Approximately 3 years ago, my life was changed forever.
After partying way too hard in between studying to become a Personal Trainer, working two jobs (JB HI FI and Platypus Shoes), training like a machine and pursuing endless amounts of women, I found my energy came to screaming halt. As a type A personality, I struggled to get through one day of work, found myself unable to communicate with people coherently and the simplest of tasks became a challenge. After pushing and pushing, my body finally cried for help.
At first, I had no idea what was going on with me and to be honest, thought I was losing my mind. So many horrible thoughts went through my mind. And endless doctors visits and research didn’t soothe my concerns either as they all came back with no answers.
After two years of being passed around from doctor to doctor and being told multiple times it was all in my head, I was finally given a diagnosis. The process of elimination revealed that I had an autoimmune disease called Fibromyalgia, but the main catalyst causing my body so much havoc was a condition known as Chronic Fatigue.
When people throw this name around, naturally you think it means just being really tired. Well let me tell you it is so much more then that! Categorised by aching muscles, a weakened immune system, debilitating fatigue, severe cognitive difficulties, depression, high stress and anxiety levels and horrible digestive issues, chronic fatigue or myalgic encephalomyelitis as it is more scientifically known, affects your entire body. Nervous system, immune system, endocrine system, musculoskeletal system, digestive system and cardiovascular system- no part of you is left unaffected.
So this sounds pretty frikon horrible right? Well it is. But to be completely honest it is also the best thing that has ever happened to me. As crazy as that sounds, despite sending my body into complete breakdown, putting my career on hold and causing severe stresses on my financial situations and relationships, chronic fatigue has taught me so much about myself and life.
In today’s society, we live in a world where everybody is pushed to their limits. We have all become workaholics, caught up in the toxicity of technology and social media, a money obsessed culture and ultimately, have become a socially inept, media driven society. We no longer engage in meaningful conversations because we are too busy working in a job that we hate to earn money to pay off our compulsive spending habits and pay off a mortgage for a house we will eventually grow old and die in. We come home and watch Netflix or the news to unwind. We focus on the monstrosities that are making the news and destroying our world like terrorism, shootings in America and Kim and Kanye’s new baby but ignore calling that relative we haven’t spoken to in years or the friend who has sent us countless facebook messages that we don’t have time to respond to. And how is that making people feel? Stressed, bitter and lonely. So where is the part about living?
Well from my personal experience, I have learned a lot about living. And if you just take time the time to try them out, I assure you, your life will improve immensely and your happiness levels will soar.
- MEDITATE…I cannot emphasise this enough. In this busy, fast paced society it has become increasingly difficult to unwind and shut off. If we aren’t working on a computer screen then we are on our phones playing candy crush or Tindering. And you may think that is switching off, but trust me it is far from it. Meditation is one of the most powerful tools to allow your body and mind to relax. There are some good apps such as Smiling Mind which allow you to ease yourself into the process if you find it difficult. Start off with 5 minutes a day and you’ll find once you get the hang of it and see the benefits, such as greater clarity, reduced stress and better decision making, you will want to do it every day for at least 20 minutes or so! I highly recommend checking out Michael Sealey and Jason Stephenson on Youtube. Some of my personal faves!
- YOGA…If you have not tried yoga before, you most definitely need to get on the yoga bandwagon. Before you start making excuses you most definitely don’t have to be flexible for this one. You will become more flexible as you keep practicing, trust me. Yoga takes stretching to a whole new level and never ever has your body felt so good! Combined with controlled breathing exercises, it allows you to build muscle, increase blood flow, boost immunity and strengthens your bones and joints. Not only that but it regulates your adrenal glands and aids your nervous system, lowering cortisol levels to make you feel less stressed and happier. A good way to start is in the comfort of your own home and then slowly progress to classes as you feel more comfortable. Check out Yoga with Adriene and Yoga by Candance on Youtube. Daily Yoga is also a great app to check out.
- BREATHING EXERCISES…Controlled breathing is an absolute wonder for stress relief! Incorporated into both Tai Chi and Yoga, breathing is a great way to centre your nervous system and ground yourself. A great example of the power of breathing exercises is the Ice Man, Wim Hof who has taught himself to regulate his metabolism, heart rate and blood circulation to be able to withstand freezing temperatures. Similar to Yoga, controlled breathing allows you to become more conscious of and more connected to your mind and body whilst improving the efficiency of the respiratory, immune and cardiovascular systems. If you have a spare 5 minutes while commuting to work or on your lunch break, check it out to reap the benefits. I suggest checking out Wim Hof’s breathing techniques on Youtube or Pranayama breathing on Youtube or on the app store is also a great technique to try.
- TAI CHI…After reading a book on Tai Chi I am absolutely obsessed with not only the practice but it’s core principles and now try to incorporate it into my everyday routine. Tai Chi, derived from China is part of the Taoism philosophy and centres around the chi, which is our life force. We are all born with a pure chi, but toxicity from everyday life damages our life force reducing our energy levels and connection to our inner being. Through the art of moving meditation and slow, controlled movements, Tai Chi focuses on realigning our mind and body with our original source of energy. Its definitely worthwhile doing some research on but in the meantime try it out for yourself. There a plenty of guides on Youtube to help you with the exercises.
These may sound complicated, but trust me the consequences of not learning to manage your stress and balance your life is far worse. And once you are able to manage all of this, everything else falls into place. You are able to excel at work. Your goals become more aligned. And you have greater clarity on what you want in life. Not only that but your whole entire life becomes more productive and the quality of your life and positivity you experience is phenomenal! You attract the right people, the right vibes and of course you reap the rewards.
It is amazing what reduced stress levels can do!
Hit me up if you need any guidance.