Turn off the shower before drying yourself

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Imagine that your friend calls you and complains that every morning they find it impossible to get dry after their shower. No matter how much they use their towel or hairdryer, they just stay wet. It’s exhausting and they can’t understand what’s wrong.

They’re doing all the things you’d expect when drying yourself, except for one crucial thing: they haven’t turned off the shower.

No matter how much they attempt to dry themselves, the flow of water means they are constantly soaked. It’s an impossible task.

When you point this out, they become defensive and adamant that the shower isn’t the issue. The problem is that they aren’t drying themselves fast enough, or their drying technique is poor, or that being wet is just who they are. In fact, now that they think about it, they’ve never really been dry before, so how can they possibly get dry now? What would that even be like?

Bizarre though this seems, I’ve been in that position myself without realising it. If you’re suffering from chronic fatigue, you may be too.

Chronic fatigue is perpetuated by being stuck in a chronic state of stress.

In this stress state, our body can’t heal or produce energy. When new stress loads come in, we have to use our limited energy reserves to deal with them. This increases our stress levels, making us even less able to heal, and this negative loop drives us into the ground.

When we start to recover, we do so by calming our nervous system so that we can rest and heal. Each proper rest, each real calming of the system, is like drying part of ourselves with a towel. Through the cumulative act of drying each little bit, we become dry overall.

Our existing stress loads, and new loads that come in all the time, are like the shower. This endless waterfall of stress swamps our attempts to recover and makes us feel like nothing is working. Everything we try fails and we are completely stuck.

We’ve given ourselves an impossible task without realising it. To give our calming/drying techniques a chance, we need to deal with the shower of stress first.

In reality, we can’t turn off the shower completely, or fully step away from it. There will always be stresses in life, and actually that’s a good thing. We grow and develop through moderate stress, as long as we come into a healing state afterwards.

We don’t need to check out of life to heal, we just need to correct the balance so that we are in a healing state more often than a stress state, to let us build up our energy reserves.

That means taking an honest look at the stresses in your life that have brought you to where you are. These include external stresses - people, events, situations - and internal - our approach to life and the psychological patterns that influence how we view stress.

Then taking steps to reduce these as much as needed until your stress load is manageable enough that your methods of calming yourself have a chance to work, and that fluffy towel can work its magic.