The Psychological Factors
Breakfasting and getting lunches packed for your kids. Getting your car washed and ready. Then off to work. A quick stop at the market on your way back. Rushing back home to get dinner prepared and served, and getting the laundry done. And finally, help with kids with their homework. Then sinking into a chair, trying to catch your breath and asking yourself, “How was your day, dear?” Have you tried it?
Whatever kind of job they might have, and however demanding and exacting they may be, women perform the task of the chief nurturer at home. If you spend time working to meet the endless needs and demands of your family, no wonder your cup runs dry eventually!
It’s normal for women to feel tired, particularly those who work full–time and bear the brunt of childcare. Often, two extra hours of sleep a night would solve the problem, but most women can’t afford that kind of luxury.
When you are under stress, your body goes on red alert. It calls upon reserve energy to meet the extra demands put upon your mind and body. Short bursts of stress are no problem. Yet, if the daily grind is coupled with something else, like the long–term strain of unresolved issues, stress can outlast your energy supplies.
Everyday stresses may make you feel worn to a frazzle. There’s a huge difference, however, between being down and being clinically depressed.
Clinical depression almost always involves a chemical imbalance in the body as well as alterations in the eating and sleeping patterns. Then, there are psychological changes–you may feel you have no control over your life, no motivation or energy left to make changes (crying sessions may exhaust what little stamina you have), instead of feeling it’s just that your life has problems, you feel dull and worthless.
Often, a way out of this web of despair is to identify the reasons underlying your depression. You must change your reaction towards the problem or change the situation if you can do that. The good news about clinical depression is that a good per cent of those so diagnosed, respond to a combination of drug treatment and psychological counselling.
You don’t have a disease, and the only pills you take are vitamins. Although you’ve had your share of ups and downs, you just don’t believe your case of fatigue has its origins in your psyche. Well, maybe, you should look for an explanation in the cigarette you just extinguished; your erratic sleeping habits or that cup of coffee and biscuits you call breakfast.
Breaking out of your fatigue cycle may simply be a matter of inculcating some new health habits. Consider your eating patterns, for example. Any traveler knows carrying a heavy suitcase could cause fatigue. So is lugging around extra kilos in the form of a midriff bulge! However, trying to lose those kilos could rob you of energy too. They don’t call them “Crash diets” for nothing. When people stay on low–calorie foods, the body goes into a state of starvation and slows down its processes to compensate for the lack of fuel. Then it conserves energy by making you slow down–and you do feel slowed down!
Feel Less Stressed
Strategies to cope:
Lighten your workload. Delegate as much responsibility as possible. Then concentrate on the essentials, while ignoring whatever is relatively less crucial.
Set aside at least one hour a day for your self. Do something just for yourself, read a magazine or get yourself a pedicure!
Sometimes just a change in appearance works wonders. A new haircut, a complete new wardrobe, maybe, colored contact lenses etc.
Think positive. When you’re nearing a deadline, for example, don’t make things worse by telling yourself you’ll never make it. Try some stressless talk instead, such as, “I’m going to take one step at a time” or, “Once I get started, I know I will feel and work better”.
Find a new, more positive angle to your problems. Rather than thinking, “Oh God, it’s raining outside and I feel cold”. How about, “This weather is perfect for hot cocoa and a good book”.
Choose fight or flight. It takes a lot of energy to force emotions underground and keep them there, so if possible, express that anger or sadness, instead of repressing it into fatigue. When fighting won’t help or is impossible, simply walk away.
If you can relax your body, you can get your mind to relax too. Learn to tighten, then release each muscle in your body. Start with your neck and shoulder muscles. Tense them up or stiffen them for as much as 30 seconds, then relax. Do the same with your arms and hands, then with your stomach, back and legs. By relaxing muscles before they harden into bands of anxiety, you can bypass stressful tension–of course, the best way to relax would be a good shoulder rub from a loved one!