ACEs and how they impact Chronic Fatigue recovery

What are Adverse Childhood Experiences?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are event or experiences where a child is powerless to respond to what is happening to them or around them.

Most people can understand the impact that big-T trauma like sexual abuse, emotional and physical abuse, war and tragic events can have.  We are now begining to understand how devestating small-T trauma can be.

There is growing body of research that demonstrates how closely connected ACEs are to health and wellbeing in adulthood – if you want to learn more, I can recommend the acestoohigh.com website.

Survival mode

Feeling angry

I am concerned specifically with the connection that ACEs have to chronic fatigue.  Interestingly, it’s not so much the events themselves that are the issue, but rather the way that we feel at the time.  The emotional element is the piece of information that gets stored within the reptillian part of our brain during childhood.  This is because the more advance areas of the brain are still under development.

From a survival point of view, this makes perfect sense.  Storing the “gut feeling” element of a situation is a way of coding that allows our brain to very quickly pattern match.  Anytime we experience that similar feeling again, our subconscious recognises it as something that has already been responded to in the past.  That recognitions then sets in motion a series of chemical reactions that prepare the body for action.

How are ACEs and Chronic Fatigue linked?

This is all fine and dandy if we are experiencing something happy and positive.  It’s also brilliant for survival if we are in danger.  The fight or flight mechanism is engaged and we are primed to do what we need to do to get out danger.  In these circumstances, the burst of activity either resolves the dangerous situation, or it doesn’t. Either way, the impact of the fight or flight response is for a relatively short period of time.  After which, the body either settles back to normality or it doesn’t need to (because we didn’t survive the danger!)

It’s not so great if our subconscious is constantly hitting the panic button.  This could be happening because somewhere in the past our mind has stored an Adverse Childhood Experience or a series of ACEs.   We could be in a situation where our brain is constantly pattern matching feelings of worry, anxiety, fear with memories from childhood and then triggering red alerts throughout the day.

Body exhaustion

Exhausted
Had enough!

From an internal body chemistry point of view, this is totally exhausting.  Our fight ot flight mechanism is only supposed to be active for a short period of time.  It should then switched off while normal rest and digest functioning manages our body in a “normal” state.

So, how does knowing this help beat chronic fatigue?!

Well, over the years, The Chryslais Effect have noticed that it is extremely common for people with chronic fatigue to describe many of the following in their past

  • difficult relationships within the family
  • controlling or critical parents/grandparents
  • bullying or teasing by parents, sibling, school mates or teachers
  • witnessing violence within the home
  • living with people who had alcohol or drug use issues
  • absence of parent(s) through divorce or prison

These are common examples of adverse childhood experiences.

Not everyone who experiences these situations will develop a chronic fatigue illness.  Research has shown however that the likelihood of ill health is much higher than that of someone who did not experience any.

The “A” Type Personality

We find chronic fatigue conditions are much more common when the following traits are present, for example, if the person

  • has an “A” Type personality (high achievers, quite driven to succeed, perfectionists, like to be in control)
  • has high expectations of themself
  • is highly sensitive
  • lives in their heads a lot (to do lists, always thinking and planning)
  • has perhaps felt like a “fish out of water” when with family, school friends or work colleagues.

It can appear a bit baffling because, in and of themselves, the traits and the ACEs don’t seem like massive things.  But together, they can combine to leave us totally exhausted i.e. chronically fatigued.

Let’s say, you agree with everything I have written above – where does it get you in terms of recoevry from M.E, Fibromyalgia or CFS?!

Find you way
Find the path to recovery

The path to recovery…

It gives us a starting point and a path to follow.  If subconscious triggering of ACEs is part of the fatigue story, then we need to find ways of interupting the subconscious pattern.  This starts with raising awareness of:

  1. which feelings being experienced now, in the present
  2. which feelings that are being triggered from childhood, and finally,
  3. how to take conscious control of the impact on the body.

Over and above this, we have to understand how our A Type personality might be aggravating the situation.  By pushing to achieve more, to do it to the very best of our abilities and to be perfect we take more our our bodies than they have left to give.

Reality is, there isn’t a quick fix here.  Recovery from chronic fatigue requires some time to unpick and understand ourselves.  It also requires us to make some changes, based on what we discover along the way.  These changes allow us to live in a way that suits our body and our personality.

I am always happy to chat with anyone looking for a way to get their life back from chronic fatigue – contact me now to arrange a free 30 minute Health Profile Review – www.reconnectingyou.co.uk

Health Kinesiologist Suzanne Smith

Trauma, Valentines Day and ME

Jump back to 1990

It’s 14th February 1990, and I am sitting at my desk at Courtaulds in Coventry, on placement for a year.  A minor trauma is about to unfold.

Mid-morning, I am working on my computer (massive screen, huge desktop box, computing capacity miniscule compared to current tech!) when all of a sudden the letters on my screen started to fall down the page. As they fall, they turn into hearts.  I stare in disbelief as rows upon row of  little hearts assemble at the bottom of the screen.

Trauma?  Or Aww?

“Awww” you might think, or perhaps “how sweet”.

I can not explain to you the level of panic I experienced and the absolute dread that my work, weeks worth of effort, was lost and gone forever.  The worst bit was that I couldn’t stop it – nothing on my keyboard worked!

To this day, I do not know if this was a practical joke or a virus that had infected my pc.   If it was a prank, no one owned up to it.  It would have been a relief if they had, because I would reassured that all would be ok.  Instead, I was first paralysed then frantic as I tried to work out what to do about these little hearts!

As it happens, I ended up having to switch my pc off and then back on.  I can remember that it took what felt like forever to open up again and that I spent that whole time just on the edge of a full blown meltdown!

So why did I think of this today?

