Every quarter I promise myself I won’t do it.
I won’t fill every single vacant slot on my calendar – already filled with Zoom meetings, classwork, kids’ sports, family events, school deadlines & bill reminders.
But I pick up my head, & there it is again. I’m staring at months’ of commitments & obligations.
Except I don’t just sign-up, do my due diligence & put a check in the box. Nope. I strive not just to fulfill those commitments, but make sure I show up.
Like, SHOW up.
Example 1: It’s not enough that I volunteer to provide snacks for my kids’ sports or activities. I have to go & get a seat on the Board.
Example 2: It’s not enough that I keep the family calendar of birthdays & anniversaries – I have to plan epic celebrations around them, too.
But, friends, I’m learning. I’m learning to be enough. I’m learning to to say “no” more & “yes” to my own needs.
One of the biggest reasons I’ve been working on this change is because I noticed the impact that same kind of hypervigilance was having on my clients’ health.
The same themes kept popping up for them as I was experiencing: Sleep loss. Digestive distress. Low energy levels. Inability to maintain or lose weight.
When we’re constantly creating an unrealistic set of standards & then criticizing ourselves when we don’t measure up? All while trying to meet the needs & expectations of others?
The answer was staring at us in the face: Chronic stress.
The tricky thing about stress is that if you spend a majority of your time that way, you won’t connect your symptoms to the issue.
OR you dismiss the stress as no big deal, just another day in the life, amiright?
Your nervous system on the other hand still experiences the biological effects of stress (no matter how much you think you can handle or enjoy being busy).
- Accelerated breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Reduced blood flow
- Slowed digestion
- Increased blood pressure
- Inhibited saliva production
All that busyness creates cortisol flooding. Cortisol is our stress hormone. When we experience stress – busy day, bad work call, frustrating kids, high intensity exercise, a driver who cut you off – all our metabolism knows is that there’s danger present & we’re going to have to run away. So our bodies give us the energy to do that by responding with a shot of glucose.
Guess what happens when we don’t run?
That glucose gets stored as fat.
How many times a day would you say you experience stress? (That’s not math I want to do, but you see my point.) That’s how many times the above biological events occur.
If you want to counteract this cortisol-fat-storage cycle, then you have to give your parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) some love.
- Try breathwork.
- Get out in nature for 15-20 minutes daily.
- Do something creative with your hands.
Remember it’s not normal to be in a fight or flight state for a majority of our waking hours. At some point, you have to flip the script.
And for the love of all that is peaceful & calm, start seeking more ways in which you can be gentler to yourself as you try to conquer your world.
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