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Aug 262015


One of the main things I speak to my coaching clients about is noticing when their lives reach a bump in the road. I don’t mean the huge, life-changing experiences that can either make us or rip us to shreds- I’m talking about the roads and paths we take every day. You’re ticking along and everything’s ok until you wake up one morning with a fuzzy head, or you’re so achy that you have to spend the day in bed.


Image taken from here

Everyone has a different ‘slow it down, man’ symptom or set of symptoms- mine is a sore throat and slightly swollen glands. If I wake up with these symptoms, I know that something I did or the way I reacted to something the day before was completely out-of-whack and out-of-line with that loving, easy side of me that my soul loves so much.

This morning was one of those days. As you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting on the blog as much as I would’ve liked recently. My work schedule has completely changed, meaning a big change in my body clock and priorities. Unfortunately, this is all still quite new and I haven’t found a way of nailing my self-care practices in between running around, teaching and paperwork. Yesterday, I felt like it was all too much. I couldn’t get to sleep as quickly as I would normally and worried into the night about lots of tiny insignificant things that in the grand scheme of life don’t really matter too much. I was completely out of alignment with my true self, so it’s no wonder I woke up this morning feeling less than wonderful.

So, where had I been neglecting myself? I hadn’t meditated properly in a few days (I only managed 5 minutes instead of my usually 25-30, telling myself that I had too much to do) and my yoga practice has not been as regular as I would’ve liked. In times of stress, my usual non-negotiables fly out the window, even though I know my spirit and body need them to thrive and live.


Spotting Your Relapse Triggers

Spotting your own personal triggers can guide you to prioritise yourself even more in times of stress of worry. As many of you know from reading my story and from your own experiences, ignoring your these warning signs and ploughing on anyway can often lead to long period of illness, anxiety or, in my case, CFS/ME.

Have a look at this list and see if you recognise any of these as your own physical ‘warning signs’-

  • muscle spasms/aches
  • headaches/migraines
  • sore throat
  • dizziness
  • heart palpitations
  • feeling like you’re breathing too quickly
  • swollen glands
  • fatigue
  • colds/flu
  • dry or dull skin
  • just feeling ‘meh’

Now look at these emotions or circumstances and see if any of your physical symptoms tie-in with them:

  • not feeling good enough, so why bother?
  • feeling disappointed in yourself or someone else
  • trying to hold on to a situation when you should just let go
  • trying to control the outcome of too many things at once
  • feeling silent anger or resentment that’s been building gradually
  • rushing around to please others and forgetting about yourself
  • not sticking to your guns and going with what others expect from you
  • feeling like a fraud because things are going too well (trust me, this exists!)
  • fear of any kind

In my experience, lots of niggling physical symptoms point to something else, some other area of your life which isn’t balanced. I don’t mean to say that people can’t get sick with the flu or a stomach bug- I’m talking about those sneaky ‘something’s not quite right’ symptoms. Take a step back, and ask yourself it there’s something else at play here. Get honest.

I’d love to hear your comments below- what are your ‘slow down’ warning signs and what are they telling you about your emotions?

Love and ease,

Katie     xxx


  16 Responses to “How To Spot Your Relapse Triggers”

  1. Once we start to pay attention, it’s fascinating the connection between the body and the mind, isn’t it? I notice that I start holding my breath when my stress and anxiety is getting out of control. Often, I don’t actually manage to notice until I find a moment of stillness and find myself exhaling strongly. This often occurs on my therapist’s couch. That’s when I realize that I’ve been shallow breathing for days! I release that breath when I have a chance to slow down, as you say.

    Sending good vibes your way and hoping you can tweak your schedule in a way that allows you time to breathe ;)

  2. Katie,

    I’ve noticed a “slow it down” pattern arise within myself over the last several months. Generally, my triggers are anxiety, stress, tightness in the shoulders, overall irritation or frustration or no desire to do what I love most – work on my blog. While I’ve inadvertently noticed these things crop up and I’d take steps to slow down, or, actually, take less steps, I never tied two-and-two together. Its just been an increasingly natural process. (Keyword – increasingly; as in, not always.) Thanks for this clarification. This will be on my mind!

