Care-Giver Burnout; How I Recovered from Adrenal Fatigue
About 12 years ago I hit a wall. I had been in a constant spin cycle of caring for others while they navigated their crises. I understood it was my responsibility to support them, care for them and do whatever I could to ease their discomfort because that’s what I signed up for. Over 20 years, there were many signs and situations that were hints for me to question that understanding. But, it wasn’t until I was so physically affected, that I was forced to make changes. It’s not been easy. It’s taken a long time.
Care-giver burnout does not simply refer to health-care professionals. Almost every woman I know is somewhere on a spectrum of over-tiredness from over-giving physically, mentally and emotionally.
When we're in a state of constant stress, our adrenal system never shuts off or has time to recover. Over time, the adrenal hormones deplete and start taxing our other endocrine organs, like the thyroid and eventually can affect our hearts. Adrenal depletion is no joke.
All of these things help, but one is the key to it all:
Physical Rest. The only way to recover physically, from anything in my opinion, is to physically rest. Only sleep and ‘not-doing’ reduce inflammation, over time.
All the therapies. Massage, reiki, craniosacral therapy, body talk, chiropractic and acupuncture. My body needed attention and every modality helped it on some level. Massage is the therapy that I deem a necessity. I have one/month. My body loves them. Find what yours loves.
Supplements. There are great supplements to support adrenal recovery. Your health food store should have a knowledgeable supplements specialist. You'll have to monitor what works for you, because everyone is different. Holy basil, milk thistle and vitamin D are my staples!
Emotional Support. I was amazed to find that over the years of dealing with crisis, I was ashamed that I had problems. I stopped confiding in my friends and family because I was embarrassed. I found I had completely isolated myself. Once I could no longer keep my ‘secrets’ and began telling my story, a flood of support came my way that felt like instant healing. I had mistakenly believed that I was the ‘only’ one and that my friends and family would not support me.
THE KEY TO IT ALL The above, are all parts of recovery, but I didn’t begin to actually HEAL–as in break the pattern of adrenal depletion—until I became aware of what I was telling myself about myself and my life. Changing my thoughts has been the single, most powerful change I have made in my recovery from over-caring, giving and doing.
Changing thoughts that directly affect over-caring is just one of the ways I help my clients.