nature

Cyclical living to prevent and recover from burnout

I have been paying attention to the Moon cycle my whole life. When I was a child I often looked up to look for Her, and when I found Her I would marvel at Her brightness and Her shape. Sometimes She was full and round, sometimes barely visible, a small crescent. 

At a young age I learned what the waxing and waning Moon looked like (see RESOURCES for an explanatory e-book). It wasn't until my late twenties that I discovered that the Moon phases had their own energy and purpose. 

The Moon has been a guide for ages. Every year, a Farmer's Almanac is published, which lays out the Moon phases and the best days for planting, sowing, doing labor on the land, harvesting and more. When aligned with the Moon cycle, farmers have bigger crops, better harvests and less waste. People have lived with this wisdom since the birth of agriculture. 

Somewhere along the way we forgot. We run on a treadmill of achieving goals, always pushing, striving and making deadlines. New ideas, growth, and success are valued more than the stillness, where fertilization and incubation happens. This skipping of an important phase in any project, from a start-up business to writing a book to creating a successful product, seems efficient. It saves us time, and we can go on faster to the next thing in life. However, living in overdrive like this, and skipping rest and recovery, has a huge downward risk. At first, we don't notice. Until we collapse.

I had lived my life in this running, linear way for 38 years before I crashed. When I was in dire shape, in the midst of my burnout, I discovered something important. I noticed that my exhaustion was the worst at New Moon (and when I was menstruating). The depletion of cosmic and physical energy took so much that I wasn't able to move or sit up for days. 

Because I was following the Moon already, I found out quickly. I never thought this effect could be so profound, I was aware of the esoteric meaning of the Moon phases but I never really paid attention to the physical effects (or any bodily signal, to be honest). But when I started to connect the Moon energy to my own energy levels, everything clicked.

We are so used to living in 5th gear, never taking a break or allowing our body to rest. But we forget that we are cyclical beings. Especially women, because we have a menstrual cycle on top of it. 

Everything in the Universe consists of spirals, circles, and cycles. Galaxies, the solar system, the planetary movements, the Earth when spinning around its axis and thus creating the seasons, the Moon cycle, but also the cycle of life, growth, death, rebirth. Molecular structures move energy around in a cyclical motion. This is the basis of oxygen-dependent life, it's called the citric acid cycle (and it was a pain in the ass to memorize for my Med School exams, I tell you).

So, when everything is cyclical, why do we think we can just skip a phase? How can we systematically skip Winter? We need rest, recovery, contemplation, allowing new ideas to form, hibernating under the surface in order for the cycle to complete itself and start over again.

We can't skip the Winter, but we do it on a systematic basis. We have labels rest and recovery as 'laziness'. We think contemplation is 'unproductive'.

When we follow these voices, judgments, beliefs, and we continue to skip it, it leads to burnout. Burnout is nothing else than a very long Winter enforced on you by your body. When you are experiencing burnout, start with rest, not a weekend, not a vacation. What you need is real prolonged rest. This can be very scary, just have faith your nature. The cycle will start over again one day.

When you are planning a new adventure, start with rest, contemplation to be more successful. When you just finished a big project in your business or job, celebrate your success, then rest and evaluate. Learn from your experiences, and integrate them. 

Start paying attention to your energy and your cyclical nature today. Awareness prevents problems and it will help you to be more successful, and live a sustainable life. 

If you want to talk with me about this subject to find out what it can mean for you, feel free to book a complimentary discovery call with me. 

7 natural remedies to have in your home

Last week I was down with the flu (or some heavy cold with fever and coughs and muscle pains) AND I burned my hand with hot oil AND I went to the dentist who left me with a bruised palate

Oh yes, it was a great week.... to use all the natural home remedies I love. :D

***Please make sure to read my disclaimer before reading the rest of the article, always ask for medical advice with your own healthcare professional, GP or pharmacist and always use medication and supplements (pharmaceutical or natural remedies like naturopathic or herbal medicine) as prescribed on the package insert.***

The 'common cold' (rhinitis) 

Echinacea 

Echinacea comes in drops or capsules or tea. I hate capsules so I always use drops and tea. When the R is in the month (September until April) I drink at least one cup of tea with Echinacea in it. It enhances your immune system and helps to fight off bugs before they get to you. When a virus enters our home, I start my drops too. Sometimes it helps me to prevent catching the bug myself, and if not, it sure helps because of the immune system boost. 

Chamomile 

I use this as a tea. Chamomile soothes the throat and has antiseptic qualities. You can use it just to drink and clear the throat, you can add some honey to it to enhance the antibacterial properties and to make swallowing easier. You can also gargle with it. 

Saltwater

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water and gargle with it (not so nice) or use it as nose spray or drops to dilute mucus in the nose. This really helps to keep the airway free and it prevents the sinuses from getting inflamed. It's important to keep the entry to the sinuses open, you don't want a sinusitis on top of your cold. It takes way longer to recover from that.

