People who are ill with ME/CFS tend to be workaholics and overachievers. They think their self-worth is determined by how much they do and what they achieve. That mentality means you neglect your needs such as food, water, sleep and time to relax and leads to burn out and chronic fatigue. This is what happened with me.
ME/CFS sufferers are often keen to get back to work as soon as possible and are not keen to take the time needed to rest and heal. All their lives they have worked hard to prove to themselves that they are good enough. They were brainwashed at school that they are only as good as their grades. They often had workaholic parent or parents who criticised them a lot so they worked hard to get their approval by being overachievers. This behaviour continued into adulthood. They are perfectionists who never feel good enough, despite achieving more that most people.
I know that I am a workaholic who finds it hard to relax. I have to make time in my busy schedule for relaxation including meditation, yoga and walking in nature on a daily basis in order to stay healthy.
Ways to relax include:
- Taking a nap
- Reading a book
- Walking outside in nature
- Sitting and watching the sky
- Epsom salt bath
- Listening to relaxation music
- Patting a pet
- Sitting in the sunshine
- Focusing on the breath
I only started to heal when I accepted I could no longer work and do as much as I used to do. When I let go of validating myself by societies high standards and just be myself. It is enough to just be.
The information in this post is my opinion and stems from my experiences with ME/CFS. I know many other people with ME/CFS who also had this tendency to push themselves too hard before they got ill.