Funnily enough, I had not thought about this for years and for some reason it popped into my head this morning.  It was accompanied with two thoughts;

  • This is why I begin to panic whenever I have something techie goes wrong with my laptop or phone
  • I really don’t enjoy Valentine’s Day

What I know now is that both of these events trigger my body into a highly anxious state because of the trauma (with a small-t) of that day.  The panic and dread that I experienced nearly 30 years ago has been stored, encoded, deep within my brain.  Every time I have a problem with my tech, and each Valentine’s Day, my brain fishes out the memory of 14 Feb 1990 and pushes the panic button!

I cannot tell you how much of a relief it is to finally understand all of this.  Imagine spending all those years being grumpy about Valentine’s Day without having the foggiest clue as to why!  I assumed that I was perhaps just a bit of a miserable so-and-so who had a downer on a day that so many other people seemed to enjoy.  In other words, I took on the blame because it was the only way I could make sense of my feelings.

If I am honest, I never considered my reaction to tech issues being linked to anything.  Again, it’s a relief to be able to put my reaction into perspective and understand that it’s driven by this incident.  Next time it happens, I will be able to interrupt the panic and put things into perspective.

It was a funny thing (just didn’t see it at the time)

Looking back, I can see that this was a funny thing that happened to m.  I have been able to join some dots and understand that  the feelings and reactions I experience now relate to something that happened years ago.  It’s only now that I have been able to understand the implications.

I have this clarity now around the incident because of the work I do with people living with ME, Fibromyalgia and CFS.  There is a strong link between chronic fatigue conditions, trauma and stress within the body.  There are many reasons why a person may be experiencing high levels of stress.  These may include our jobs, relationships, financial worries, poor nutrition, to name a few.  We tend to be conscious of these  because there is an obvious cause (a stressful job, for example) and effect on health (high blood pressure, lack of sleep, anxiety, short temper etc. etc.).

But there can be more subtle, subconscious stressors that are associated with memories of past experiences.  As you can see from my story, joining the dots is not always about some big traumatic event.  In a lot of cases, it’s about regular, everyday stuff – trauma with a small t.  Whatever emotions you experience in (literally) any situation where you feel powerless can become encoded.

These encoded memories can be triggered by things happening in the here and now, leading to significant health issues.  By helping clients to join their own dots, I support them in learning more about their subconscious triggers.

M.E join the dots
Understand your chronic fatigue by joining the dots

Joining your own dots

As we work together, clients start to recognise when their feelings and behaviour are linked to something from the past.  They become better equipped to choose how to respond because they come off “automatic pilot”.  I love it when this happened because whenever we have choice, we have freedom.

So this morning, for the first time in 29 years, I am actually feeling ok about Valentine’s Day.  I will let you know how I feel about any techie issues as and when they occur!

If you have M.E, Fibromyalgia or CFS and are battling to regain health, please get in touch.  There have been significant advances in

  • our understanding how our brains work
  • the impact that trauma has on the encoding of memory of an event
  • the way that the body pulls up these memories and puts us in a stressed state

This means that we know so much more about how we can support your return to health.

Contact me via this link if you would like to know more.

 

Emotional health and it’s impact on M.E, Fibromyalgia and CFS

Can your emotions make you sick?

When someone we know is unwell, we ask “how are you feeling?”.  As we leave, we may pass on a hope that they will “feel better soon”.  These everyday phrases show the intimate link between health and emotions.  At some instinctive level, we understand that physical health includes emotional health.  If we believed that our health was purely physical, perhaps our question would be “what are your symptoms?” or we would pass on a hope that their “symptoms will lessen soon”.

We are emotional beings.

We experience the world around us through touch, taste, sound, smell and sight.  At a conscious and subconscious level, we link emotions to these sensual experiences.  The memories that come back to us when we hear a piece of music, walk into a kitchen, bite into a childhood snack or touch a beautifully soft scarf show us how strong the link is between the sensual experience and emotion.  The feelings that we experience may be good or bad.  Either way, our emotions and sensual experiences have an impact on us.

Th link between the two was brought home to me when I was pregnant with our first daughter.  I can remember walking past a bakery and breathing in all the aromas wafting out through the door.  The smell I had always associated with yumminess triggered my morning sickness and left me feeling queasy instead of comforted.  I was really confused by the reaction, so much so that 22 years on, I can still recall its impact on me!

The link with physical health

How comfortable are you with the idea that the experiences we have in life, and their emotional counterparts, can contribute to physical illness?  What if our experiences repeatedly trigger difficult, challenging or scary emotions rather than comforting, happy or uplifting emotions?  How well can our body cope?

My experience of working with clients who have chronic fatigue conditions such as M.E, Fibromyalgia and CFS is of two things:

– There are usually multiple challenging emotional experiences. These might include things like:

  • bereavements
  • loss of job
  • difficult relationships or friendships
  • feeling like an outsider who never quite fitted in
  • difficult childhood or teenage years
  • trauma
  • surgical complications

– The body has not been able to cope and this has triggered some form of failsafe/shutdown mode.

My experience is that emotional experiences are absolutely, 100% contributing to physical illness.

It’s all in your mind…

Emotional Health and M.E.
Emotional health play a part in M.E, Fibromyalgia and CFS

I am not suggesting that chronic fatigue conditions are all in the mind! Far from it.  I know there are physical elements.  This is demonstrated by how quickly my clients’ physical health improves when they work with a specialist practitioner nutritional therapist such as my colleague, Kerry Munson who runs Think Wellness.  I also know that tackling the physical side on its own does not lead to sustained good health.  It is vital to work on the emotional side as well in order to prevent re-lapses.

The work I do with my clients is all around helping them to move forward.  Sometimes to move forward you need to understand what’s happened in the past by looking at some of the emotional experiences. It’s a bit like drawing a giant dot to dot picture.

