We all know that life is tough when you are suffering with Adrenal Fatigue or CFS, it’s even tougher when you are trying to hold down a full time job at the same time.
I was fortunate to be able to take 8 months off to focus on my recovery and it was the best thing I ever did for myself, however I know this is not feasible for everyone. For most of us we still have mortgages, rent and bills to pay and let’s face it, recovery is freaking expensive with food, supplements, health coaches, and holistic therapies, all of which are necessary to facilitate healing.
When I returned to work I was still not feeling 100% and I had to employ a number of strategies to help me get through the working week so I thought I would share 5 of the big ones with you…
1. Pre-prepped healthy meals
After a full days work most of us are tired with or without Adrenal Fatigue or CFS. and the last thing we want to do is cook a healthy meal, we want to go for something quick and easy which is not always healthy and nurturing to our bodies. Pre prepping nutritious, healthy meals saved the day for me.
I would cook up large meals on the weekend usually easy things such as a big pot of soup, fritatta’s, stews and roasts which would last me all week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was great as I had lunch all ready to go each day and when I got home, completely exhausted most days, all I had to do was re-heat my dinner and relax.
This is something I still try to do, it sets me up for a healthy week. Good quality nutrition is mandatory when recovering, even more important when trying to manage full time work as well, your body needs the extra nourishment that convenience food often doesn’t offer, it’s also much cheaper.
2. Wardrobe organisation
Managing stress is crucial when in recovery and one of the most stressful things of our day can be rushing around trying to find clothes to wear, getting ready and getting to work on time.
Again on my weekends I would set out at least 3-4 days worth of clothes ready to go. It meant that getting ready for work in the mornings was easy as the clothes were all laid out for me and it took half the time, creating an easy, stress free experience.
3. Morning routine
Morning routines are so underrated!!
The way you start your day is a good indicator of how your day will pan out. If you are rushed and stressed when you start your day, your body is already in the sympathetic nervous system and draining precious energy trying to manage your fight or flight.
I used to set the alarm for the latest possible time, press snooze a few times, then drag myself out of bed and rush to get ready in 45 minutes, grabbing breakfast and lunch on the go, it was putting so much stress on my body and mindset.
When I introduced a morning routine, I found that even though I started my day an hour earlier, so less sleep, (which is so so precious when you have so little energy) I had more energy and managed to get soo much more done with only just one extra hour. A bit like a warm up for a workout, a morning routine is a necessary step for peak performance during the day.
My daily routine consists of something like this;
15 mins Wake & Hydrate (Shaz's Detox Tea www.sharonleigh.com.au/healingrecipes)
30 - 45mins Movement – a walk outside or some light Yoga stretching & meditation
30 mins Healthy Breakfast – sets me up with energy for the day
30 mins Walk to work listening to my favorite songs
All of the above activities activate my feel good hormones, which give me more energy to get through my day.
4. Evening showers or baths
I have to take a shower or bath every evening, for me it is a way of washing off the stress and negative energy of the day and resetting my entire body.
Standing under the shower I can quite literally feel the stress washing off my body, It is one of my favorite parts of the day. Some nights I will have an epsom salt bath with candles and meditation music which has the same effect. It activates my parasympathetic nervous system and puts my body in a state of rest and recovery.
After a stressful day having to meet deadlines, deal with difficult people etc etc, its really important to activate the para sympathetic nervous system to help counteract the stressors of the day.
5. Weekend Recovery
Weekend Recovery is so extremely important. You really need to give your body the downtime to rest and restore.
For the first 5-6 months after returning to work I really didn’t have much left in the tank for socialising at all. I tried to keep some contact with friends as it can get quite isolating and lonely during recovery, but I really kept this to minimum to conserve my energy.
It’s normal to feel completely wiped after a week of work, most Saturdays I would literally spend on the sofa in my jim jams watching movies and resting. I also needed my weekends to clean the house, prep my meals and get my wardrobe ready for the next week as I didn’t have enough energy to come home from a days work, clean the house, cook dinner and all the rest of it, I just couldn’t manage it. It’s a little boring but I think it really saved me in the first few months adjusting back to work and still managing recovery.
A few times I did get a cleaner in as I just didn’t have the energy to do it myself, although this is an added expense, it was highly worth it so I could focus my time and energy on resting and healing when I wasn’t working.
My routine has not changed much from this since, except that I now have the energy to add some triathlon training into my week and some socialising with friends. I do however still need those weekends in my jim jams on occasion when I have had a busy week and pushed the envelope a bit too much.
Organisation really is key, whether you have Adrenal Fatigue or not, setting yourself up for success during the week can create magic results. I find on the weeks that I am not organised and not in my routine, I just don’t feel as good, nor do I get as much done and I go a bit downhill again.