Today I attended my very first yoga workshop: Adrenal Fatigue and Restorative Yoga with Vickie Russell Bell.
This workshop was about learning about adrenal fatigue, and I learned a lot. We talked, we explored, we practiced Restorative poses.
(Trying to find information about adrenal fatigue online is tough. From the handout Vickie gave us, adrenal fatigue is the fatigue that comes form being under chronic stress without sufficient recovery. When the adrenal glands are activated over and over without sufficient recovery, your body becomes exhausted and depleted and you become susceptible to illness. Too much physical, emotional, environmental and/or physiological stress can deplete your adrenals. Adrenal glands help your body cope with stress.)
Restorative Yoga internally relaxes the body. It’s not as easy as it sounds. You are in a comfy position, usually on your back. But then you have to focus on the breath and quieting the mind. And what does the mind want to do when you tell it to be quiet?
Vickie recommends a regular Restorative home practice of 15-20 minutes a day. It takes the body 18 minutes to psychologically relax. As much as I would love to do that I am not sure if I have time to do it every day.
But taking care of myself is important. And Vickie said, practicing on your own is the greatest gift. In order to practice Restorative Yoga one must be still, be quiet, warm and it must be dark (whether lights out and blinds closed or a eye pillow will also work). And the nervous system likes symmetry and evenness.
I recently started going back to the Restorative class at my studio on Sunday evenings. I know it is important to regularly practice Restorative yoga and I am making sure to get to the class at least once or twice a month.
Vickie reminded us that we must deal with self-care issues and we have choices. A big one is to eat breakfast. Lucky for me I do that every day. Low blood sugar can be a sign of adrenal fatigue.
Vickie reminded us that there are things in your life you can control and change and there are things you can’t. So why not focus on things that aren’t good for you and change them?
For me I need to learn to say no more often and to ask for help. I am a people pleaser, a hard worker and like things done a certain way, which really means my way, the right way.
There is one thing I did change in the past year or so. I used to be famous for remembering everyone’s birthday. I used to send gifts and cards. (Sometimes handmade knit items.) That gets stressful to stay on top of them and expensive and, frankly, most of the time I get no thank you or let alone an acknowledgment. Then I went to just cards with a donation to charity, as most people we know, kids included, don’t really need anything. And then I just stopped. It’s too hard to keep track as I have a lot of people in my life and many of my friends have kids. So now it is more just focused on close family and that is more than enough.
I feel like most of the time I am nonstop. I have a long commute to work. At times my job can be stressful and demanding and busy. I feel tired a lot. I don’t sleep well. I usually fall asleep almost immediately when my head hits the pillow, but I wake up numerous times during the night.
Legs up the wall is recommended for many things. (You can practice the pose without a bolster. A bolster is pictured in the link.) The pose is great for jet lag, waking up in the middle of the night, tired in the middle of the day. It is a conscious relaxation. And I plan to try it the next time I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t immediately fall back asleep. The pose calms your circulatory system and naturally drains your lymph system.
At the end of the workshop I was really emotional. I am not quiet sure why. Some people shared some personal stuff. I didn’t. But I was reflecting. I think I had a lot of self-discovery today.
There are things I know I need to change in my life to avoid adrenal fatigue. And there are ways to help me deal with adrenal fatigue when I have it. Now I just need to utilize those tools more often and remember to take care of myself. Because, really, who else is going to?