We find connections between experiences in the past, the beliefs and values that those experiences have generated, the feelings that existed at that time and how these have all come together in the present situation.  This awareness of what was then allows choice about the shape of what is to come in the future.

Peeled many onions recently?!

Therapists often talk about peeling the layers of an onion as a metaphor for the work that we do in order to support a client. We humans are extraordinarily complex emotional beings.  We have a subconscious that protects us from all manner of difficulties and danger.  It is not realistic to expect to be able to solve complicated conditions like chronic fatigue within a short space of time. The peeling of the onion allows time for the emotional discoveries to be absorbed and understood, examined and decided upon. This unpicking of events is a journey of self-discovery.  There is immense benefit in terms of self-confidence and self-belief through going through this process. In some ways, to try and shortcut this journey results in missed opportunity for learning and is likely to lead to relapse and re-occurrence of the conditions.

We are emotional beings
Embrace our uniqueness

We are all wonderfully unqiue individuals who all have wonderfully unique experiences throughout our lives.  No two people experience an event exactly the same way, therefore no two people are likely experience the same emotional impact.  For this reason, I do not believe that there is a single, one stop cure for M.E, Fibromyalgia or CFS.

I do however believe that we can follow a process to enable recovery.  There is a proven process – The Chrysalis Effect Online Recovery Programme – that has been developed over the past 10 years by people who HAVE recovered from M.E, Fibromyalgia and from CFS.  The approach is tailored to meet each client’s specific requirements, to peel back the layers in the right order for them.

How the process works

The process starts with assessing the 8 key areas to review what’s going on currently in each of those areas.  From this analysis, we work back to understand the values, beliefs and emotions that are underpinning what’s going on in the present. We combine this with looking forward to what my clients want to achieve in the future. This combination of understanding the past and gaining clarity over the future has a phenomenal impact on emotional health and physical wellbeing.

This is not as simple as “thinking yourself better”.  It’s much deeper and much harder work than that. It’s why individuals that complete the recovery process come out of it with so much self-confidence and self-belief.

If you are prepared to accept that emotions impact your physical health, you are not reliant on a (as yet undiscovered) physical cure.

Your emotions and experiences are not set in stone.  How you choose to interpret them, how you choose to let them shape you can be altered.  You have the power to change them.  This in turn means you have the power to change your chronic fatigue condition.

How amazing would that be?

I find it mind-blowingly positive and hopeful.  It means that you can chose not to be the victim of your circumstances but can instead be the boss.

Instead of feeling hopeless about a diagnosis that is “long term” and “incurable”, there is a route to recovery that puts you in charge.  Better yet, it’s a route that other people have taken and have got their lives back as a result of following the process.

If you or someone you know has a chronic fatigue condition and has an inkling that there is emotional ‘stuff’ sitting in the background that could be contributing towards ill health, then please get in touch with me – link to Contact page.  I offer a free 30 minute health profile review which allows you the chance to find out more about what I do so you can decide whether or not it’s of interest to you.

Making Change Happen: from knowing to believing

Making change happen is hard…not going to lie to you!  I have spent the last 20 (ish) years losing weight.  I have, on occasion, actually lost some of that weight, only to have it pile back on again when I wasn’t looking!

When you know, you KNOW

I know it’s perfectly possible to lose weight.  Over the years I have watched friends, and read about celebrities, who have successfully done this.  It’s one thing knowing that losing weight is a theoretical possibility. It’s another thing entirely to KNOW, with absolute certainty, that I can lose weight.

I couldn’t quite translate other people’s success in losing weight into something that I could achieve.  My past history had shown that I was basically rubbish at it.   Weight loss was what other people achieved, not something I could actually do.

30 day healthy eating challenge

In September I completed a 30 day healthy eating challenge working with my friend Joanne Bibby of Joanne Bibby, Live Life Well.  I had met Joanne earlier in the year and had been following her Live Life Well page on Facebook.  Joanne posts a lot of photos of her meals – they look so scrummy!  We got talking about recipes and food generally and I was really interested in trying out some of these healthy meals.

30 Day Chellenge
Joanne Bibby Live Life Well

Over the past couple of years my diet has been changing.  I have reduced down my dairy and gluten consumption and felt better for it.  Joanne asked if I would like to work with her to help me make more changes to my eating habits.  The 30 day healthy eating plan was only a part of the work we did with regular calls, information sharing and check-in points.  I kept a record of my weight and measurements as well as writing down what I had eaten each day.

Ta-dah!!

By the end of the 30 days, I had lost 8lbs. This isn’t an earth-shatteringly huge amount, but it has been a life changing amount.  I haven’t been this weight for 8 years.  I was thrilled, but also a little sceptical – been there, done that, got all of the weight back!!

October came  and went.  We had a week off work, a couple of weekends away plus 3 really hectic weeks.  Joanne and I stayed in touch, just checking in once a week.  I think I was testing out whether or not the weight would stay lost!  My weight did move up, but only by 2lbs. I ended the month back down to the 8lbs off.

This thing that other people had succeeded at was now mine too! Something clicked inside my head.  Instead of knowing on an intellectual level that it was possible for me to lose weight and keep it off, I now knew at an internal level that it was something I could do. I had made change happen.

It felt very, very different.

My experience had shifted something within me.  I don’t think it would have shifted if I hadn’t made a decision to work with Joanne on the 30 day healthy eating plan. By deciding to tackle the weight problem differently I have achieved something I really did not believe I could do.  I focused on eating really tasty food that met my low carb, low sugar, low gluten requirements.  As a result, I have eaten some fabulous meals, found a new bunch of recipes and had the knock-on bonus of losing weight.

I have restarted the 30 day healthy eating plan to keep me focused and consolidate the good habits learnt in September.  I hope that I will also lose more weight.  That hope now comes with a belief that I can make further change happen.  And it feels gooood!

