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At the end of March, just prior to a pivotal seminar in Boston, I found out my plans to extend my lease could not be met as the owner was moving back in. The seminar I then attended had a profound effect on my clinical practice, turning it on its head. So this time frame marked the beginning of a lot of changes for me on both the home and work fronts.
The move was unexpected and unwanted. I was out of vacation time and did not expect to have moving expenses added to my limited financial landscape. Emotionally, I was quite distraught and soon realized quite angry. The packing for the move was a drain on my energy. Many days my caffeine consumption was excessive just to make it through the workday (quad ristretto shots anyone?). Coffee then began to taste like flavored water (red flag).
In the midst of packing, I also tried out a new dating site (because enough wasn’t going on in my life). The day after one of my dates I started to notice pain in the ball of my left foot with walking. Dating during this transition was a set up for the fall when things didn’t go well (when I go, I go BIG…). That foot pain, I later realized, was a red flag, too.
The day of the move was exhausting. The movers took much longer than expected and that made the day more expensive, too. The unpacking was slow, as my energy was just not recovering even with taking many rest breaks and even not unpacking some nights after work.
Unfortunately, about a week after the move my friend injured himself requiring first-aid and 8 or so first responders on scene. Even with a good measure of bourbon, I only slept a couple hours that night. The next day laryngitis visited and so did my slow-to-leave head and chest cold. Update: my friend is recovering well, having missed hitting anything “major” in the incident.
After my cold had lasted over 10 days, I was beginning to feel like a zombie all day long, no longer just at the end of my workday. I felt like I was floating and my thoughts would not focus. I was carrying extra water weight and waking up in the morning I often felt like a ton of bricks. Even though I was exhausted, sleep was elusive even with use of magnesium and passionflower. I had also noticed that my hands were freezing cold (a rarity for me in late spring). In asking a friend for help on this matter, she felt that my kidney energy was low.
I then began to research kidney deficiency (different from renal deficiency as this is not a medical diagnosis, but a term used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM) and ways to help recover my energy. In reading through the list of symptoms, her assessment was reinforced. I then also realized that my libido disappeared suddenly earlier in the week (red flag) and it was not until then that I realized it (oh, definite red flag).
To recover, I began to eat more of the foods suggested here and quickly cut back my caffeine consumption. I also started to focus more on breathing into my abdomen. I added sea salt to my water, too. In just a day or so, I started to feel more human (less zombie), warm and grounded again. Now I suspect all of that caffeine lead to adrenal burn out by overstimulating the adrenal glands. These glands are also responsible for water balance in the body. In TCM the energy of the kidneys is vital to life. When it is depleted, life force or qi energy is also depleted.
When I saw my massage therapist last week, I asked for his help with kidney acupressure. From him, I learned that the ball of the foot is where the Kidney meridian begins… I had also been doing work on the posterior tibialis muscle, as it can refer pain to the ball of the foot. Would you know that the Kidney meridian closely follows the path of the posterior tibialis muscle? I shared with him that I was concerned about “messing with” the meridians as I didn’t want to throw something off balance (like I wasn’t already…). He strongly suggested that I check out meridian tracing to help open up the energy and that I’d have to “work” to mess things up…yes, I also laughed at that comment.
While I am still not back to 110%, this is the best I’ve felt in the last month. I’m hopeful that this information may be helpful to help prevent burn out in others or to give some tools to those who are already there. Cheers to life force energy, qi, we all need it to thrive!