Recently, one of our tribe was courageous and emailed me with the following:
I’ve become ill with some unknown disease lumped under the category of ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’ – [essentially] you feel your energy has been drained out of you and you watch your life [go by].
I’m lucky in that I can still somewhat function while others are completely bedridden, but I’m struggling to remain positive and hopeful as I’m unable to see friends and have lost touch. I’ve gone from someone who used to run 10 miles a day to someone who has to sit down to shower.
I’m on a leave from work and praying I can go back in a month. I’m in my late twenties, and the past two years have been consumed with health issues. I’m jealous of everyone for how easily they can physically move about and get where they need to be.
Important Note: I first want to say that I’m not a doctor and don’t pretend to be one. All I’m offering is some friendly “unprofessional” advice, and advise that you ultimately seek the advice of licensed professionals.
You would be surprised how many of us, to some degree, feel depressed, tired, and lonely these days…
Because we’re afraid of how people would respond if they knew how we really felt.
We usually tend not to say anything out of the fear of being judged negatively.
I’m writing this because you don’t necessarily have to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome to have experienced similar sensations to a greater or lesser degree.
I know I have.
My experiential, but scientifically influenced belief is that our bodies are a part of a vast mind-body-spirit system.
It therefore makes sense to address matters like this with a more nuanced, multi-dimension approach to healing.
Suggestions to positively affect your mood and energy:
1. Get out in the sun or outside in nature for at least 60 minutes a day. Don’t daydream, try to pay attention to the nature around you.
2. Consider eating more plants, fresh organic green juices, and less meat (semi-vegetarian diet). You are what you eat, make no mistake.
3. Do yoga three times a week. This practice is a timeless and ancient form of healing. I have literally seen and heard of miracles connected to this practice.
4. Meditate/sit quietly on a pillow just 5 min in the morning and 5 min at night (one hour before bed). Think about who you love and who loves you. Picture yourself hugging your loved ones, and then imagine a healthy and strong version of yourself coming up to you and giving you a hug and letting you know everything will be okay. Feelings of love are potent, and they can activate healing all throughout the body and mind.
5. Making a gratitude list first thing in the morning (10 items) can be as simple as saying you’re thankful for having a roof over your head.
6. Walk for 30 minutes a day.
7. Exercise for 3-4 times per week (20-40 min).
8. Fish oil or flax seed oil supplement.
9. Do a daily journal at the end of the evening to check in and write how you’re feeling.
10. Unplug from any mainstream news TV or radio (it’s insanely negative and dramatic); stick to only entertainment that makes you smile, dream, or feel hopeful.
11. Disengage from any negative friendships, even if it means you will be alone. Seek out positive social groups by taking classes or finding local Meetups you’re interested in.
If you do even 50% of this list, I suspect you will feel a little better in a few days and much better in a few weeks.
Most of all, be patient and kind to yourself.
You’ve already been through enough.
I don’t mean self-pity either; that’s a darker aspect of the ego that’s masochistic and likes to bask in the pain. Self-pity is a sure way to stay stuck and get progressively worse.
Instead, try to be gentle with yourself and become your own best friend in these times of need by doing the necessary work to get better. Look, I know it’s easier said than done, but I used to have crippling alcoholism and can relate if you’re feeling sad, lonely, and tired.
You’re not alone.
The suggestions I’m making are a tool kit that worked well for me and others that I know. I still have gloomy days, but they are few and far between, and now I know how to get into action, so they dissipate quickly. It doesn’t feel like the end of the world like it used to.
Something about “movement” in general helps, so take any baby steps you can today. And then tomorrow…take a couple more baby steps. Before you know it, you’ve walked your way out of hell (into the sunshine).