I'm working on sharing the stories of women, including myself, who have faced extreme exhaustion in some form or another. Sadly, this is an epidemic. 21st Century Stress is a pandemic, a chronic disease we ALL seem to be suffering from. So how do we overcome it? It takes a bit of slowing down and a grand effort to rebalance. Hopefully this story from Tammi Hoerner will help inspire you!
Let's get started by jumping right in. This series is about personal stories of extreme exhaustion, and how they affect us and our lives. Unfortunately people throw around terms like "exhausted" or "burned out" like a badge of honor. When you hit a point where your energy was so low that you really considered it serious, how did you know?
My exhaustion showed up with tears and a realization I’d totally dumped out my bucket. My hair was falling out (this had happened before), I was feeling depressed, I’d lost my inspiration in my work as a coach, I just wanted to sleep - but couldn’t, and I started gaining visible belly weight and couldn’t gather enough energy to seriously develop a workout routine. I toppled when I started getting migraines weekly.
Thank you for sharing. I got inspired to ask others to share their story with exhaustion when I faced my own diagnosis of adrenal fatigue. It's a sad reality that so many people face that or have a lifestyle that is sending them down that path. After you realized you needed things to change how did you go about it?
Because I’ve been an INHC [health coach] for almost a decade, I recognized the symptoms and began first with a commitment from me that my health has to come first, I began to scale back my work. I talked with my husband, set some boundaries with others in my life, and began my journey in extreme self care. This included a visit to the doc to make sure blood work and brain are okay, then I began to hit changes in my food, sleep, boundaries, relationships, and exercise.
Was it a smooth journey?
Ha! Is this a trick question?! It still is not a smooth journey. I currently have migraines still, they are farther between. My hair is not falling out any more and I have most of my energy back. I have days I don’t care about what I eat, and days I don’t want to move, but I am getting better.
You've been through a lot. You've been to what I call "the pit of despair," where everything feels so overwhelming or demanding that you kind of want to throw in the towel. And yet I know for myself that it was not depression. Depression, of course, is its own dark place, but fatigue is different. For me, I still wanted to do the normal things... But felt like it was just too much work. What advice do you have for someone who feels fatigued or even simply worn out on an ongoing basis?
Be kind to yourself. I always felt like I was working in reverse. As I began to set boundaries, I began to keep lists of what I wanted to accomplish. I’d pick a single thing to do a day. Most of these revolved around home care and self care. I’d take one thing on and see how it went. If it went good and I felt good, I’d pick another. I’d celebrate what I did and allow myself to recover/rest afterward.
Was your weight a concern during this time in your life? If so, how did overcoming the fatigue change what was going on with your weight?
As I’ve addressed my adrenal fatigue, I’ve been able to do a lot more for my health and well being. I’ve not lost the weight I gained in numbers, but I’m able to exercise hard a solid 60 minutes and I still have energy to cook all of our meals. Slowly I’m turning all this around.
Is there anything you can say was a silver lining to the experience you had with fatigue/exhaustion?
Sure! This is a real condition, it’s not in your head, - it takes time to heal, but you can heal it. I know that if you rest, eat good food, and take time for other self care, you can get better. The human body is designed to heal itself when given the right tools. You can do it!
OK, now for a few fun questions! Where do you live and what do you do there-for work and for fun?
I am a native Coloradan. I am an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (In my 9th year!), Herbalist, and Aromatherapist who supports women in moving from undernourished and overwhelmed to living a life fulfilled with Lifestyle and Career Coaching. I homeschool, love paper crafts and fur babies, and am an advocate for green living and the planet.
What is a surprising food you just love to eat?
I love salty crunchy foods - chips and salsa are the key to my heart and the thorn in my paw. Ha!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m multi educated - I have an AAS in Graphic Design, and a Barber Stylist Diploma. (I cut hair for about two years before I gave up my scissors for a different venture).
Thank you, Tammi!
Where can people get in touch with you to learn more about you and your endeavors?
Tammi Hoerner, INHC, Dipl. MH, Aromatherapy Headpositivemom.com
With all the demands of our crazy modern world, we are very quickly disconnected from our own bodies. Despite that we hear the message "listen to your body" on a regular basis... we may not know how or even what exactly that means!!!
There are myriad reasons why we become so disconnected from our bodies. We don't typically use our bodies for our work - we use our brains. We are often living a sedentary lifestyle with a lot of sitting, so we don't get the chance to simply BE in our bodies without distraction. We drive to get places, which further takes away an opportunity to feel what is happening in our bodies in a natural part of the day through simply walking.
