What and Why?
Tiredness is your appetite for rest. It arises because you are able to spend energy faster than you can accumulate it, and need a gauge to tell you how fully charged your ‘battery’ is — not any particular organ, but a whole-body function. When you feel light-hearted and ready for anything your battery is well topped up: when you need a great effort of will to cope with stress or get going on anything, it is run down.
Like all blueprint functions your battery is concerned not only with the amount of your energy reserves but also with their various kinds and qualities. If you exert yourself too intensively in one mode without a corresponding effort in all the others, you tire sooner and in a peculiarly unpleasant way — perhaps with headache, or backache , or an appetite or craving you cannot quite define. On the other hand, if the kind of resources available to you are inappropriate for making these deficits good, you cannot properly re-create yourself. But you will try. You may over-eat to appease a yearning you cannot gratify directly, or vent your frustrated aggression through sport, argument or log-splitting.
Your automatic nervous system controls this complex ebb and flow and signals its state to you as some form of tiredness. But, just as you can over-ride the autopilot and take conscious control of your breathing, so you can out-vote your tiredness and draw deeper on reserves. Their capacity is vast and can cover you through months of perpetual tiredness if need be, but all you spend must eventually be repaid. Otherwise your natural buoyancy and curiosity gives way to irritability, impatience and intolerance or frustration.
You can get into the habit of managing with a half empty battery but the signs are inescapable if you look for them. First thing in the morning when you should be at your best, you are at your least motivated and need an effort of will to get up and going. Many times daily you do what you feel you should, in defiance of what you would really like to. A lie-in makes you feel worse rather than better and at the beginning of a holiday you are like a bear with a sore head. Anything that puts you off your stride — a dental anaesthetic, for example — may set you reeling for days, unable to pull yourself together. All these are signs of your weary instincts reasserting themselves whenever you show the least sign of paying them attention.
If you do not, the process which ran your reserves down this far will exhaust them further. You will gradually become very inefficient, forgetful, nervous, depressed, or diseased in any other way you are susceptible. Eventual breakdown into stress disease is almost certain. This may take a benign form — like coming to and finding yourself alone at a cluttered breakfast table, hours after you would normally have cleared it and gone to work yourself. But it may be devastating, like a coronary or stroke.
You cannot even hold your own, unfortunately. Chronic depletion of your reserves ages you prematurely; you pay off the debt in lost years. But you need only convert a small net daily loss into a gain to put matters right. After that, recovery is just a matter of time — though quite a lot of it.
What can I do?
Advice to maintain and maximise health
1. Sit down with your partner or confidant and work out where you are going wrong. You may be giving too much, or in too narrow a band of variety; you may be receiving too little good-quality food, or rest, or personal gratification. Re-creation depends on getting the balance restored, with a small surplus of receipts each day.
2. Commence the diet for health, supplemented as for stress. Spend enough time on eating each meal to chew it well and relax into good digestion, and eat most of your energy food at breakfast and mid-day. Establish a regular meal routine and stick to it.
3. Check yourself for coldness and hypoglycaemia.
4. Stop relying on stimulants such as coffee, strong tea, smoking and alcohol. Substitute herbs like camomile, lime (linden), elderflower; roasted grain coffee substitutes; Honey Cider Vinegar and Egg Nog recipes.
5. You need an hour extra rest daily, for a minimum of several months. The best time is after your mid-day meal; otherwise when you arrive home. Get your children minded, go to bed properly and set the alarm. At first you may not sleep, guilty about being there at all. Within two days the alarm will arouse you from deep sleep, to feel groggy for the next hour. But the evening then feels pleasant and you will sleep better at night as well.
6. Your reserves cover a wide range of quality, and need to be spent in balance. A narrow monotonous job is therefore much more wearing than a varied and colourful occupation, particularly one where you can match your mood to what you do. If you are obliged to work monotonously, you need to recreate a balance in your blueprint by spending your leisure on effort of the opposite kind — perhaps exercise after office work, something restful after labouring. You know you have it right from the refreshment and ease it gives you in return for the effort you put in. You need about an hour daily and a day each week to recreate yourself from a typical full-time job.
7. Once you feel all your self-preservative instincts appropriately again and respond to them accordingly, you are on the mend — even though you feel dreadfully tired and could sleep anywhere. Your reserves will accumulate over three to six months, refreshing your youth progressively all the way.
8. Never afterwards be tempted to ignore those warning signs again, and take them seriously in your children.