Making change happen

So what made the difference?

  • Working with Joanne helped to keep me focused. Her encouragement and unquestioning faith in her process helped me to succeed.
  • Information and a plan meant I wasn’t doing this blind. There was a plan to work to, something that others had used to achieve their goals with

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because I want you to know that it’s possible to make change happen when you put all of the right ingredients together (pun intended!)  For me, those ingredients were when I

  • Had a desire for something in my life to be different. I wanted to learn how to cook the food that Joanne was eating!
  • Was prepared to do something to change an element of my life. I wanted to eat more healthily.
  • Had support from someone who knew about the things I wanted to change. Joanne lives this day in and day out, so who better to work with?
  • Was willing to stick with it and take a long-term view. I have carried this extra weight for 20 years so knew it was going to take some time to change that.
  • Want to take the first step. I had to start somewhere and chatting with Joanne helped me to take the first step.

Unfinished masterpiece

Work in Progress
I am still a work in progress

I am still a “work in progress”. I have no idea exactly how this is going to turn out but what I absolutely, totally, positively and most definitely do know now is that I CAN do it.

My experiences over the past couple of months have made me appreciate how tricky it may be for anyone with a chronic fatigue illness to believe that it would be possible for them to get their life back.

For most people, the prognosis given for M.E, Fibromyalgia and CFS will probably have included he words “long term”, “chronic” and “incurable”.  They may have heard about others who have regained their health and are living a full and active life.  But perhaps, like me, they do not believe it is something that they can actually achieve.

Recipe for success

If we mix all of the right ingredients together, just like I did to lose weight, it is possible to make change happen. You need to:

  • Have a desire to lead a different life
  • Be prepared to do something to change elements of your life
  • Have support from someone who knows about the things you want to change
  • Be willing to stick with it and take a long-term view
  • Want to take the first step.

Taking the first step is always the hardest part of the journey.  For someone with M.E, Fibromyalgia or CFS, the first step is to complete an Online Health Profile.  It’s a quick and easy way of gathering the details of your symptoms and health history ready for your complimentary 30 minute Health Profile Review.

Online Health Profile

So, what will make a difference for you?

  • Working with me. I am an Accredited Chrysalis Effect Practitioner who has chosen to specialise in chronic fatigue.  I will help you with support, encouragement and unquestioning faith in our processed to support you in making change happen.
  • Information and a plan – There is a plan that has been tried and tested by many over the past 10 years. It works. There is also plenty of information and a fabulous support network in our online Facebook forum.
RY Logo
Green Reconnecting You logo

Are you ready to make change happen?   Take that first step and get in touch with me by email, by Facebook or LinkedIn.

To connect with Joanne to find out how she can help you develop healthy eating habits and lose weight, get in touch via Facebook or LinkedIn.

Wellbeing Coaching: how to make your health goal happen

Wellbeing Coaching is a tool I use to help people to change something about their health and wellbeing.  In just the same way as you can use an executive coach to develop your career, or life coach to help you achieve your life goals, you can use Wellbeing Coaching to tackle areas of your health that aren’t happy with and make your health goals happen.

I work mainly with people who have fatigue or a chronic fatigue conditions such as M.E, Fibromyalgia or CFS to help them get their lives back.  Using a combination of Wellbeing Coaching and Health Kinesiology we address the issues that are keeping you stuck or holding you back from living the life you want to live.

This is not about “thinking yourself better”

I am not suggesting, in any way shape or form, that serious conditions like M.E, Fibromyalgia or CFS can be “magic’ed“ away with a few coaching techniques.  Far from it.  Recovery from a chronic fatigue condition requires a lot more information.  This article, The Dominoe Effect, has more.  What I do know is that using a Wellbeing Coaching approach is an incredibly powerful way to enable people to make significant changes in their lives to support their health and wellbeing.  Cumulatively, these changes can have a big impact.

Breaking down complex situations

When working, it’s really important for me to understand the biggest priority that my client has.  Many of the people who come to see me have a complex list of symptoms, medication and health concerns.  There are usually lots of different issues going on within their day to day life.  Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint just one area to focus on because everything seems too overwhelming.

8 Elements of Freedom Wheel
Coaching tool in use

So, we start with the 8 Elements of Freedom Wheel.  This provides a snapshot of what is happening at that particular time.  By rating your satisfaction with 8 different areas of life, we get a quick, instinctive overview of which of these areas we need to look at first.  It’s quite common to see 2 or 3 areas where the score is lower than the other areas.  This gives the first clue about where to start work in the Wellbeing Coaching session.  We narrow it down further by asking questions about each area and then working with the area you feel is most important.

Look a little deeper to discover more

Gentle questioning helps us to delve a little deeper and understand what is going on with a particular area.  We spend some time working out what you would prefer to have happening in that area and then do a bit of brainstorming to think of as many ways a possible to get you to that outcome.

The final step in a Wellbeing Coaching session is to agree some kind of action that starts you moving towards the outcome – this step is really vital because it is the first step to making change happen.  All of the work up until this point is pretty much pie-in-the-sky, a bit of a daydream.  By committing to take some action, you are taking back control over your life.  It can be scary and exciting all at the same time!

Wellbeing Coaching in action

The easiest way to understand the power of a coaching conversation is by example.  I have changed my client’s name to Sylvia but that’s the only thing I have changed – does this ring any bells for you?

Sylvia was concerned about her nutritional health as so many foods and products had an impact on her skin.  Skin breakouts/hives, psoriasis, asthma, blistering in her mouth and were causing a real problem in everyday life.  Sylvia was a vegetarian.  Up until 6 years ago she had been eating a vegan diet.  A very stressful period made it difficult to sustain the diet.  Sylvia wanted some help to get back to a vegan diet as she was aware that her health was much better when not eating many of the foods currently in her diet.