And then the people who are telling us to get in tune with our bodies or listen to our bodies... well they can be annoying and come off as self righteous. Yes, I realize I may be including myself in that category!
Hopefully though I can introduce to you a simplified way to listen to your body that isn't quite as obnoxious and does not involved burning nag champa incense (because I actually hate incense!)
My radical point of view is that you can stop and listen to your body at any point in time and the only thing you have to do is slow down. Take a deep breath. What hurts? That is your body talking at the most basic level.
For me, I've been at my computer for about an hour and my back is hurting. I did a trigger point massage class this morning (where I laid around and let tennis balls dig into my muscles from beneath me - hurts so good kind of thing) and I felt AMAZING all day... and now I feel like that looseness is tightening back up while I sit here typing this.
Normally, we just ignore all this information, as I am doing while I continue to type this article. However, by simply stopping to NOTICE these details, I know that I should do something else when this article is done, and NOT write the next one.
What I do next is also simple. Take a short walk, get a drink, do five minutes of stretching, or whatever, it doesn't really matter, as long as we don't keep doing what is making us hurt. This is Body Wisdom 101. Stop doing what makes your body hurt. Simple, but not easy, in fact I've heard my clients say it's "the easiest hardest thing."
Ready for your next lesson? Get your copy of Body Wisdom Journal.
I like to dabble in woo. Check out the latest of it while I tell you all about how I went from believing I had rheumatoid arthritis (wrong) to being too anemic to go get my blood drawn and confirm it (true) to finding out I had adrenal fatigue (also true)... and how all of that led me to hang up crystals in the corners of my house!!!!
Okay okay... I won't even call it a podcast. That is WAY too much pressure.
Welcome to the first episode of my AUDIO BLOG! I will tell you all kinds of things that will make your life healthier and happier...becuase the SECRET is that when you are healthier and happier, you will LOSE WEIGHT with EASE. (No pills, shakes, or diets required... but my journals will totally help you!!!!)
We all need to channel our inner angel. Open your heart and release the modern day stressors that follow us and separate us from our own inner guardian angels...
Balancing being the primary caregiver and growing a business and writing books is, well... it's tough to say the least.
Identify Your Needs
I've realized lately that I NEED time to be focused and productive. It is the reason I started a business in the first place! But even though I knew that was behind starting a business, I see that the opportunity to do my work in a focused, UNinterrupted environment is really a core need I have... and one having young kids who are only in school part of the day really impedes upon!
I struggle with how best to use my childfree time... do I take care of myself? Do I run errands (that are way easier on my own of course)? Do I try to buckle down and get my work done?
And of course, when I'm talking about just a few hours per day, those hours go FAST!!! Just making sure I exercise take up a third of that time!!! And, exercise, I've come to realize, is also a non-negotiable!!!
Of course as someone who has a lot of ambition for both my family and my business..and my self! It is really hard to take care of all three to the level that I desire.
Oh, especially without cutting into my sleep!!!!!!
Yes, it's complicated.
Observe How Things Affect You
I definitely don't have all the answers. What I find is that I can only do some of those at once.
There are time I cut into my sleep, and then realize that makes me feel shitty.
There are times I quit exercising, and then realize that makes me feel shitty.
There are times I do not focus on work, and then realize that makes me feel shitty
There are time I don't do self care, and then realize that makes me feel shitty!
The best plan I have right now is to let go of the crap I really don't care about - no clean house, no fancy meals - just tried and true recipes, no big parties. (Don't get me wrong... I LOVE PARTIES!!! I just have to put hosting them on hold for a while... I do a pool party once a year in the summer, and that is easy since all everyone does is hang out by the pool, but otherwise, they have been temporarily arrested.)
And then, honestly, I cycle through my other priorities... so I don't ignore one area entirely, I just give it up a little until I need to bring it back.
I walk instead of doing classes (until I crave the strength and yoga).
I work less (until I want to work more).
I eat cheese and crackers and carrots and dip (until I need something more grown up).
I stay up a bit too late (until I get crabby and go to bed earlier).
Well, you get the idea!
And Reality Check...
I know this isn't necessarily the most inspiring approach, but it's the most realistic. Sometimes we just need a reality check. There is so much bullshit out there about how you can have it all...and I think you can. But you can't necessarily have it all at one time, and that's ok.
