Sick and tired of being sick and tired?



Is being unwell is a natural hazard of being alive?

Is sickness a natural event that we should all expect?

Is tiredness par for the course?


Well - yes...

But the point is, to what degree?

And when is too much, too much?

Cycles of Stress & Rest

It is natural for our bodies to undergo times of work, times of rest, times of action and times of reflection.


It is natural that our bodies engage different hormones and that our organs function differently, depending upon what it is we are doing, or experiencing.


However, it is also natural that our bodies should undergo change as a part of everyday rhythms - the ups and downs of daily life are meant to allow us to move unhindered from activities which cause us 'stress', to activities that allow us to 'rest and repair'.


This is the natural order of things right? - we see it in the progression of day to night, from winter to summer and back again.


But that is the point - these are not just examples of opposites (good/bad, day/night, black/white, healthy/unhealthy) but the natural order of things is that there is a cycle of different experiences. We are meant to move from one to another, but to do so in a seamless and ongoing cyclic loop.


This is the lesson we can observe and learn from nature...our best teacher!


Our bodies are constantly under 'stress': anything that requires us to move, to act, to think is initiated by our need to do something. Muscles move because their fibres contract, due to stress, which in turn calls out to our bodies to provide extra 'energy', provided by glucose or fat metabolism and the conversion of different hormones that signal a state of 'stress' to the whole biology of the body.


When our muscle fibres relax, the requirement for energy reserves and activating hormones diminishes and our body creates different signals that will allow the muscle fibres to be replenished and repaired.


However, the balance must be observed: as too much muscle fibre stress may cause the build up of excessive muscle fibre, whereas too little may cause muscle 'wastage'. So we require a balance of 'just enough stress' to build healthy levels of muscle fibres, followed by 'just enough rest'.


Examples of natural stresses in our everyday lives are many and varied, and may include things like running for a bus when we are late, or preparing for a presentation in the office. Facing our fears or worries, such as pondering on whether our 16 year old will be safe whilst staying out late at night, or whether we can meet a work project deadline, or pay the mortgage this month!

As already mentioned, examples of rest and repair are more common in our night time resting period, getting good sleep is essential for our body to be able to rest and repair fully. But other ways include meditation, yoga, dancing, music or engaging in an activity that will allow us to let off steam (such as a sport or martial arts). Finding ways to explore creativity is another good example of how we can engage in activities that allow our body to rest and repair.


All of these 'stress' and 'rest' activities exist on a spectrum - allowing us to find exactly the right outlet in order to keep our mind, body and spirit in balance!

And that is the important aspect for each of us - it is to find the BALANCE that allows us to move easily between states of both stress and rest.

Unfortunately in todays fast paced and erratic World, where we are all made to feel that we should be available 24/7 and where it is made increasingly difficult for us to disconnect from work, social media or artificial time constructs - our bodies are losing their natural rhythms and we are slowly 'forgetting' how to take time and move in time with the natural rhythm of life. With TV and other entertainment available 24/7, with electric street lights that emit artificial lights throughout periods when we would naturally have been in darkness and with other electrical gadgets keeping us up and actively engaged in 'busy-ness' well beyond the time constraints that the natural world revolves around - it is not surprising that or biology may sometimes struggle to appoint the right 'down time' by literally 'turning the lights off' in our mind and sending out the appropriate messages for sleep.


As we lose this natural ability to self-regulate and move into down-time, our bodies remain in a state of ongoing, heightened stress and we become discombobulated - our mind, our body and our emotions take the toll!


This is why sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture.

​We are, most of us, engaged in high pressure jobs, with pressures placed upon us from our employers, or our bosses. Or we are engaged in putting high pressure on ourselves - trying to be successful, or building our own 'empire' - whether that be our own business, or our homes. We are engaged in high stake activities that demand much more of us than ever before!

This is when stress can easily get the better of us.

Our natural bodies are created to deal with and adapt to high pressure, stressful activities. Our whole body 'switches on' and helps us to get things done, by increasing adrenal activity, by burning glucose and metabolising energy stores within the body. Our heart rate increases and our blood pressure increases - all in an attempt to allow us to function at a higher than normal rate. It is amazing really! Our inner biology has a whole host of activities that it employs to ensure we meet the stress we are facing head on - and it works overtime to help us 'win over' the situation!

However, when that stress is ongoing, or we have many many different ongoing stresses in various areas of our life. When we are continually in a state of stress, and never find time to truly relax. Adding in that we often give ourself too little time to sleep, and that as soon as we awaken, we switch straight into stress mode once again...it is little surprise that our bodies begin to show signs of wear and tear!


Sickness

One of the biggest issues to business is sickness - with losses of ....

  • hours

  • productivity

  • income / profit

We are used to hearing phrases like "time is money", or "I don't have time to waste".

How many decisions are we making based on our energy levels, or our health; and how much of what we can or cannot do is based on how much time it will take, and how much time we have..?

Health Care Under Pressure