The session goal was a simple one – to make a plan to go vegan, starting today.  There were lots of challenges around achieving it, such as:

  • finding the time to sit down and refresh knowledge about food groups
  • being too tired after work to think about what to eat and then prep it,
  • financial concern as can be very expensive, but getting a bit more savvy about that,
  • being unable to have nuts/nut based products in the morning or at lunch time (work colleagues with severe nut allergies).  Protein replacement had to be carefully planned.
  • not wanting to cook multiple meals for family members who do not want to eat a vegan diet
  • eating more fruit and vegetables may increase the risk of coming into contact with pollens which may make life difficult with reactions

Exploring options opens the door

Explore your options
Lots of options to look into

Our discussion also included looking at different ways to get around these challenges, and  Sylvia identified the following:

  • planning out the meals for the week ahead every Sunday
  • plan it out over a Fri/Sat/Sun so has some flexibility but it gets done before Mon
  • re-read information about the benefits of being vegan which would reinforce all of the positive impacts of making the change
  • wash fruit & veg multiple times. Cook as much as possible to de-activate pollens
  • give herself a weeks’ grace to research and plan menu (instead of starting today)
  • seek support from Mum
  • spend time prepping on Sun so things are just ready to use in the week.
  • considered buying pre-prepared food but ruled this out as too much packaging.
  • considered having stuff delivered – too many airmiles, plus likes to see where food has come from and choose local.
  • to just cook vegan and add in the non-vegan elements i.e. the base of every meal was vegan

Deciding on action is the key to success

After we had finished chewing over ways to get around the challenges, Sylvia decided on two things she was going to go away and do:

  1. TODAY, to plan the meals for the week using up what they have in house. Plan will be vegan + non-vegan add ons
  2. Heading in a vegan direction, family to help use up non-vegan store cupboard items. Longer term 100% vegan.

We also agreed that Sylvia would drop me a text later that day when she had completed the planning.  This was followed by another text at the end of the week.  The plan had worked out!

I am really pleased to report that Sylvia did do her plan, and did stick to it for that week.  What’s even more impressive is that having got back into the swing of things, she has been able to keep up her vegan diet.   There have been ups and downs – Sylvia is human after all  – however, the change was made!  This is the power of a simple, focused Wellbeing Coaching session.

Get in touch to find out more about how I can help you to make changes within your life that improve your health and wellbeing.  I offer a complementary 30 minute Health Profile Review where we have the opportunity to explore what’s going on for you and how I may be able to help.   Contact Suzanne today.

Suzanne
Contact Suzanne today

Procrastination: Why do I waste so much energy putting off doing things?

Procrastination …

…the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention.

Procrastination is a bizarre form of paralysis.  Why do I waste so much energy putting off doing things?  Especially things that I actually want to do?!

An example, to show you what I mean – I recently spotted some really lovely, quirky thank you cards (from http://www.huckleberrywillow.co.uk, if you must know) and I thought it would be a grand idea to pop a card in the post to say thank you to my clients for their support over the last 12 months.

Two weeks later, the cards are still sitting on my desk, unwritten, and beginning to take on human characteristics – they are staring at me, accusingly!  And I am really don’t like their tone of voice either!

What’s that all about then?!

Procrastinating
Make tea to avoid making a decision

To solve this minor mystery, and to delay a little longer on the task of actually writing my thank yous, I went and made tea.  It’s a well-known fact that tea is fundamental to problem solving, so cuppa in hand, I sat down to ponder.

As I was drawing up my list of excuses (too busy that day, writing too scruffy another day, writing hand too sore following challenging yoga pose the night before etc. etc.) an image of a Facebook post floated into my mind – you know the one, you’ve seen it countless times

Feel the fear, and do it anyway!

Oh my goodness…. I was afraid!  Not of the cards, that would be silly….. although I was getting very concerned about their attitude!  I had a bunch of fears around what my clients might think of me when receiving my quirky little thank yous.  Would they think I was a bit weird to send such a note, a bit too “forward”?  Would they appreciate the heartfelt thanks or see it as something more commercial?  These thoughts were actually holding me back from doing what I wanted to do.

Somewhere along the line between idea and action, my procrastination meant that I had lost the impulse to “do it anyway”.

Procrastinating with biscuits
More tea plus biscuits

This realisation was quite something, and I thought that was it for the day – but oh no!  More was to come!   What if there were other little things each day or each week that I don’t follow through on because of a fear about the outcome?  This was getting serious – more tea, and biscuits, were required.

Was I living a fear based lifestyle?

Was I wasting my precious energy having all these fabulous ideas that I then put off doing or held back from?  Sad to admit, but the answer was yes.  Procrastination was getting in the way of my progress.  In quick succession I was able to think of half a dozen little ideas that had never made it past thought and into reality.  Hmmmm…..how frustrating!

A couple of biscuits later, I made another shocking connection.  My therapy business is all geared around raising energy levels and using coaching techniques to help people move forward.  I have a really effective toolkit to do this, yet here I was realising that my fears over big and little things are zapping my own energy and actually preventing me from doing all sorts of things.

My lightbulb moment was to realise that if I stop procrastinating and just get on with it, if I “feel the fear, and do it anyway” then I can use my precious energy to do the stuff I love instead of wasting it on worry and fear.

More tea, anyone?

If you are procrastinating and struggling to take the first step forward or raise your energy levels – contact me for a chat to find out how I can help (aside from providing tea and biscuits!!)  http://www.reconnectingyou.co.uk/contact/

3 Top Tips to Sleep Like A Baby & Get Your Life Back

Do you sleep like a baby?  For a lot of people, sleep is a challenge.  This is especially true for people living with M.E, Fibromyalgia or CFS.  Some don’t get enough, some wake up a lot through the night and some people wake up feeling just as tired as when they went to bed.