Enjoy the Ebb and Flow
It's actually one reason why writing my books has been so awesome for me right now! I love the cycle of book writing. I do the writing - that usually comes in bursts of inspiration and the journals are usually written in a week or two! (My longer books sometimes come in several periods of inspiration spread out over time.)
Then, there is a period of handing a lot of work over to others... that feels great! The content is written, and it starts to transform into an actual book with the help of others!
Then the tedious finalization... I look forward to someday outsourcing this, but for now I want to have the final say so I have to be part of the last steps :)
Then... the launch! This gets exciting again and so I'm re-energized!!!
Then... time to rest... before I take on another project :)
This is something I've been thinking about lately.
Old & Sexy?
This is a subject that I've been grappling with. Ever since I had kids I've felt... well, old. I know I'm not really *that* old, but something has changed.
A big part of what I realized was going on is that I am mourning my maidenhood... our culture, our society worships being thin... but it also worships youth.
The truth is that I actually thought I was immune to the media messaging. I thought I was "above" worrying about how I looked. But the truth was that I was young, and I was on the lean side naturally. My struggles with weight were short lived, as I was forced to come to terms with my emotional eating a young age.
The truth is that I was not immune AT ALL. In fact, a lot of the messaging was deeply ingrained, and as I near 40, I come face to face with my wrinkles, my squishy, jiggly body (not youthful and taut), and it's really difficult.
What Women Are Feeling As They Reach 40
Sadly, I'm not alone. It feels very lonely to feel sad that you don't meet media's messaging about who you should be. But it's not lonely. In fact it's pretty damn highly populated over here. I speak to woman after woman who deals with these issues, whether it's weight or age or both.
Personally, I have a really high level of awareness around these emotions and thoughts, and I manage them pretty well. And it's still a work in progress! It HAS to be - we are constantly exposed to bullshit in the media that tries to tell us what we need to look like!
I work with some of the most amazing women. They are ambitious, manage a full and rich life, and I can tell you many of their amazing achievements... and I can also unfortunately tell you of how they struggle.
Let me share what some of these awesome woman have told me...
I’ve been struggling since my second child... I obsess about how my body looks... not necessarily with my weight...if I lose some weight, I think I’ll feel better... I need a positive outlook. I’m not skinny. I always had a belly... I never felt like I needed to lose weight, but always thought, "A few pounds less and I’d look better and feel better."
The good news is that P.L. also had an amazing sense of gratitude! This was a saving grace that we focused on as her personal strength!
P.L. had a humorous approach to making sure her mindset was top notch:
I don't know if it's feasible; I need mental acceptance, if I can see myself as attractive at size 14, I’ll take it! What's more feasible? Get more in my head and change my outlook... or lose the weight?
With this in mind, she prioritized her goals of body movement and made sure she built up her confidence with daily movement alongside a personal affirmation practice!
We Feel Invisible
Here's one that is so often repeated in nearly the exact same sentiment...
I’m invisible, nobody sees me anymore.
I think almost any woman approach 40 and definitely in her 50s or 60s or beyond has felt this. This is the result of a three fold situation!
1) Men from ages 15-75 pay attention to 25 year old women at disproportionate rates. Not much we can do about that, but they do notice women of all ages, I promise.
I had about a year when I was obsessed with my wrinkles!!! But after my experiment with botox, I was literally EXCITED to get my wrinkles back!!! Haha!
My client P.L. said the same thing:
It's the youth obsession. I would never consider body enhancement... but now I see myself considering it!!!!! Thinking it!!!!
Luckily she knew it was her environment talking and not her real self. She, like me and many of my clients, used mindset work to retrain her brain out of these self harming thoughts and think positive thoughts about earning her wrinkles instead!
2) We stop going putting ourselves out into the world in a way that attracts attention. We aren't dressing the same, we aren't going to the same places, and most of all we aren't putting our energy out there in that way. We're busy, and probably tired. The answer here is deep self care and some time being a bit naughty with fun girlfriends!
E.D. identified this issue for herself:
I have a hard time to carve out time for myself. I don't have much me time... I’m always running out of time; food is the last thing I put on my schedule... water, coffee, toast, I used to eat smoothies in the morning... I don't have time to make it. I don't have time... I need to schedule ten minute to eat something healthy.
What was her answer? This is where my logistical approach to meal planning and preparation (sometimes I call them pre-decisions) was the way to save the day. She treated every day like a work day and was able to prepare her food in advance and start making these changes!
