I try not to think of myself as weak but I do need a nap before going out in the evening. Its hard when you are as sensitive as I am to not think, maybe I'm just weaker than everyone else? Although I have a robust immune system and hardly get sick in that way it's easy for me to get carried away in a fit of creative passion and work myself into a stupor. The same thing happens if I go out socialising all the time, but faster. I find it hard to be around people because I can't help but wrap my consciousness up in theirs. I spend a lot of time trying to understand people. Its what I do for a living. But I find it hard to switch that off. So if I'm not working late on my latest projects I'm busy trying to get in someone's head. I have learnt that I need to be careful to spend time alone and time meditating to mitigate the effects that day to day relating with people has on me.
Some would call me an empath. I love the concept but I don't walk around being constantly invaded by others emotions. This is actually a real thing that happens to some people. I listened to a great podcast called Invisibilia which interviewed a lady with the condition. She had chosen a life of isolation as a result.
Last Christmas when I worked myself into a state of fatigue I chose the same thing. I actively avoided going out, especially into London. The train full of noise, people, lights, was just too much for my senses to handle. More recently I started to notice some of those feelings returning and I knew, I must be run down. So I took some serious herbal, nutritional and lifestyle measures to get myself back on par again. These remedies won't suit everyone in the same situation. But it's a nice place to start your experiments. I should say, don't bother trying anything on the whole website if you're on medications or have health problems without checking with a health practitioner it'll be fine for you first.
Liquorice and rhemmania decoction
This beefy remedy is made of two Chinese herbs. The Chinese have amazing methods for preparing their herbs. The Rhemmania is fermented before being dried and the Liquorice is honey treated before being dried. Im not completely sure those things happen before its dried actually so don't take my word on it. I work at Middlesex University sometimes in their Park Clinic where the students from different herbal traditions learn their trade. I was smelling and tasting the Chinese herbs one day and felt particularly drawn to these two. I am already knew Liquorice as an adaptogen, brilliant for stress and recovery from fatigue but didn't know much about Rhemmania. I took so home anyway and decocted it like so:
- I took about 5g of each and covered with cold water over night in a saucepans
- The next day I brought it to boil and simmered for 10min
- I had a little mouthful that day and was so nourished by the taste I put the rest in the fridge
- I consumed it in a mouthful each day from the fridge for the next 5 days or so
The sweetness and savoury taste of this blend was fantastic and I could tell from how much I enjoyed the strong taste that it was giving me what I needed. I trust my senses when it comes to taking my medicines and take it when I find the taste serves me and no longer than that. Getting to know your body this intently takes years but is well worth it. I'd recommend my monthly course if you want to learn this skill.
Tilia deep decoction
Lime blossom (Tilia) is a beautiful summer herb with lovely relaxing properties. It helps you unwind and take the burdens of life off your shoulders. When I first tasted this preparation of the herb I felt like I was unfurling, like a coiled up flower, opening for the first time.
- Take fresh or dried Tilia and cover with water till it's happily swooshing about in liquid
- Put it in a pan and cover it with a lid
- Put the pan in the oven on the lowest heat for four hours
- Strain off the liquid and put aside for later
- Cover the herb with fresh water and put back in the oven, covered as before, for 8 hours (or overnight)
- Now strain this new decoction and combine with the first straining
- Put this on the hob with a lid on and bring to the boil then simmer for 12 hours (or till it reduces to half it's volume)
I kept my deep decoction in a sterilised glass container in the fridge for weeks and it hasn't changed at all so far so I think the shelf life will be excellent on it. (I'll soon be interviewing the genius behind this method; Cristina Cromer for the podcast). I took between 10ml and 30ml of this each day till I forgot about it. I usually take it as a good sign when my patients forget to take their medicine. The problem can't be very troublesome if it doesn't remind you to take your medicine!
The hardest part to sleep for me is sticking to a routine and during the summer the long days naturally keep me awake for longer. When the days were at their longest I actually closed the curtains and punged myself into darkness sooner to trick my pineal gland into thinking it was time for bed. The best thing I ever bought for summer is a black out shade from the Early Learning Center. The quality of sleep is so much better without the sun waking you up at 4am!! I'll be writing more about sleep as the year goes on and the days get shorter.
When things are super-busy I am more diligent than normal to have my to-do list in my diary and when I can't do things I ask for help. The easiest place to ask for help is in the home. When you work for yourself you can't turn to a team of people to get work done for you. But you can, hopefully, ask your partner (or family member) to help you by making sure dinner is on the table and the house isn't a state. I've even hired virtual assistants to help me during my super-busy times. There's only so much one person can do. The sooner you accept that the better.
When you're tired you eat rubbish and rubbish food makes you tired. Here's my quick-fix-lord-help-me-i-need-some-vitamins-meal. I take miso soup mix from Clear Springs, throw in some egg noodles, some dried seaweed and soak some medicinal mushrooms. The saltiness is exactly what I need when I'm low. Hope that helps!
If you're a sensitive soul or empath and would like to learn more about taking care of yourself join the mailing list so you find out all the details of an upcoming workshop.
If you've burnt yourself out in the past I'd love to hear how you picked yourself up again whether it's a lifestyle change, dietary change or a herb you fell in love with. Please do leave your comments below.