I have 3 top tips for getting better sleep and to help get your life back.  They are straight forward, common sense things that you probably know already.

But…have you put any of them in place?  ~Did you track what happened when you make changes?  What was the outcome and were you able to adjust your approach to see what happened?  If not, then you may not have seen the hoped for improvements.  There are 3 steps you can take to help – link HERE

Getting back to basics

Let’s go back to basics – in order to sleep like a baby, you may need to re-create some of the things that you experienced as a baby or as a parent helping your children to sleep well.

Spend a few moments thinking about your current “bedtime routine”.

  • Do you have a routine? Most of us will go through the bathroom, wash our faces/shower/bath, brush teeth, go the loo, so on and so on.

BUT what do you do before this??

  • If you take a look at the 90 minutes or so before you get into bed, I would like you to consider three areas:

Top Tip # 1 – Avoid Stimulants

Caffeine
Caffeine

This covers the biggest culprit, caffeine (not just tea &.coffee but other caffeinated drinks) but also includes all forms of alcohol and all forms of drugs – prescribed and non-prescribed.

(Please note: I am not making any recommendations at all about prescription drugs as I am not a qualified medical practitioner and not in any position to do so.  You should consult your GP if you have concerns about the impact of prescribed medications on your sleep.)

Let’s focus on caffeine: you know it’s a stimulant i.e. it has a chemical effect on your body that stimulates activity.

But did you know that caffeine has a half-life of 5 hours?  This means that if you drink it now, in 5 hours the level of caffeine in your system will be approximately half.

So what’s that got to do with your sleep?

Well, if you enjoy a coffee after your evening meal at, say 8pm, by 1am there will still be  about half the level of caffeine swimming around in your body like some crazed chemical party goer looking for a nightclub.

You may not feel like the caffeine is having an impact, but there will be some kind of reaction taking place inside your body.

My advice?  Don’t drink caffeinated drinks (including tea) after 2pm for 1 week and see if it makes any difference to you sleep.

If you don’t notice anything, go back to your usual routine, and again, take note of what happens to your sleep and notice any differences.

In my experience, you are more likely to notice the impact on sleep after re-introducing caffeine.  This is because your body will have had a bit of a detox in the week ebfore and you are more likely to beaware of the impact of putting caffeine back into your system.

Top Tip #2 – Check Out Your sleep space

Calm Bedroom
Uncluttered sleep space

We are vulnerable when we sleep.  Psychologically, our mind finds it difficult to shut down if we do not feel comfortable, safe and secure.

Just think about how well you can you sleep when:

  • your room and bed are cluttered?
  • you are wondering whether or not you shut the door/set the alarm/what the dog is up to?
  • your bed isn’t comfortable?
  • the curtains aren’t pulled tightly together?
  • your bedding isn’t wrapped around you/smoothed out around you?

These are all examples o fthe sort of thing that our subconscious mind is aware of.  That awareness “niggles” at us.  If the niggle is strong enough, it can prevent us from falling into deep sleep because our subconscious is not able to switch off.  It feels vulnerable.

Most of us don’t recall poor sleep as a child as it’s usually something that developed in teen years or adulthood.  Think back to when you do remember sleeping well – what did you have going on around you in your sleep space at that time?

Now compare that sleep space to your current sleeping space.  If things are different, then try to re-create the environment you had back then.

Top Tip #3 – Pre-Sleep Prep

Bedtime routine
Bedtime routine?

As a small child, you would have had a bedtime routine of some description.  It may have been something like tea, then play, followed by having a bath, reading a book, maybe having a drink of milk before actually settling down to go to sleep.  One of the reasons for the routine was to calm you down so that you could go off to sleep.

Think about what your typical routine is nowadays…does it look anything like the routine described above?!

My experience is that most folks spend the time immediately before they go to be doing things like

  • watching TV
  • using social media
  • gaming
  • working on laptops

Then they go through the bathroom and  hop into bed.  There isn’t usually any time built into the routine to decompress, relax and become calm.  It’s little wonder then that we don’t sleep like babes anymore!

Spend a some time thinking about what you would love to experience in the hour before you go to bed as part of your new bedtime routine.  (My suggestion would be that it doesn’t include gadgets (at all!) but does include things that help you to really chill out.)

Now that you have a routine in mind work towards putting it in place.

How can I help you?

All of the above is really simple stuff – the tricky bit is making it happen.  That’s where I come in!

I work with people wo are tired, exhausted or living with a chronic fatigue condition.  Togeter we tackle all and any problems that are part of their fatigue and poor sleep is a common issue.  If you would like some support on this side of things – follow this link HERE.

If you prefer the self help route – take a look at Tired But Wired by Dr Narina Ramlakhan – link HERE .  It’s a brilliant book packed full of ways to help sort your sleep out.

Sleep Issues: 3 simple steps to tackle poor sleep

Sleep issues are causing major problems for many of us.  Did you know that one in three* of us suffers from poor sleep?  This statistic comes from a great page on the NHS.gov website where you can find lots of other scary stats about how significant an impact lack of sleep has on our health and wellbeing – LINK

How lack of sleep impacts our bodies

Our bodies can cope remarkably well with short periods of poor sleep but over the long term, a sleep issues can lead to:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased weight gain
  • Impairment of mental ability
  • Increased likelihood of developing diabetes, heart disease and infertility
  • Lower sex drive

I think most of us get it.  We understand that sleep issues such as poor sleep, lack of sleep and disturbed sleep leave you feeling grumpy and slightly at odds with the world.

So, enough with the depressing stuff….what the dickens are we supposed to do about it?!

