Do you find yourself rushing around with no time to take care of yourself? Do you have trouble turning your brain off to fall asleep or have trouble staying asleep? Do you feel anxious, but don’t know why?
You are not alone. We live in a stressful world and it is affecting our health. To give your body a chance to rest, repair and digest you must find a way to move out of the sympathetic mode (fight, flight and freeze) and into the parasympathetic mode (rest, digest and repair).
Running from a bear is the same stress on our body as driving in traffic.
There are 3 easy steps for you to implement into your daily life to take care of yourself and find and keep your health.
- Move -your body directs its energy to get you away or fight in times of stress. You will have more energy in your muscles. Where does the energy go if you don’t get a chance to fight or run away? It turns into knots and pain in your shoulders or low back. Moving at least 20 minutes every day gives your body a chance to flush the stress hormones out so it can go back to resting mode (parasympathetic). I recommend a walk in nature during lunch, but exercise class after work or yoga in the morning also will give you a chance to switch gears. Some days the best you may be able to do is park far away and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Breathe -deep belly breathing has proven to activate the vegas nerve to turn off the flight response (sympathetic) and turn on the rest and repair mode (parasympathetic). This is easy to fit into daily life. Try deep breaths each time you drive and stop at a red light. Set your timer at work every two hours get up and walk down the hall paying attention to filling your lungs and completely exhaling each breath.
- Say “NO” -we as a group are overscheduled. We need to take time for ourselves to get away from screens, phones and obligations. You can have control of your schedule and it is ok to say no. What are your priorities? If an obligation or invitation doesn’t match up with your priorities or values you owe it to your health to say no.
No one is going to do this for you. Only you can make these small, but important changes in your life. A daily practice of moving and breathing and protecting your self care time can add vibrancy to your life. You deserve health and happiness!