Now. Now? Yes. NOW.
It may seem as though NOW is a ridiculous time to speak of self-care, when the US capital has been under siege and political, medical and economic unrest are afoot.
No, dear Ones. NOW is the EXACT time to speak of self-care. Because self-care is ESSENTIAL to us living our best lives, and imperative to us being able to do the hard work that is required of us at this time.
Although sometimes it feels like we cannot possible have the time or space to take care of ourselves when other things in our lives are falling through the cracks, the truth of the matter is that when we tend to our inner landscape, we are tending to the foundation of our entire lives.
Here’s a little bit of science to back me up….
Y’all have heard that we essentially have two nervous systems, right? The sympathetic (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic (rest and recover)? In addition to the obvious, the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “relaxation response” in the brain and in the body… while the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “stress response” in both the brain and body.
When life is crazy and unpredictable and when all the things we’ve relied upon are uncertain and inconsistent…. we operate heavily in “stress response”. When we operate from this place we tend NOT to see anything but how we are either going to get through the challenging moments or how we are going to escape pain (now, I am way over-simplifying this, but hang with me). So, what ends up happening is our body’s ability to heal, digest food (and life’s experiences), rest deeply AND see beyond the very obvious “threat” that is standing at our door is diminished… and if we stay here for too long, we become depleted, exhausted, and eventually burnt out or depressed.
On the other hand, if we spend MORE time in the relaxation response (realizing that there are things we can control, and doing our best to tend to those things, and letting go of all the guhzillion things we cannot control, like the stock market, other people, Covid mutations, and the economy), what happens is our body spends more time in a “softer” space… where we can feel peace, digest food (and life’s surprises), and curiously… we also are way more able to access the creative problem-solving center in the brain and the end result is that we laugh more, feel more rested, more hopeful and see more possibilities. We also have more energy and feel innately more flexible when life trips us up or sends us on a scavenger hunt for the meaning of life.
Here’s the BEST news…. the relaxation response…. CAN BE CULTIVATED…. It can be trained to be turned “on” and to more frequently rise up to be the “default operating system” in the brain and body.
So, all this to say….. tend to your five senses…. your skin, your eyes, your ears, your nose and your tongue…. take a bath, oil your body, listen to music that moves you, roll around on a yoga mat, jump on a mini trampoline, snuggle with a cat, drink warm tea and eat stewed apples with cinnamon and cardamom… do these things and more because the way you cultivate relaxation response activity is through self-care…. tending to your body, mind and heart…..
Do this and watch how your whole world changes (in all the best ways)….. NOT because the outside world has really shifted, so much… but because the lens through which you SEE the world shifts…
It ALL starts from the inside out.