Listen to your fatigue.
Exhaustion is an important message from our bodies, emotions, and spirits. Western thinking and cultural practices treat fatigue, at best, as an inconvenience. Such thinking is a mistake and particularly problematic for highly sensitive people.
What Fatigue Does For Us
All living things need renewal to be healthy. If we do not make time for renewal, we are depleting and ultimately destroying ourselves by ignoring a natural part of the life cycle.
Unfortunately, we humans have been operating this way with ourselves and the environment for a long time as if people and the environment are simply part of a larger factory system. One of the consequences is the growing numbers of sick people on the planet.
Highly sensitive people are fortunate to be holistic, not linear or mechanistic thinkers. But HSP’s need to protect themselves from the linear, mechanistically organized world of production capitalism which is destructive for their health.
On a personal level, most of us can cope with a certain amount of fatigue and not feel too debilitated. We may not be at our best, but on occasion, that may be an acceptable compromise. However, how we handle that short-term fatigue can have serious impacts.
Most short term solutions for fatigue are nothing more than one form of stimulant or another:
- stimulants like coffee and sugar snacks throw the body further off balance, and create a temporary boost while depleting us later. It’s a kind of deficit spending for the body.
- working harder is another often used approach. Many people have to work long hours that are not really suited to their natures. One Ayurvedic doctor told me that working six hours a day was considered far superior for health and more natural for us than our current culture of long hours and 24/7 availability.
- distraction can help us pump ourselves up. Loud music and entertainment can create a high of sorts but it is mentally induced, not actually restful and may negatively affect the nervous systems of highly sensitive people.
- food is a frequent choice for helping with fatigue and actually a rational one since food supports our health and ability to function. Unfortunately, one of the challenges extremely busy people have is that much of our food supply is processed and full of all sorts of chemicals as well as corn syrup and other ingredients that increase weight and act as stimulants to the body. Fatigue can therefore contribute to weight issues. Processed food also increases the clogging of our bodies that Ayurveda calls “ama”, the creator of imbalance and disease.
Fatigue is important information that needs to be listened to. From a process point of view, it can provide valuable information about how to manage ourselves and our work that can support long-term effectiveness. It can help us learn how to pace ourselves. All of the unhealthy ways we have of handling fatigue in the short term affect our perseverance and staying power in the long term, because they take a weakened state of being tired fatigue, and make it worse. Over a long period of time, inevitable chronic problems will develop.
Ayurveda takes a different approach to healing exhaustion – it recommends strategies based on the type of fatigue: mental, emotional or physical. MAPI, the premier US site for Ayurveda has a great article on Wiping Away Fatigue and offers some tips and case histories of how some individuals were able to recover from fatigue.
Highly sensitive people have an additional problem in that their sensitivity and conscientiousness will add to their work burden and make them more easily tired. An HSP with stress or other disorders will have even greater chances of becoming tired easily. By taking poor fatigue handling strategies off the table and working with the body’s nature, HSP’s start to level the playing field on fatigue management.
Because of their sensitivity, highly sensitive people have a chance to let fatigue become a wonderful early warning sign for them to protect their health and enable them to be at their best.
To learn more about your body type or dosha: