Are you feeling unusually fatigued during COVID 19? Many of us are feeling more fatigued than usual during this unusual time. One of the main reasons may be that our Sympathetic, also know as fight, flight or freeze Nervous system, is being activated all the time. When we live with the unknown or without our usual routines and this creates stress and activates our Sympathetic nervous system. You may feel mentally fatigued or you may feel mentally anxious or also the feeling of being “wired” but your body physically is tired. The opposite of the Sympathetic nervous system is the Parasympathetic nervous system, as also know as rest and digest. With the added stress from COVID 19 we are more often in a state of Sympathetic dominance, or fight , flight and flee, and the Parasympathetic nervous system, rest and digest is not activated enough.
In times of stress we produce more cortisol and catecholamines such as epinephrine and norephinepharine. We only have a limited supply of these brain chemicals before they become depleted. When they do become depleted we start to rely on other brain chemicals such as Serotonin and Dopamine, which are ” feel good” brain chemicals to pick up the slack of our depleted cortisol and catecholamines. Over time, Serotonin and Dopamine can become depleted too and cause even more fatigue, insomnia, and mood disorders.
By establishing new routines, which can promote predictability and safety, this can deactivate the Sympathetic nervous system. These new routines can be as simple as regular exercise, sleep wake and bedtime schedules, or eating schedules.
If you would like more suggestions or if you think that your nervous system should be assessed further, we are here to help. I have saliva and urine tests available that test cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, GABA, among other brain chemicals that we may need to test and come up with an individual treatment plan for you.
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Take good care,
Michelle K Jackson