HIT RE­SET

AS THE END OF THE YEAR AP­PROACHES, IT’S HARD NOT TO GET BURNT OUT. NATUR­OPATH ANTHIA KOULLOUROS OF­FERS AD­VICE FOR RE­CLAIM­ING YOUR HEALTH (AND SAN­ITY) THIS SPRING.

Country Style - - HEALTH AND BEAUTY -

It’s hard to ad­mit that you’re burn­ing out. It’s even harder when you’re a spokesper­son for health, well­be­ing and balance. Yet here I am, a should-know-bet­ter natur­opath strug­gling with my own ver­sion of burnout. I’m over­worked, tired, full of self-doubt. I’ve bit­ten offff more than I can chew and put the needs of oth­ers be­fore my own. I’ve lost con­nec­tion to that wise voice deep in­side that keeps me in check. Why am I telling you this? Not to ap­peal for sym­pa­thy, but to offf­fer sol­i­dar­ity. If you’re feel­ing stressed, fraz­zled, on the brink of burnout and won­der­ing how you’ll make it to the end of the year, rest as­sured you’re not alone. Even health pro­fes­sion­als aren’t im­mune to fall­ing out of kil­ter. The worst part is, af­ter 25 years of clin­i­cal prac­tice, I’m all too fa­mil­iar with the con­se­quences of long-term stress. I’ve seen it un­der­mine bril­liant peo­ple, those who are de­ter­mined to push past their lim­its and run on adren­a­line. Re­cently, one of my clients passed away. Af­ter two weeks of headaches she was hos­pi­talised and died of a brain tu­mour. She’d been in­cred­i­bly stressed about her busi­ness lead­ing up to that point, and while can­cer is un­pre­dictable and in­dis­crim­i­nate, her stress lev­els most cer­tainly re­duced her re­silience and abil­ity to re­cover from surgery. Sadly, her story brings our cul­ture of fre­netic pro­duc­tiv­ity and suc­cess-at-all-costs into harsh per­spec­tive.

What can you do to ad­dress burnout to­day?

The good news is that spring rep­re­sents the per­fect time to nip burnout in the bud, a chance to re­set, reimag­ine the ev­ery­day and bloom. Make a plan for bet­ter health be­fore the year is out, seek­ing wis­dom in na­ture, re­align­ing with the sea­sons and har­ness­ing the power of herbal medicine and qual­ity nu­tri­tion.

Is burnout just a feel­ing or a real con­di­tion?

Con­di­tions with a strong psy­cho­log­i­cal com­po­nent, that is ‘feel­ing’ over­whelmed, anx­ious or not-quite-right, tend to take a back­seat to more vis­i­ble ones. We be­lieve some­thing is wrong when we see it — a rash, wound or mea­sur­able dys­func­tion — but eas­ily dis­miss those linked to emo­tions. How­ever, stress and burnout are real ill­nesses with se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for hu­man health. Burnout is some­times called ‘adrenal fa­tigue’. The sci­en­tifific term is ‘HPA axis dys­reg­u­la­tion’ (that stands for the hy­po­thal­a­mus, pi­tu­itary and adrenal glands) and is es­sen­tially the fail­ure of a del­i­cate hor­monal feed­back loop that can be thrown out by sleep dis­rup­tion, chronic stress, poor life­style choices and sub-par nu­tri­tion. Th­ese are chem­i­cal hap­pen­ings in the body, not imag­i­nary com­plaints.

Could you be at risk of burnout? Know th­ese signs.

Many pa­tients I see on the brink of burnout say they feel drained and empty, emo­tion­ally ex­hausted and un­able to cope. They feel tired, flflat and have a short fuse. Get­ting out of bed is a strug­gle and they dream of swad­dling them­selves in blan­kets and sleep­ing for a week. But they might fifind it hard to fall or stay asleep. Ex­er­cise be­comes a her­culean efff­fort for peo­ple sufff­fer­ing from burnout, leav­ing their body sore for days. Their li­bido is in hiding, they can’t think straight, im­mune func­tion is low and they catch every­thing ‘go­ing around’. (Note: The symp­toms of burnout and de­pres­sion are sim­i­lar. Be mind­ful not to self-di­ag­nose, seek pro­fes­sional sup­port to en­sure you re­ceive the right treat­ment.)

How to re­store balance, en­ergy and health nat­u­rally.

If you’re nod­ding and bit­ing your nails over the above signs and symp­toms, take com­fort in the fact that there are sur­pris­ingly sim­ple ways to de-stress and sync with the sea­sons, help­ing you take na­ture’s lead and bloom. This spring, choose self-care over stress and herbal teas over take-away. Re­set by re­turn­ing to the ba­sics; a sim­ple daily rhythm and cues from na­ture. >

