If you are stuck in a rut, there are exercises that can lift you out of it says DESPINA NICOLA

Last Sunday while out with my friend, I noticed how worn-out she was. She confessed to feeling overwhelmed at work and wanting to vegetate at home. I thought it natural being a single working mum.

She turned to me dog-tired and asked “why do some people take so much on, and have large reservoirs of energy left, and I turn down work offers, and still feel depleted. I have no energy to play with my son either.”

But what could have triggered her fatigue? We went back to her upbringing and broke it down. Her parents had run a greengrocer and as the oldest child she had to take on the responsibilities of the others. This meant cooking, cleaning and babysitting her younger siblings.

On the one hand she felt angry and cheated as her youth had been taken from her, and on the other she felt guilt and sought to care for her parents as they had no one else and had always financially sustained her. The household chores and looking after the siblings and then studying resulted in her total exhaustion and the ritual was to collapse on her bed every night.

This seeped into her adult life. She slept a lot and did not socialise much, but the more she disconnected the more lethargic she felt. The sluggishness spread to other areas of her life too. She did not do unnecessary jobs and was in a continuous survival state.

Being glued to the sofa with a remote control in hand and spacing out was a familiar nightly routine for Sandra. But her son was upset by it. He saw his friends’ parents present at football practice and how they would socialise after, and how his mother would sleep in the car during the game and race home to the TV.

She used the energy conservation learnt from her youth as a way to cope with life’s demands at work as she was overwhelmed. Answering to an egotistical boss, replying to complaints via emails, and training staff every day left her depleted. Then the thought of cooking, cleaning and driving her son around made her even more shattered.

She then numbed herself by devouring sugary pastries, caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol. This only led to a downward spiralling of her self-confidence. It led to weight gain, loss of conviction and the substances were causing depression. She had become tolerant to them and no amount could bring her energy back, the addiction came at a huge cost.

Her son copied her behaviour, stayed up late gaming, and did not wake up easily for school.

She felt that the more other people engaged in life the more energetic they seemed to be. Single friends of hers were not only falling in love but successfully parenting too

So, the question was how was she to release herself from spacing out every night? Also why was she so overwhelmed? Lastly, how could she undertake building a better future, for her and her son?

The answer came from a book I was reading at that time called Coming Alive, 4 Ways to Defeat Your Inner Enemy, Ignite Creative Expression and Unleash your Soul’s Potential by Barry Michels and Phil Stutz.

It involved the sun which is an endless source of spiritual energy, and the number 12 that represents the steps towards totality. There are 12 hours on a clock, 12 disciples, 12 months in a year, and the 12 Labours of Heracles. By combining the sun’s creative light and the entirety of 12 you can have a surge of energy. The exercise I adapted from the book follows;

  1. Visualise a circle of 12 suns encircled and lined up directly over your head.
  2. Bring up the energy from your pelvis or the root chakra, and activate a gentle vortex towards the suns above your head.
  3. Silently scream ‘help’ and focus intensely on your circle of 12 suns, relaxing and allowing your body to become one with the vortex.
  4. Feel the pull of the vortex as it lifts you up through the circles of 12 Suns.
  5. You go through the circle of sun’s spiritual energy and grow into a giant who has unlimited creation.
  6. You move slowly and deliberately through the world and do not resist anything.

The book talks about how the physical body can become tense and heavy. It is exhausted as it tries to acquire rewards like material things. It can be compared to a lab rat pressing a lever to be rewarded.

The aforementioned exercise helps your body to lose its heaviness. The vortex arouses the spiritual energy and is used to keep you moving forward. A state of being infinitely driven by a slow and calm but unstoppable energy which does not care for victory.

This was different from the numbing rituals my friend was performing which sought instant gratification to satisfy the ego. They led her to believe in the lie that life had passed her by, and she could not do anything.

She started to use the tool every time she was sitting on the couch and felt heavy. She also used it to concentrate on her son. At work when she felt overwhelmed by the tasks she had to do, she used the exercise to do each task calmly.

She started going out with colleagues, mixing with the parents at his son’s football games, and even going out with friends at night. She then focused on disciplining her son. She used the Vortex to keep to a bedtime and study routine. He played more outside with friends and his school marks improved and was a lot happier.