3) We lose our confidence. This is a result of f*cked up societal messaging, but we CAN overcome it, just like P.L. did!!!
I have felt this, and so has A.Y. She said:
I want validation with myself! I want to be happy. It's hard. How I feel strong at work, in my relationship, in my sex life... right now it's not happening...
She really called it out! When we feel bad about ourselves it affects EVERYTHING in our lives! And when we can boost ourselves up into a place of confidence, it also affects everything in our lives... in a good way! Even our problems become more manageable and we are able to act from a place of confidence in crisis.
How Our Inner Goddess Can Help Us
I like to look at our lives through the lens of the inner goddess. In many stories, there is one character (or sometimes several characters) who represent the arc of a woman's life: Baby, child, maiden, mother, grandmother, crone. Most of our adult life happens as maiden, mother, and grandmother.
But unfortunately our media tells us that the only one of those worth celebrating is the maiden. So of course it's a bitter pill to swallow when we leave that phase of our life behind. And it's ok to mourn the loss of your maiden (which happens more with age than actual motherhood, though both can trigger it). But it's not ok to stay in mourning of this transition.
And the truth is that, just like the stories, we actually have all of those inside of us all of our life, it's just that we don't have access to them. But once you've lived the various parts, you can actually tap into them easier. I'll be honest, it's swimming upstream because of how the media portrays women. But it's time.
It's time to embrace the mother and the grandmother. It's time to allow for love, sensuality, and yes even sexuality to belong to a woman at any age! It's time to celebrate our wisdom and our wrinkles as hard earned badges that we can and should be proud of!
Is old the new sexy? I don't know, but it definitely should be!
Do you want some personalized help to channel your inner goddess for balance and wellbeing? Check out my Inner Goddess Habit Coaching!
How getting in touch with your inner queen goddess can help you boost your confidence, lose weight, give up the yoyo approach to health, and make sustainable changes that last!
Get your copy of the "Emotional Eating Detox" guided journal AND get free support videos as well!
Hera in the Myths
Hera is usually represented as somewhat jealous and vengeful. However, it is interesting because she is most often in reaction to her husband having an affair with other goddesses or mortal.... not exactly a fair context to view her in.
Hera knows what she wants. When you channel your inner Hera, you learn to trust yourself and to know what YOU want, too! By becoming more mindful you can learn to trust yourself and build you own inner confidence.
Hera in Your Life
Channelling your inner Hera is the opposite of going on a diet! It is using mindfulness to KNOW what you want, and using mindful eating to make sure you are not using food as a short term fix for other issues.
Hera in Balance
When HERA is IN balance, you can experience both her feminine and masculine power, essentially your own intuition AND your confidence in going for what you want! You know what you want, and you trust yourself. With food, you can APPROPRIATELY enjoy food and indulgences alongside other healthy foods AND good company, and your inner Hera can do her job in peace.
Sign up for the "Emotional Eating Detox," eat the foods you love AND channel your inner Hera!
I wanted to share a few books that I have loved over the years! These are books that I have been going to for years, and keep enjoying them every time. They go right in line with my forthcoming book, The Kitchen Witch, and will inspire you in ritual and cooking alike!
This book gives many specific recipes and instructions on how to make a wide variety of teas, for health and pleasure. I mean who doesn't love tea? (Dude, if you are saying "me," then it might be hard to be friends!)
Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
This encyclopedic book on healing is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Okay, it may not really have an "inspiring" feel - it's a bit of a tome, but it is SO full of useful information and is like an intro course to healing with whole foods based on the philosophies of health in Chinese Medicine.
The Language of Flowers
This is a very small book, but lists the traditional European meanings of various flowers and plants. It is so fun to read and get inspiration on what the flowers say when you pick them or give them!
The Herbal Healing Deck
I'm obsessed with this deck of oracle cards! I LOVE the artwork and the insights are always helpful. It's been a powerful way for me to connect with plant energy and think about plant spirits and just connect with plants! I'm not much of a green thumb, so I'd rather think of them in their wild habitat! Haha.
The Aromatherapy Handbook
This is the best resource I have found on uses for essential oils. The book details various ways to use essential oils for therapeutic aromatherapy, as well health, cleaning, and gift giving, among others. It is an awesome reference book and makes it so easy to make healthy oils and beauty products.
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I help busy, ambitious women connect their food to their desires & overcome emotional eating in a non-judgmental, supportive environment.