 

The flu (influenza)

Fluids

Drink a lot when you have a fever. It helps to clear out the toxins that are produced by fighting the influenza virus. It also helps regulate your temperature, due to fever the body loses much more fluids. Preferably drink water, herbal tea and broth, not just water. Broth will help to compensate for the loss of salts through transpiration when there is a fever.

Homemade chicken soup

I don't know why but this is one of the best remedies. Ask someone to bring you homemade chicken soup. Processed foods somehow don't have the same effect. 

Note: If your fevers don't break, or when there are other symptoms present like shortness of breath, extreme coughing, pain in the upper torso, muscle weakness, drowsiness, vomiting, diarrhoea, and so on, always consult your doctor. Be aware that influenza can lead to pneumonia when severe, even in healthy young individuals.

 

Bruises

Arnica

For bruises, muscle aches from working out or straining the muscles too much, Arnica is a helpful natural remedy. You can find it as drops, or salve to apply locally. The salve works perfectly on bruises and bumps, also with your children. For severe muscle pain or tore muscles, I use the drops to ingest for a systemic approach. I also used them after childbirth, to heal the damaged tissues faster (it was recommended by my midwife). And I recently learned that it can also be helpful in emotional 'bruises' and growth pain, for example when you are in a difficult painful life event or transformational process. 

 

Burns

Aloë vera

The best home remedy for burns from a heat source like hot water, oil, fire or hot objects or sunburned skin is Aloë vera. It is a plant you probably have in your home already. It's a very easy, difficult to kill plant ;-) that you can put everywhere in your home. When there is a burn, always cool first, with lukewarm water. Cold water can lead to hypothermic shock and constricted blood vessels, which is not helping to remove the heat out of the tissues. After thorough cooling (15 minutes), apply some fresh Aloë vera gel. To get the gel, cut off a leave of the plant, and slice it in half lengthwise. You can use the inside of the leave as a bandage or just put on the gel/liquid from the inside to the burns. It takes out the heat and the pain. You can repeat this if needed.

In the following situations, ALWAYS seek IMMEDIATE medical care:

  • burns larger than 2 cm/1 inches in diameter
  • burns on the hands or the face (in children)
  • when the burn changed the color of the skin to completely black or white (possible 3rd-degree burns)
  •  presence of other symptoms
  • when the burn is caused by electric shock

You can also use Aloë vera with other skin conditions, like rashes or scratches, to help them heal and to soften the skin. 

Please share your personal favorites in the comments! Which natural remedies do you use often?

Full Moon in Aries - 5th October 2017

The Full Moon in Aries will be on the 5th of October. Last month we were emerged in watery Pisces, diving inward, reaching for our deepest truths. Old stuff might have come up for you, and discoveries were made, and this was necessary in order to see what was real and what was an illusion. In the meantime, the new moon cycle started in Virgo and the season shifted to Fall, reminding us that the things we need to harvest were ready to reap.

When we look at the year through the eyes of nature, Fall is the true start of the new year. It's the time of death and decay. The leaves that fall now, are the fertile soil for the seeds that sprout in spring. That is why in nature-based spirituality, the Autumn Equinox is often considered to be the end of the past cycle and the start of a new year. This never-ending cyclical process is called the Wheel of the Year.

Looking back, we can see how the year comes to completion. What did you finish, what did the harvest bring you? 

It's a good idea to write down your reflections for future reference. We are now entering the dark side of the year. In winter, when you can feel submerged in darkness, looking back on a journal entry that states what was reached in a year will remind you of the process of sowing, hibernating, growing and harvesting. Being aware of this cyclical journey through the year, the process of life and death, growth, decay and rebirth, the ever continuing Wheel, provides hope when we most need it.

While you have gained clarity on the things that are most important for you, through the Eclipses and the wrap-up at the Autumn Equinox, it is now time for action. The Full Moon is in Aries, the youthful, determinedstrong and powerful warrior. Aries wants to DO something!! Just when we think things are a bit calmer, Aries gallops ahead, easily running 'head first' into war.

Meanwhile, the Sun is in Libra. Libra is all about balance. At Full Moon, the Sun and Moon are opposite each other, and the forces of Aries and Libra couldn't be more contradictory. Balance and harmony in our outer lives, conflict, and action in our inner lives

When this experience of inner tension and drive becomes the focus of attention and regarded as the truth, the outside world will be experienced through this filter as well. We tend to forget that the outside world is a projection of our inner world, as above, so below. Inner or outer conflict, in personal life and on the worldly, political stage, will find their way to us. This could play out in relationships, for example when you think that you are held back, or that your values and desires are not in agreement with those of others. Don't get carried away by it all, just notice the tension and try not to engage. Be mindful of your reactions and remain focused on yourself. It is much better to identify and battle your own demons and obstacles, this will propel you forward. Fighting with others will only slow you down. 

Aries is a sign of POWER, don't give it away!