Rest is so vital to our health physically and emotionally yet many of us don’t sleep well regularly.
Can you say you get the recommended amount of sleep according to these time frames?
Sleep Needs by Age Group:
Adult: 7 – 9 hours
Teenager: 8 – 10 hours
Child 6 – 12 years: 9- 12 hours
Child 3 – 5 years: 10 – 13 hours (including naps)
Child 1 – 2 years: 11 – 14 hours (including naps)
Infants 4 -12 months: 12 – 16 hours (including naps)
The American Sleep Association estimates 50-70 million Americans have some form of a sleep disorder! https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/
With so many of us sleeping poorly is it little wonder we feel tired all the time?
We Live Tired
When we have something we deal with every day, like feeling tired, we eventually just learn to live with it, accepting it as part of who we are instead of realizing it is our body telling us something is wrong. We blame our sleepless nights on age, discomfort, and just restlessness.
There are many reasons we may not be sleeping well but one of the most common reasons is stress. Most of the time, our lack of sleep is due to stress and strain on our adrenal system that leaves us in a constant state of fight or flight. We live in such a fast-paced, high pressure society that it is impossible to unplug and take care of ourselves.
Even when we don’t think we are stressed, it may be because we are so used to feeling that fight or flight way that we don’t realize what it means to not feel stressed and not tired from it.
Here’s a good example. The average American worker today:
Puts in over 52 hours a week at their job
Eats lunch at their desk while working
Is commonly found to have to deal with work problems while out of the office, during vacation time or on weekends and holidays
Uses technology devices up until the time they go to bed at night and as their alarm clock in the morning
Spends over 70% of their entire day using technology
Will skip a workout because of job demands and deadlines
If this is our “normal” then of course we wouldn’t realize after awhile it is actually impacting our health and functions like sleep.
Understanding the Signs
Our bodies tell us when something is not right.
Increased heart rate
Upset stomach or butterflies
Breathing pace changes
These are just some of the indicators our bodies will use to tell us we need to rest, de-stress or change what we are doing.
The physical indicators can be accompanied by emotional feelings of grumpiness, loneliness, disconnection, not caring, anger, fear, insecurity and so on.
It is not uncommon to have multiple feelings at the same time complicating what we are feeling and what could really be at the root of it all. This feelings on top of feelings sensation can trigger additional physical indicators like developing the sniffles, shaky hands and feeling achy for example.
Over time, both our physical and emotional indicators may become more severe and develop into diseases or chronic conditions that severely impact our health and well-being.
As an example, when I was traveling week over week for work and in an ongoing stressful situation at work I was frequently tired and had constant headaches. I was emotionally upset all the time ranging from anxious, anger, depression, and worry depending on the day. I wasn’t eating right and would often grab whatever I could or go very long periods of time with no food or water. I was working very long hours and at a super-uber pace. On top of that I missed my family and a lot of important things I should have been home for, like the first day of school and Halloween trick-or-treating.
During this time, I would often get a sinus infection, cold or simply feel exhausted most of the time. I blamed it on the airplanes and hotel rooms. Yes I was around a lot of germs in those settings but that’s not what made me sick. I got sick because my immune system was susceptible. It was weakened because it was busy supporting my adrenal system and keeping me boosted up with cortisol to continue dealing with all the stress I was under with work and being away from my family.
I was fortunate to be able to get out of that situation eventually and while I still have some work drama it’s no where near that level these days. The lesson here though is don’t ignore the signs and chuck it off as just being cold and flu season or a dirty airplane. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.
Supporting Body & Mind
When you have adrenal exhaustion and are under constant stress, it is going to take more than just a couple hours to reset to normal. Depending on how long this has been going on and how severe, it can take months to detox from it.
Our emotional system and physical body don’t bounce back as quickly as we think especially in our adult years. If you try to rush this detox and healing process you will only wind right back at the start line with the same problems.
Detoxing our emotional system from stress so we can rest is the first step. We must get away from the things that are causing us this stress and know that we are safe from it. For me, that meant changing jobs and getting home to be with my family. It also meant I need to give myself time to adjust, reflect and heal emotionally and physically. This process is best done with practicing mindfulness of what you need in terms of quiet, stress free environments as well as physical needs of safety, food, water and comfort.
I was using essential oils during the period of stress to keep me going through it but when I was finally able to break from it I changed what I was using to start the detox and healing process.
Oils for When You Feel Stuck in Stress
These are what I used during the time of high stress to keep me going
What I did was put a drop of OnGuard on my feet bottoms daily along with a drop of Balance. Place a drop of Frankincense and Copaiba under my tongue and put InTune on the back of neck and behind the ears.
Oils for Supporting Stress Detoxification
When you finally get to step out of the chaos of high stress, you need to detox from that. This is similar to detoxing with food but it directly supports your emotions and adrenal system. These oils can help with this process:
Using these oils individually or in combination over your heart, on the feet bottoms and in a diffuser and then sitting down to reflect or meditate is a wonderful healing process. It can also be very challenging to make yourself stop and do this when you are used to going at a high stress rate in your day. Don’t criticize yourself if you can’t do it for long periods of time, build on what you can do and allow your body time to recognize that bad situation is gone.
What works for me with these oils includes:
Ylang Ylang over my heart
Peace or Past Tense on the back of my neck base
Serenity and Basil on feet bottoms
AromaTouch along spine
Diffuser blend: 2 drops Vetiver, 2 drops Serenity
Maybe your reflection includes journaling or just thinking about it for lessons learned. The important part of this exercise is to find a way to let go and make peace with it. Don’t dwell on it to the point of anger or frustration of what could have been different. It’s very easy to fall back into mindset of what you could have done or said instead of trying to look holistically at the entire situation as an experience you can grow from.
Oils Supporting Exhaustion
When you are physically and emotionally drained and feeling beat up you need to give your body rest. This too can be challenging because often our dreams and thoughts will trigger memories or actions that weigh on us and prevent sleep from happening.
During the healing process from high stress these oils can comfort and soothe our emotions so we can focus on rest and restoration. Applying them to our spines, back of the neck, feet bottoms and over our hearts will help us release tension and constraining thoughts from the stress.
At nighttime or when you are able to take a nap, diffuse Breathe, Sandalwood and Serenity together to create a relaxing and calming aroma that will allow you to take deep breaths.
Apply Blue Tansy to your heart to help calm and soothe your emotions. Use Roman Chamomile, Basil and Serenity to your feet bottoms. These oils will support the feeling of safety and calmness that will help with rest.
Lay with your hands placed one over your heart and one over your stomach and take several deep breaths and exhale slowly. Let your body and mind know you are safe and strong.
Repairing and Restoring
Practicing the methods described above will help but so will accepting it may be some time before you feel what normal should feel like again. Repairing our adrenal system and restoring our bodies to a normal production of cortisol takes time. We are complex beings and our bodies are well-equipped warriors when they need to be therefore it can take some time to take the armor off from our latest battle.
Don’t be so hard on yourself if you need to rest, take a nap or sleep in. In the long run, doing so will allow us to heal and return to the people we love and things we enjoy doing.
Interested in more?
If you have questions or would like to try some of these oils please let me know. I’m happy to help you find what your body and emotions need to feel what normal should feel like.
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