RECIPE FOR RE­COV­ERY

Daily self-care isn’t in­dul­gent, it’s im­per­a­tive. This daily rou­tine aims to ground you, build­ing a foun­da­tion for ex­cel­lent health. It may seem sim­ple, but the best things al­ways are. Nour­ish your­self by re­plac­ing pro­cessed, pack­aged, nu­tri­ent-de­void foods with fresh, or­ganic, sea­sonal foods. Don’t go too long be­tween meals and eat in a re­laxed state. Hy­drate with healthy flflu­ids in the form of non-cafff­feinated herbal teas and clean wa­ter. Min­imise cofff­fee and al­co­hol. Sleep early and wake early. Aim for 10pm to 6am to re­set your cir­ca­dian rhythms (your body’s phys­i­cal, men­tal and be­havioural pro­cesses, which roughly fol­low a 24-hour cy­cle). Move your body gen­tly with daily walks and yoga or adopt med­i­ta­tion — it’s pow­er­ful! Start small and work up to 20 min­utes, twice a day. There’s a quote I like by Amer­i­can au­thor, ther­a­pist and yoga ex­pert, An­odea Ju­dith, that says: “Without ground­ing, we are un­sta­ble, we lose our cen­tre, flfly offff the han­dle, get swept offff our feet, or day­dream in a fan­tasy world. We lose our abil­ity to con­tain, to have or to hold. Nat­u­ral ex­cite­ment, or charge, be­comes dis­si­pated, di­luted and in­efff­fec­tual. When we lose our ground, our at­ten­tion wan­ders from the present mo­ment, and we ap­pear to be ‘not all here’. How­ever, when we are grounded, we are hum­ble… We can em­brace still­ness, so­lid­ity, and clar­ity, ‘ground­ing out’ the stresses of ev­ery­day life, and in­creas­ing the vi­tal­ity of our ba­sic life force.” Bathe in nat­u­ral sun­light for a boost of en­er­gis­ing and im­mune-bal­anc­ing vi­ta­min D. Learn to re­solve emo­tional con­flflict and deal with fear. De­velop aware­ness, in­sight and skills al­low­ing you to weather life’s chal­lenges. Seek sup­port from a qual­i­fi­fied psy­chother­a­pist, coun­sel­lor or psy­chol­o­gist. Har­ness na­ture’s phar­macy. Herbs pos­sess an ar­ray of anti-in­flflam­ma­tory, calm­ing, de-stress­ing, an­tiox­i­dant and pain-re­liev­ing prop­er­ties — and taste de­li­cious. Even the rit­ual of mak­ing tea, with a whistling ket­tle, favourite teapot and loose-leaf herb, de­mands mind­ful­ness and a mo­ment of re­pose. Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the hum­ble cup of tea.

ANTHIA’S FAVOURITE HERBAL TEAS

Dose: one tea­spoon of herb per cup of boiled wa­ter, three times a day. Steep light herbs such as leaves and flflow­ers for 1–3 min­utes. Ro­bust and hardy herbs such as roots and seeds may be steeped for 3–5 min­utes. Choose one or more herbs per day, blended to­gether or en­joyed as sin­gle teas. Lemon myr­tle leaf ( Back­hou­sia cit­ri­odora). With an­ti­fun­gal and an­timi­cro­bial prop­er­ties, this herb may alle­vi­ate up­per re­s­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions — for those times you’re plagued by on­go­ing, stress-re­lated ill­ness. Rooi­bos leaf ( As­palathus lin­earis). Ei­ther the red or green rooi­bos may be used for its an­tiox­i­dant prop­er­ties and to re­duce ner­vous ten­sion and al­ler­gies. Zizy­phus ju­juba ( Zizy­phus spinosa). This fruit has tra­di­tion­ally been used to re­lieve anx­i­ety, ner­vous ex­haus­tion and ir­ri­tabil­ity. It helps with in­som­nia caused by stress. Li­corice root ( Gly­cyrrhiza glabra). Li­corice may help the mind and body bet­ter adapt to phys­i­cal and emo­tional stress. It also has anti-in­flflam­ma­tory and sooth­ing prop­er­ties for ir­ri­tated re­s­pi­ra­tory and di­ges­tive sys­tems. Ash­wa­gandha root ( Witha­nia som­nifera). Tra­di­tion­ally used to im­prove men­tal and phys­i­cal en­ergy. Holy basil leaf ( Oci­mum sanc­tum). This leaf is con­sid­ered help­ful for al­le­vi­at­ing the symp­toms of de­pres­sion and stress. Pep­per­mint leaf ( Men­tha piperita). For those who need as­sis­tance with di­ges­tion, to ease Ibs-type symp­toms, cool the con­sti­tu­tion and gen­tly pro­mote liver cleans­ing. Chamomile flower ( Chamomilla re­cu­tita). This flower is of­ten used to help re­duce in­flflam­ma­tion and itches, and to calm an over­ac­tive ner­vous sys­tem. Laven­der ( La­van­dula an­gus­ti­fo­lia). A tra­di­tional herbal medicine that’s used to alle­vi­ate anx­i­ety and headaches. Lemon balm ( Melissa of­fic­i­nalis). A de­li­cious herb used to re­lieve mus­cle pain, headaches, Ibs-type symp­toms as well as the symp­toms of melan­cho­lia and anx­i­ety. Un­cer­tain which herbs are best for you? Seek ex­pert ad­vice from a qual­i­fi­fied natur­opath or herbal­ist. They will also en­sure your med­i­ca­tion, sup­ple­ments or dis­ease state does not neg­a­tively in­ter­act with your herbs of choice. For more in­for­ma­tion or to con­tact Anthia, visit ovvioor­gan­ics.com.au

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