Monday, March 09, 2009

Running on Empty, Kicking the Adrenaline habit

Recently while researching relaxation exercises for my class, I came across The Art of Extreme Self-Care, by Cheryl Richardson. I had not read her before, and found the book extremely beneficial. Here are a few tips excerpted from it, adapted by me:

Let go of being General Manager of the Universe – or the Overarching Boss of Everything. Be open to receiving help, and to asking for help when you need it. This models good behaviour for your children, releases resentment at having to ‘do it all’, and lifts the weight of the world off your shoulders. (I had to break my leg before I accepted that I couldn’t do it all alone, and asked my husband for help. Don’t wait for that to happen!)

Make a list of What You Can Do to support me, and decide together where you will leave it for family members or spouse to find it. You will have to let go of controlling how and when it is done, and be ready to accept their way of doing things. Folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, chopping veggies for supper, feeding the cats - start with the small things.

Make an Absolute No List: for instance, I no longer rush,. I no longer start the day without meditation or yoga; I no longer keep anything in my home that I don’t need or want.

Turn down the Noise in Your Life: protect your sensitivity with silence; limit your exposure to bad news on TV, in newspapers, on the radio.

Alongside the tips for Self-care on the bookshelf was Take Time for Your Life, also by the same author. In it is an exercise or little quiz to find out if you are an adrenaline junkie, plus some tips for kicking the adrenaline habit:

Kicking the Adrenaline Habit: (fight or flight syndrome)

Living on the next adrenaline rush creates a constant hum of anxiety in the body and ultimately exhausts you. Check the following statements to find out if this applies to you:

- Do you repeatedly check your email or voice mail throughout the day?
- Do you put things off to the last minute, use tight deadlines to get things done?
- Do you frequently speed when driving?
- Do you always feel pressed for time?
- Do you juggle several projects at once?
- Do you wake in the middle of the night, with thoughts racing, unable to sleep?
- Do you often forget to follow through on commitments?
- Do you double-book social engagements or appointments?
- Are you usually late for appointments?

Helpful pointers: (and note that it’s a hard habit to break)

Arrive 15 minutes early for every appointment. Write it in your agenda for earlier, and block out more time between appointments.

Stop trying to cram several things into one small space of time. This causes stress and is inefficient.

Adopt a regular Relaxation Practice on a daily basis, i.e. take a long bath with candles and music; Hang a Do Not Disturb sign on the door; Listen to guided relaxation tape before bed;

Eliminate interruptions and distractions by turning ringer off the phone, turning off the TV, putting your number on the Do Not Call list (telemarketers won’t call), clear up junk and visual clutter from your relaxation space.

Do Not Spread yourself too thin. Learn to say No and disappoint people, gently.

Be prepared for feeling antsy or bored as you shift to a calm, peaceful energy from rushing all the time. If you feel uncomfortable, you’re on the right track. Adrenaline keeps you disconnected from your feelings, the thing that makes life rich.

Most importantly, get support from a coach, friends, or group (ie women’s circle or class).

have a peaceful day,

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