Make some changes

Well, like loosing weight or getting fit, we have to make some changes .  It’s not very likely that our sleep issues will just suddenly decide to correct themselves.  This is especially true if we have a pattern of poor sleep for some period of time, perhaps even since childhood.  It’s going to require a bit of effort in order to achieve better sleep.

Do something different
Do something different

I very often see this quote popping up on social media and I think it’s 100% accurate – I you keep on doing what you have always done, you will keep on getting what you have always got.

So, we need to change something.

Great!!

I repeat….what the dickens are we supposed to do about it?!

The easy way to tackle sleep issues

The good news is that tackling sleep issues it isn’t rocket science.  It breaks down to three steps:

STEP 1 – Get to grips with what happens when you sleep and understand why sleep plays such a vital role in keeping us healthy and well.  Learning a bit about ourselves is really useful because change is easier to handle when you understand the reasons for it.

STEP 2 -Change stuff!  There are a lots of really simple changes that you can put in place that will lead to a rapid improvement in your sleep quality and quantity.  Not only will you feel better, but you will be minimising potentially horrible consequences on your long-term health.

STEP 3 – Have a plan and a cheerleader to support you.  This last bit is crucial.  It’s why people go to slimming groups and work with personal trainers.  Change is really hard, especially if we are trying to change something you may have been doing for years.  You are likely hit challenges that will undermine what you are trying to achieve, even if your motivation level is high.  Working with a plan and having some support keeps you on track.

Rocket science
Getting better sleep isn’t rocket science!

If you would like to know more about how I can support you to change your sleep issues, contact me on the link – HERE

I am a fatigue specialist, working with people who have fatigue in all froms from tiredness, to exhaustion to chronic fatigue conditions like M.E, Fibromyalgia or CFS.  I help people to get their life back, and go on to live healthy and vibrant lives.  If you have fatigue, and recognise that sleep issues are part of the problem, then get in touch – CONTACT

Contrary to popular opinion, it is 100% possible to get your life back!!

* Taken from NHS research with NHS Choices – https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2018/01/30/is-lack-of-sleep-affecting-your-work/

Nutritional therapy: supporting recovery from ME, Fibromyalgia & CFS

Using nutritional therapy to support recovery from ME, Fibromyalgia or CFS helps to shorten the recovery journey.

Tackling your diet is a massive task when you are well.  When you have a chronic fatigue condition, it can seem like an impossible task.  Changing your eating habits takes effort and energy, two of the things that are in really short supply when you have ME, Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The approach we use within The Chrysalis Effect is to work with qualified nutritional therapists who have specialised in chronic fatigue recovery. They understand all about the conditions and how nutritional therapy can help to support your recovery.  This includes appreciating and understanding how challenging it can be to make some of the changes that may be required.

Dealing with digestive tract issues

Not every client requires nutritional support, but many do because digestive tract issues are a common set of symptoms associated with chronic fatigue conditions.  Things like Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS), food sensitivities, intolerances, allergies, constipation, diarrhoea, leaky gut syndrome – the list goes on, with many more symptoms besides these ones.  Many of those with ME, Fibromyalgia and CFS know that their symptoms are made worse by stressful situations and anxiety.

This is all part of the Dominoe Effect – follow this link here to read all about how stress triggers a series of reactions which can seriously impact our health over the longer term.

Too much information!

There are lots of different pieces of information and advice available about nutritional therapy via the internet and medical practitioners.  It can be really confusing to know what to do for the best.

  • If I try something and it doesn’t seem to be working, do I stick with it or abandon it?
  • How long will it take to work?
  • Does it need something else alongside it to make it more effective?
  • Is it all a big con anyway? !

Trying to work it out on your own can add to the anxiety and worry, which in turn makes you feel worse.

One of the benefits of working with a Chrysalis Effect nutritional therapist is that you tap into their experience.  They have experience of supporting recoverers back to health and understand the best way to help you.

How nutritional therapy can help you

The actual work done varies hugely as it is tailored to each client’s unique circumstances.  The starting point is always a thorough investigation at the initial consultation.  It is quite common for the focus to start on adrenal glands and thyroid gland function.  Improving the performance of these glands can have a significant impact on energy levels in a relatively short space of time.

Our nutritional therapists work with an holistic approach.  This means that they take into account everything that is going on for you, as well as considering areas such as mineral and vitamin function, heavy metal toxicity, parasitic activity etc. etc.  Their work is aimed at rebalancing your body to address the physical symptoms associated with chronic fatigue conditions, as well as improving energy level.

The Chrysalis Effect team approach

Chrysalis Effect Team
Chrysalis Effect team approach

Within The Chrysalis Effect, practitioners work as a team.  We understand that one single practitioner is unlikely to have all of the tools required to help you get your life back.  Chronic fatigue conditions are as complicated and diverse as the people who live with them.  So we have a diverse team of specialists who bring different skill sets.  This means that we are able to cross refer you to the specialist you need.

But we don’t just push you around from one practitioner to another.  You have a lead practitioner who delivers the majority of your recovery programme as well as co-ordinating any referrals and progress reviews.  You are in safe hands the whole way!

The approach cuts out a lot of the worry and guesswork, helping to shortcut your journey back to health.

Get in touch to find out more

Change
Ready for change?

If you would like to know more about how nutritional therapy can help you, why not arrange a complementary 30 minute Health Profile Review?

You can start this off by completing the Online Health Profile.  Once submitted, Suzanne will contact you to arrange a convenient time for your 30 minute telephone or Skype call.

If you have any questions, or would just like to chat then

  • call 07973 305093
  • email Suzanne@reconnectingyou.co.uk
  • fill in the form on the contact page Reconnecting You

The Dominoe Effect: how stress links to Chronic Fatigue

The Dominoe Effect

The Dominoe Effect begins with a trigger.  This can be anything that causes our body to react and switch on our fight, flight or freeze response.  The trigger can be anything that causes a rise in our stress and anxiety levels.  They vary enormously from person to person.  A trigger doesn’t have to be a big, dramatic situation.  In fact, it’s more likely to be lower level stressful situations or anxious moments that are triggered repeatedly throughout the day.

