As a classic introvert (and rather sensitive soul), I find the chaos and excessive busyness of modern life somewhat ridiculous – and perhaps you can relate.
Trying to be truly well in a hyper-connected world, is no easy feat.
Most of us are literally available – in some way – 24/7 (and deep down, we feel guilty when we’re not). Anxiety, insomnia, hormonal imbalance, nervous tension, adrenal fatigue … these things are dominating our health pictures.
We buy so heavily into the rat race, because we’ve had it ingrained into our psyches that ‘busy’ equates to ‘success’ and ‘productivity’.
And perhaps one of the biggest problems with our addiction to this way of living, is that we end up completely disconnected from ourselves, our true selves, our spirit – the part of us that deeply knows that none of it even matters anyway.
I believe it’s no exaggeration to say that MANY of us are pretending like we’re all good on the surface, but meanwhile falling to pieces behind the scenes.
After spending most of my 20s living in a perpetual state of overwhelm, hitting my 30s recently really cemented in the fact that this is NOT how I want to spend my life. And I deeply realise now … that the more I take care of my sensitive and introverted nature, the greater the level of service I can offer the world. It serves NO ONE, for me to be exhausted and overwhelmed and burnt out.
Perhaps you spend a lot of your time feeling completely weighed down with the demands of living.
Perhaps you fall ill really easy, or feel consistently fatigued, or experience irritability / agitation on a regular basis.
Perhaps life just feels really HEAVY, and devoid of joy.
Perhaps overwhelm runs your life, like it used to run mine.
Perhaps you constantly crave alone time (but never get it).
Perhaps you feel like you just don’t know how to do modern day life!
If any of this resonates, you may be a little more introverted than you think. You might have a constitution that needs a little more nurturing than you ever realised.
And the thing is … when you look after your sensitivity rather than resisting it, the overwhelm falls away.
The burnout becomes a thing of the past. And all of a sudden, you start to ENJOY life again, because you’re honouring your inherent nature – rather than berating it.
And so, here’s my (rather long) list of things that I do to look after my more sensitive constitution.
If something on this list calls to you, why not try it? Remember – we are ALL different.
Honour who your really are, rather than trying to pretend you’re ok when you’re actually not.
// Stop comparing ‘how much you do’ with other people.
I used to think that because I couldn’t ‘cope’ with being as busy as other people, I was somehow weak or inherently flawed. What I’ve realised, is that half the people I used to compare myself to, are actually struggling under the weight of what they have going on (but just pretending like it’s all good) – and so, I was comparing myself to an illusion anyway!
It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing with their week, their weekend, their life. It only matters that you do what is best for YOU. Who cares about anything else?
// Listen to your resentment.
I always say to my clients: use resentment as a guide. If something is making you resentful, it’s either telling you that a) you don’t want to be doing that thing; or b) you need to be prioritising yourself above that thing. Listen to your resentment. It is asking you to make change.
When I feel resentful, I know it’s my spirit screaming at me (and this only ever happens when I ignore my intuition, and commit to things that I intuitively know I don’t want to be doing).
// Stop underestimating what your rushed, busy life is doing to your health.
Living in a perpetual state of RUSH keeps us stuck in fight-or-flight mode, and sets up the body to be producing a constant cascade of stress hormones. These powerful chemical messengers affect your entire health picture far more than you are probably aware of. Keeping stress hormones in check is pivotal to looking after your sensitive constitution.
// Bring yoga into your life.
Yoga transformed my life in so many ways. It keeps my nervous system balanced, my stress hormones at bay, and my busy mind in check. Yin yoga in particular is particularly rejuvenating for a sensitive introvert type.
// Realise that your overwhelm doesn’t actually serve anyone.
While it may seem that overwhelm is a necessary part of being of service to others and ‘being a good person’, this is an illusion! The people in your life benefit MOST, when you are calm, centred, grounded and truly well. Your overwhelm doesn’t make you a ‘good’ person. You are already a good person – you don’t need to keep doing too much to try and prove it.
// Write a list of things you need to STOP doing.
Recently, I sat down and got really honest with myself, writing a list of all the things I knew were really depleting me and that I knew I needed to change or stop doing. The list was fairly long … but none of them were very hard to let go of. Being honest with yourself about what isn’t working in your life is a very freeing process.
// Get REALLY ok with people not necessarily liking you / agreeing with you.
I spent most of my life needing people to like me – because I really couldn’t stand it if I felt I had upset someone. I really don’t like upsetting people, so I used to consistently bend myself backwards to keep the peace. These days (and I’m still getting used to this!) I’m much more able to deal with not being liked / accepted / approved of. I know that my approval of MYSELF is paramount – and nothing else matters.
// Learn that ‘no’ doesn’t need and explanation or justification.
Even when you get good at saying ‘no’ to things that you don’t want to be doing … you might find that you try to justify your way out of it. You don’t need to do this! ‘No’ is enough on it’s own. No justification necessary.
// Keep your energy clean, clear, and high vibration.
Sensitive people are generally very empathetic, and tend to take on mothering / caring / healer roles. I often have energy work done to keep myself balanced (reiki, kinesiology, chiropractic, acupuncture), and take care of my emotional wellbeing using flower essences.
I believe in these things SO MUCH. I know that the higher my energy and my vibrational state, the more able I am to stand in my own truth, and help other to step up and stand in theirs.
// Look after your nervous system and adrenals.
As a naturopath, I truly believe in the power of the beautiful healing herbs that we have available to us, as a natural tool for our greatest well-being. I adore herbs that take care of the nervous system and adrenals (and the hormones in general). Some of my favourites are withania (ashwaganda), licorice root, chamomile, rehmannia, passionflower, lemonbalm, lavender, skullcap and valerian. (Of course, always consult with a naturopath or herbalist to figure out which herbs are best suited to your consitution and health picture!). I also love the mineral magnesium for nervous system and adrenal support – we burn through so much of this when we’re under stress.
// Create non-negotiable chunks of alone time / downtime.
Quite often, I block off whole days or a whole weekend where I don’t make plans to do anything with anyone. I know … this may feel impossible in your hectic life, but even an hour to yourself can help so much! Do what you can to make white space in your calendar – this is how introverts recharge.
// Learn to delegate.
I find that a lot of what women do is driven by martyrdom. Who said we had to do it all, and largely by ourselves? Delegate what you can, where you can. If you don’t learn to delegate, you’re setting yourself back. This is an essential life skill – because the reality is, while we can do anything, we simply cannot do it all at once.
// Honour the fact that your life is short and sweet.
Truly, we all only get a certain number of breaths, a certain number of days and years living this amazing life. Life is so fleeting. Why waste it not being true to yourself??
Ultimately, what it comes down to for me, is this:
I don’t want my life to be fuelled by exhaustion and burnout.
I do, however, want it to be fuelled by wellness and inspiration and energy. And so, I honour all of the above, as ways to maximise my experience of life, and to be able to offer the world the best that I have.
Are you with me?
I hope that you truly acknowledge how important it is to take care of your unique, complex, and very amazing self.
All love –
Naturopath / Women’s Life Coach // Melbourne, Australia / Skype
Stay connected with me.
I work as a Naturopath + Life Coach in Melbourne, Australia, and via Skype.
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