s full of events, bbq’s and back to work deadlines, and then boom! it’s Feb things get overwhelming. Our body starts to feel it. We get sick, our digestive system is in knots and the body isn’t happy.
Firstly, you are not alone. Since sharing our newsletter on Feb fatigue I have had so many women reach out and tell me that they are feeling it too. However, while it is common, it shouldn’t be normal. There is so much strength in saying “it’s ok”, “it doesn’t matter if I don’t get to that today”, “it’s all going to be ok”, “nope I think I will stay in tonight”.
The key is to listening to your body and slowing down, allowing the body time to rest and strengthen rather than burn out and fall into illness.
During times of stress, there are clear body signs which the body is trying to tell us (often we don’t hear them). As no two people are the same, no two symptoms will be the same. There can be similarities but how your body responds will differ from person to person.
THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Often this is the first symptom we see. For some people, its bloating, cramping or loose stools (welcome to the nervous poo!) for other people everything slows down and they experience constipation.
Our hunger can also change; for some, it can increase and others it can disappear.
How do we support this:
Firstly we want to ensure we are eating fresh whole foods. Our body needs nourishing foods at the best of times and this increases during times of need. I am a big fan of eating slow-cooked, warm, nutritive foods. It takes some of the pressure of the digestive system and makes it easier for the body to breakdown nutrients and eliminate waste. Now is the time for soups, broths, casseroles and warm salads.
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Under long term stress, the immune system starts to be affected. This can be seen as reoccurring colds or simply a cold / cough / sore throat that appears to linger. It may improve but only to 90% with that lingering 10%. This is a sign that we need to slow down, rest and allow the body to heal.
How do we support this:
We need to slow down and rest (are you seeing the theme yet?). We need to ensure we are eating well, eating nourishing foods to restore nutrient levels and support the body to heal. We can also add in foods naturally rich in Vitamin C; ie capsicum, kiwi, papaya, citrus, tomatoes and Zinc; ie oysters, red meat, pumpkin seeds, mussels, kangaroo.
We also need to ensure we are having enough sleep!
THE ADRENAL SYSTEM
Our adrenal system has many roles but it is a big player in stress management. When under frequent and long term use it starts to churn through nutrient levels (vitamin c and zinc are big ones here) and that can contribute to a weaker immune system. The adrenals also don’t like to be in this state long term, they get tired and we start to feel it!
Beyond a weakened immune system, we can start to see emotional changes. We can get more snippy, find that we respond to stress different (in that we cant deal with it very well) or may start to experience anxiety, feeling low or depressed, fatigue and changes to sleep.
How can we support this:
Firstly, talk to someone. You are not alone and there are many MANY other women feeling this way. You can talk to a professional or go for a walk with a friend. However, it’s important to remember that the situation won’t change, if you don’t change it.
From a herbal medicine perspective, there are lots of options that we can use to support all areas of this fatigue. Herbs to support the immune system, others for adrenal health and mood. Herbal medicine can be tailored to the individual’s specific needs – remember no two people are the same and therefore no two health protocols should be the same.