When we encounter a stressful situation, our adrenal glands get to work producing adrenaline.  This hormone that rushes around our body preparing us to do something, usually to fight, flee, or freeze.

Adrenaline does this by setting off a series of chemical reactions (this is the Dominoe Effect) that put our bodies on red alert.  Adrenaline prepares us to do whatever is necessary to deal with the situation.  This state of readiness means that our metabolic rate is increased so that we have more energy to allow us to react.  Our heart rate increases to move our blood around our bodies quickly, our digestion process is slowed right down as is our immune system function.  Neither of these processes are a priority when dealing with an emergency.

The evolution of our stress triggers

This red alert system was designed to deal immediately with a threat.  If you think of this in “caveman” terms, a threat may have been coming across a sabre toothed tiger and needing to fight it, run away from it or play dead until the tiger goes away!

Dominoe EffectThe action, and outcome, take place quickly – you either escape, are eaten or are left alone!  Whichever way it pans out, the emergency is over in a short space of time.  If you escaped, or played dead really well, then your body has the chance to calm down.  The adrenaline levels drop off and your body returns to normal function.  The drop in adrenaline allows your digestive and immune systems to switch back on.  Theses systems are now a priority as we need replace the energy used up during the emergency, and maybe to help deal with injuries.  (If you were eaten, well, let’s leave that thought right there…..

Zooming forward to modern day life, we don’t tend to encounter too many tigers.  We do encounter situations where the stress response is very similar i.e. our chemical reaction to a situation follows the same path, with adrenaline whizzing around our system.  Problem is, we don’t usually have the opportunity to release that adrenaline (fight, flee or freeze) and then have the opportunity for our systems to return to normal functions.

Adrenal gland function

If our adrenal system is constantly being triggered throughout the day, our bodies are at red alert more often than they are in “normal” mode…..and then we find ourselves in The Dominoe Effect.

Dominoe Effect and triggers
Tigger and cycle of events

The ability of the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland to keep up with the “red alert” demands become compromised.  They are simply working too hard.  In fact, if they spend too much time working and not enough time resting, it can lead to adrenal  and thyroid exhaustion.

Overactivity in the thyroid gland impacts on our cognitive function, meaning that our ability to think is affected.  “Fibro fog” is a good example of this where we struggle to think of the right word, put a name to a face or think in a clear manner.

The impact of stress on the digestive tract

Our digestion is constantly being given a “shut down” instruction so it is unable to function properly.  This is k for a short period of time, we are designed to cope with this.  Over the longer term, all sorts of complications emerge relating to Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS), food sensitivities, intolerances, allergies, constipation, diarrhoea, leaky gut syndrome etc. etc.

A significant portion of our immune system is located in the gut.  When our digestion is impaired, there is an immediate knock on to how well our immune system can function.  This is especially true if the necessary nutrients are not being provided.  This lack of nutrients makes the job of tackling inflammation and infections even more tricky.  Ultimately it means that we are more prone to infections and take longer to heal.

Sleep issues become more pronounced.  This is because our bodies are on red alert.  Chemically, our bodies are wired for action, not sleep.  The balance of adrenaline and cortisol (our sleep hormone) are all out of sync.  Our heads might be thinking it’s bedtime, but our bodies are just not in the same place!

…and the end result is…

Our system becomes so discombobulated that our ability to effectively regulate our blood sugar levels is compromised.  We experience sugar highs, where we have lots of energy and are running around like busy, busy bees, and sugar lows, when we need to hibernate because we have burnt through all of our energy reserves!  Bobbing up and down between one extreme state and another is very hard work for our bodies and requires a huge amount of energy to manage – using up even more of our precious energy supplies.

Another impact of the general chemical chaos that long terms stress causes is the potential for high toxin overlead.  It’s another symptom of our body just not being able to function properly.  It can lead to all sorts of complications and imbalances.  The ripples outward grow more significant and poor methylation can be a factor.  Methylation is a chemical process that occurs everywhere within our bodies.  It’s one of the basic chemical processes that enable us to function, so anything that interferes with it has a profound impact on our bodies.

And finally, as if all of the above weren’t enough, we find ourselves in a scenario where at their most basic level, our cells cannot function correctly to produce the energy required to keep us going and we end up with poor mitochondrial output.  Mitochondria are the battery packs within our cells that make and store energy.

All in all, it’s a sad and depressing cycle of reactions….but it all starts with a trigger.

The good news is that if you get in front of those triggers, and either prevent or reduce them, you have the opportunity to interrupt the viscious cycle.  You can eliminate or at least modify the fight, flight or freeze response and break the Domino Effect.

Do you have the power?

You know that old adage about “information is Power”?  Here is a perfect example of how you can use information to have a powerful effect on your health and wellbeing.  By knowing how the Dominoe Effect works, you can take steps to interrupt it.

I love it!!!  Rather than being out of control and under the influence of things you don’t understand, put yourself in control.  It’s an amazing position to be in.

Find your triggers

Change your responses,

Feel the benefits of being in control

It is 100% possible to recover from ME, Fibromyalgia and CFS– you need information, a plan and support to get you there.

This is how I work with clients to help them overcome ME, Fibromyalgia and CFS.

If you want to know more….get in touch!  You can

  • email me  Suzanne @reconnectingyou.co.uk
  • contact me via my website Reconnecting You
  • speak to me on 07973 305093 or
  • you can message me on Facebook at ReconnectingYou
The Chrysalis Effect
The Chrysalis Effect Online Recovery Programme

For more information about The Chrysalis Effect Online Recovery Programme click here