  3. MIne are headaches or dizzyness and wanting to do lots of things, as if they were to be right now. I realize they can wait days, but I get in an spiral of wanting it NOW. Then, I fall down. I’m working a lot at this issue, but not always am so conscious I’m getting to it.
    Very useful point. Thanks and wish you find your solution and take care of yourself

    • Casanna, I know that feeling well. It’s very tempting to lose yourself in ‘feeling busy’ to ignore other feelings (I used to try and do a lot of house work!).

      Take care my love- xx

  4. Thank you so much for this post Katie. It really resonated with me, especially the ‘fraud’ bit, which led me on to read your ‘Imposter syndrome’ article. I really struggle with this. I can’t work out whether or not it is perhaps because I haven’t quite accepted it that this is one of my challenges in life – the challenge being the cfs/ME. I still question whether or not I could be doing more on a day to day basis, and whether or not I am ‘bad enough’ (i.e ill enough) to not be working etc. Someone mentioned another CFS sufferer the other day in passing and mentioned that she was ‘really bad’ and in a wheelchair. Of course, he meant no harm by this, but suddenly I felt as though I am a fraud and should not be where I am. Does that make sense. It’s such a battle for me and I think I waste a lot of energy to worrying about it. Do you have any tips to help me overcome this? The truth is I know that I’m not well enough to be out and about and working on a regular basis, but I seem to hold a lot of guilt and/or shame about it, possibly because I do have some moments where I feel ok ish. I tend to give myself a hard time in those moments and forget that I also have days/weeks where I feel awful. Thanks you so much for reading, I think this is a real ‘biggie’ for me and it’s all a bit confusing so any advice would be so appreciated:) xx

    • Erica my darling, I think you definitely have accepted your illness, but instead of enjoying and feeling ‘light’ when you have those moments of feeling ‘ok’, you’re wasting that precious energy by feeling guilty. You’re not used to feeling ‘ok’, so you’re automatically pushing this feeling away. There is nothing to feel guilty for. You are what you are, you are how you are and it is what it is. That’s not to say that this will stay the same every day, but you shouldn’t compare yourself to how other might or might not be feeling. The only person you can look after is yourself and the only body you have is yours.

      Even though you seemed unsure at the beginning of the paragraph of whether you should be working or not, you then got honest with yourself and realised that you knew deep down that you couldn’t. This is sometimes how our minds speak to us during this illness- they say we’re ok, but then deep down, we know we still have a little way to go.

      This is your healing journey my love and no-one else’s. Try to focus on how you can feel good right now instead of comparing yourself to how others might be feeling. It’s tough, but you’ll really give yourself a break this way.

      Sending you love of love and light my lovely- xxx

      • Thank you Katie! Sorry my response is a whole 8 months later…I am not sure how I managed to not respond to this…goes to show how challenging my brain fog has been this year (definitely one of my more difficult symptoms of late..!). I have managed to work a lot on the unhelpful thoughts around what others might be thinking of me, which has lifted a weight off me, thanks goodness. And in the process have become less critical and judgmental about myself. Thank you so much for your kind and wise words Katie. You’re great! ps I hope your hip is doing ok..:) – one day at a time. Love and light to you too..:) xxx

        • Sending you so much love, Erica- brain fog can be so frustrating and debilitating, I totally understand how you must be feeling. Good for you for doing lots of the ‘inner’ work.

          Thanks for being here my love- look after yourself- xx

          • Thanks Katie, you too…:)
            I’m learning that you can’t rush these things, just keep putting one foot in front of the other…and keep doing the best we can. It’s all a process…lots of love to you. xx

          • That’s all we can do, beautiful- take good care of yourself.

            Lots of love, xxx

    • I hear you !! It has taken me 18 months to finally accept / surrender to my CFS.

  5. Dear Katie u know i suffer from fibromylgia and had a double mastectomy 4months ago… Can u please explain to me what is fibro fog and if it happens how do I know it… Judy

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