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Rest, Burnout & Fatigue

“Rest is the most underused, chemical-free, safe
& effective, alternative therapy available to us.”
~ Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., the author of Sacred Rest

Have you ever experienced burnout? Most likely you did. At least to some degree. Or you know someone who did. That profound fatigue that not even the strongest coffee could dispel? Perhaps it provided temporary relief, yet the underlying exhaustion persisted? 

Burnout, fatigue, and exhaustion are a leading issue for many of us. I've been there. I know many people who have been there and who are still there and suffer long term effects of it.  Just a few days ago, while teaching "Intro to Trauma-Informed Yoga" to a group of beautiful, eager, open hearted trainees, shared their stories of burnout and overwhelm. One individual even confided that their burnout had led them to contemplate ending their own life. Luckily she asked for help and it has been 3 years of her recovering slowly. Many do not ask for help. Too many.

In today's fast-paced, stress-filled world, exhaustion has become normalized to the point where we often overlook the signs of someone teetering on the brink. We've become desensitized to its destructive consequences. 

Sleep, once a reliable remedy, often fails to manage these conditions, particularly as many struggle to attain consistent, quality rest. "A good night's sleep" is a privilege of the few. Whether due to stress, anxiety, poor sleep habits, menopause, or other factors, the struggle is real. Shockingly, research indicates that the use of sleep aids & medications is becoming increasingly prevalent among younger and younger demographics. Many parents resort to melatonin to help their children sleep, rather than addressing the root causes of sleep disturbances and considering teaching them how to better manage their days and nights, so that this doesn't become an even bigger problem as they grow.

To truly achieve sustainable rest, we must prioritize restorative activities tailored to our individual needs. While surfing is restorative for my husband, it leaves me feeling drained. 

Many many years ago when I became aware of Yoga Nidra, and quickly adopted it into my exhausted life, my husband used to make fun of me. It still makes me laugh when I think of it. He said, "You yogis label everything as yoga. You want to sleep and you call it Yoga Nidra." As funny as it may be, his observation holds truth. Yoga is more than a practice we take on a mat for an hour or two; it's a 24/7 lifestyle that encompasses awareness of the natural cycles of life. Rather than clinging to practices that once rejuvenated us but no longer serve our evolving needs—whether due to parenthood, grief, work stress, or aging—we must adapt and listen to our bodies' changing requirements. 

A few years ago he finally decided to give Yoga Nidra a try. He since has been incorporating it into his life and practices at least once or twice a week. 

This is the power we have by living our truth. I never tried to convince him. He  and the kids would just see me practice it. And then the seeds grew. He has since been recommending it to many of his friends. Because when something works, and it is free, and available to us ALL THE TIME, then we want to share it with others.

Having practiced Yoga Nidra for over two decades, I've cultivated the ability to quickly enter what I call "the twilight zone." Sometimes, my mind protests, insisting that rest is futile amid the day's demands. "Get up. It won't work today! You are "Wasting your time", Better you get something done rather than just lie here", are just a few of the repeating phrases. Yet, with experience and practice, I've learned to persist, and nearly always, (I would say 99% of the time) I find my way into this bliss zone of the " in between being awake and being asleep", where everything is possible, a realm of profound restoration.

Rest, just like any other practice, is an ongoing practice. Almost like a muscle we strengthen and stretch.

Attached is a recorded practice of Yoga Nidra. Enjoy!


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