As I write, I am enjoying being tucked away in a relatively quiet spot upstairs in Waterloo train station, away from the hustle and bustle of downstairs. It is 6.30pm and in the midst of rush hour, frantic travellers are so keen to get to their next destination that you would be forgiven to think that their life depended on it!
It strikes me that while I am lucky not to have to endure this madness on a daily basis, for many Londoners this is a normal part of their regular routine. Surely beginning and ending each working day in this way cannot bode well for a healthy and balanced life.
Over the past few weeks, I have seen an increase in the number of clients suffering with the symptoms of fatigue and varying degrees of adrenal exhaustion, quite often when they are not even aware of it – most probably because they have become so used to their symptoms of lethargy, poor memory, lack of concentration, weight gain, shortness of breath, headaches and muscular tension that they have forgotten what it is like to feel ‘normal’.
Adrenalin and cortisol are released in response to physical, emotional or environmental stress. While short-term stress can be good for us, helping us to meet a deadline or achieve a physical challenge, long-term these hormones play havoc with our mind and body systems, such as the endocrine (hormonal), digestive and central nervous system. We are biologically designed for short bursts of physical or mental exertion, followed by rest. What many of us miss from this balance is to slow down, rest and repair. This may go on for many years and lead to increasing physical and emotional imbalances over time. It is well known that up to 80% of visits to GPs are for conditions and disorders caused directly or indirectly by stress.
For most people, a hectic fast-paced lifestyle is inevitable due to demands of work, family and other commitments. However, it is always worth considering whether you are pursuing the life you are truly meant to live. Are you fulfilled and living authentically to meet your needs, wishes and hopes? If not, think about what it would mean to live a content, happy and healthy life. If a change of career is not on the cards for you right now, make time to include some form of quiet relaxation into your day – whether a gentle class such as yoga, pilates, dance or Qi gong, a massage, a gentle walk outside or 20 minutes of simple mindfulness meditation. Incorporating this quiet and self-reflective time will give your mind some vital rest and thinking space, can enhance concentration, productivity and intuition and allow your body a well deserved chance to slow down…