Following on from my last post about the peace I found on holiday and also because I haven’t yet got round to starting all my research on the Super Conference topics, I thought I’d write a short bit on how fatigue symptoms can be triggered by your environment.

Today it seems like everyone in our street is having their paving jet washed. There’s a continual droning coming from outside and it’s putting my system on edge. The cat has already disappeared under a bed and to be honest I want to join her!

Whilst I was still teaching I really struggled with the inevitable noise that I was surrounded by every day. I found it hard to hear what the children were saying to me. I couldn’t block out background noise to focus on what a child right in front of me was saying. I used to get tinnutis and brainfog. I’d ask a question and by the time the children answered I’d forgotten the question. I’d come home every day with a headache, ringing ears, a muddled head and a nervous system that was wound up ridiculously tightly.

When I left teaching I spent months calming my nervous system back down. Not really going out and not pushing my system beyond its limits. I’m now at the point that I’m aware when I’m in a situation where my nervous system has been triggered and also when I’m in a situation that allows my system to find calm. I know that if I go into a supermarket that is busy, brightly lit and noisy it will trigger symptoms straight away. I always used to think that this was because I was thinking about shopping or a to do list but I’ve noticed that it happens even if I’m just browsing and am totally relaxed so it must be environmental. I know that if I want to go shopping in Cardiff I’ll cope well with the quiet arcades and cafes but as soon as I enter a department store things will be set off. I struggle with busy cafes and restaurants so when ever possible if I’m meeting a friend for a coffee I’ll opt to sit outside or at least will choose a quiet cafe. The difference between being inside and outside can allow me an extra 30 minutes before symptoms appear. If I’m driving I cope much better without the radio being on.

A few weeks ago, before we went away, my two youngest daughters went off travelling around Europe. For the first week we were away but when I came back the house felt ridiculously quiet and empty. So I filled the quiet with noise. The television, the radio, podcasts. It also coincided with the Optimum Health Centre’s online Superconference so I spent many hours each days listening to that too. By the time we went away my system was super wired. I’d had a call with the Psychology team of the OHC and they’d given me a new set of tools to use that involved sitting with deeply embedded emotions. I literally didn’t do it once that week because I was so busy turning on noise. Which meant I also spent the week giving myself a hard time for not doing it!

When my system finally started to calm down in the second half of the holiday I realised how big a part the quiet around me was playing. So when we came back I kept the television and radio off during the day. I enjoyed the peace of the house and I made sure I went out walking in quiet places a lot too. I practiced the psychology tools I’d been given too which gave me scope for internal calm too. I stopped watching evening TV a good hour before I went to bed and instead had a calm Epsom Salt bath and then read. And my system has stayed calm. I can feel the difference – the calm I feel as I walk around and carry out everyday tasks. My head is less busy too. I’m more mindful and able to focus on what I’m doing.

The girls are back in a couple of weeks and I know that the house will automatically be filled with noise again. I’ve missed them loads and I’m so happy that they’re coming home noise and all. But I have learnt whilst they’ve been away that getting that quiet time is really important for me too. So I will have to make sure that I make space for it every day. Whether that’s taking myself out for walks or a quiet sit in the garden or finding a quiet place in the house. It’s impossible to avoid noise and it’s also not healthy to live like a hermit so I need to find the balance between calm time and time when there is noise and busy and lights.

Today I need to now find somewhere away from the constant noise of the jetwashing team. My shoulders are tight and I feel on edge. I think a walk is in order and cross fingers that by the time they get back everyone’s drives are sparkling!