Stress and Burnout
by Maureen Cromey
An Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Expert
“Aaah that’s it I can't go on. I’m angry, tired and cannot sleep. My sides ache, I fantasise about running away, leaving it all behind. Hate meeting new people and the only way I can relax is with at least half a bottle of wine. I need plenty of coffee to wake up and don’t feel hungry at meal times but I do love a bag of crisps down the pub. And a kebab on the way home.
My desk at work is a mess, I don’t know what is going on with my personal finances and best thing to do is take my credit card out for a shopping. I’ve loads of unpaid parking fines I’ve lost track of my finances and I can’t speak to my spouse about it.......”
This person is suffering from stress and is well on the way to burnout...
If emotions and desires are constantly suppressed, we are continually blocking the natural urge to take action and a feeling of terrible pressure builds up inside us. Our energy stops circulating and we feel blocked and stuck. This is the most common stress pattern I see in my clinic. It is called stagnation of liver qi and can be very uncomfortable. There is a range of signs and symptoms that characterise this situation, bloated sometimes painful, uncomfortable digestion, loose stools or constipation. Mood swings, feeling of depression or self-loathing. Low self-esteem, anger, obsessive and recurrent thoughts, crying, headaches, shortness of breath, attitude, apathy. Often feel better for exercise, but can’t be bothered, likes alcohol, coffee and stimulants, craves something not sure what.
There are four acupuncture points, one in each hand and foot known as the Four Gates, they open the flow of energy and let it circulate. It is like unblocking a stagnant drain and as the energy moves a clarity and feeling of relaxation envelopes the whole body. My favourite herbal formula for this is called Xiao Yao Wan which translates to Relaxed and Happy Wanderer tea. In practice someone may be trying to tolerate a situation such as a difficult relationship or job which they find very difficult to cope with. This causes continual upset and resentment as unexpressed emotions build up and life becomes chaotic. We need space and inner calm to see and to feel what it is that we need. As acupuncture helps to unblock the stagnant energy and release pent up emotions we allow change into our lives. It is not uncommon to see major life shifts happen after one or two treatments.
There are many situations we can change and those that we cannot we can approach differently. This is easy to say and difficult to do. There is wisdom in acceptance and it takes great courage to make certain changes. However when supported with something as powerful as Chinese Medicine and guided by your own clarity these things are not so difficult. We have one chance at this life and it is a terrible waste to let it slip by unhappily and unproductively.