Something I flirt with regularly as my cycle ebbs and flows and I remain constantly pushing.
Yes, I have herbs to support nervous exhaustion. I also have the knowledge around my cycle to recognize when my body will be craving the quiet and slow over the push. And yet...
Action in this regard can feel challenging, at least it does for me. I often catch myself measuring my worth on my productivity... but what if I measured my worth on something else? Or what if I actually viewed deep rest as productive in itself? What if I prioritized that part of self care? I do the daily body oiling, I take my herbs, I drink water and eat quality food. I spend a ton of time in the garden, weeding and tending to the herbs and veggies. And yet... I don't know when I last laid in the shade of the maple and read a book in the middle of the day. I don't when I last went for a walk in the woods without my basket and clippers, without a podcast playing in my ears.
Numb myself with Netflix for an afternoon? Sure, I just did that the other day. But quality rest, quality time for myself is another matter.
Burn out.. I see you lingering in the shadows of the summer push. I see you in the corners of the garden and tangled in the mess of the house. I feel you creep closer in the evenings when the sink is full of dishes and kids need tucking in.
But in the early mornings when I wake while the house is still asleep, when I walk through the dewy grass and run my hands through the garden, when I watch the sun rise through the mist over the hills, you are far away. When I let that stillness fill me up you are nothing but an empty shadow.
Herbs I use for exhaustion and overwhelm.
I use these in the form of tea, tinctures (extracts in alcohol, apple cider vinegar or glycerine) or in the form of a body oil. All of these are wonderful and equally powerful. I am especially fond of the body oiling though as it also engages loving touch and can be so powerful beyond the use of the herbs.
Lemon Balm, Catnip & Chamomile are a wonderful combination to calm the nerves, ease anxiety and release tension built up in the body. You can use these individually with their own specific effects or in combination (my personal fav).
St. John's Wort has a way of capturing the energy of the sun and releasing into the body in such a beautiful way. It soothes damaged nerve endings and shines light in those dark places of the soul. A wonderful mood lifter when taken regularly, but best avoided if on medication, especially anti-depressants.
Tulsi/Holy Basil is an adaptogen which means it has the ability to expand our tolerance of stress. I love this herb for so many reasons including its incredible flavour and aroma, it's ability to ground my energy, and how readily it grows in my garden. A holy basil infused body oil is my best friend through stressful times.
Motherwort is the quiet and strong mother. This herb is quite bitter but has become the ally of many who suffer from stress, anxiety or strong PMS symptoms. I see this herb as the knowing, calm grandmother who can see everything with the perspective that wisdom and experience bring. A smile on her face, she holds us with her weather worn hands and assures us when we feel all is collapsing.
Flower Essences are also a wonderful way to support the emotional body. These are highly diluted, energetic remedies and that I've found to be incredibly helpful. If you're open and willing, I'd give these a try!
Elm: feeling “overwhelmed by responsibility & loss of confidence” but you’d like to feel more “ self assured & efficient”
Hornbeam: feeling “mental weariness” but you’d like to feel more “restored strength & ready for the day ahead”
Mustard: feeling “deep gloom for no apparent reason” but you’d like to feel more “at peace with inner stability”
Scleranthus: feeling “uncertain, indecisive & a seesaw mood” but you’d like to feel more “ability to make quick decisions”
Oak: feeling “exhausted but still struggling on” but want to feel more “energy restored but also aware of the need to relax”
Olive: feeling “exhausted in body & mind but with all reserves gone” but want to feel more “restored strength, vitality & interest in life”
Let's not forget our other trusty allies when it comes to stress.
Reduce toxic inputs into the body so that it can function at its best. This includes processed foods, sugars, alcohol, caffein, synthetic fragrances, emulsifiers, preservatives, plastics, chemical cleaners and detergents etc.
Take 5 slow, deep breaths as often as you can throughout the day.
Remind yourself of something that elevates your mood regularly. I like to close my eyes and remember swimming in the still, dark lake at sunrise several years ago.
Sit in your emotion for a moment. Don't judge it, just feel it. See if you can notice what it feels like in your body specifically. Notice the heart rate, the tightness in the neck, the nausea or whatever it is and see if you can be curious about it.