When I think about self-care I can’t help but think about its opposite. What happens when we don’t take care of ourselves? When we go through the day without taking down-time? If it’s only for one day the effects are probably minimal. But what happens when it’s day after day, week after week, or even year after year?
I’ve met people who go through their lives on such high alert that when I suggest they try taking 10 minutes to do nothing, the thought of it has them freaking out! And if they try to actually do it, they feel restless, anxious, upset and lost!!
And then you get people on the other end of the spectrum, like me, who constantly give all their energy away. By the end of the day they have nothing left, and their bodies shut them down. They literally can’t move off the couch until it’s time to crawl into bed.
So what’s actually happened for someone who experiences these states? It’s highly likely that they are stressed. Many people believe that stress isn’t real. That it’s some made up condition. Let me rebuff that myth.
Stress is very real. It is a physiological response to some kind of threat. It’s an instinctual event that happens automatically. You do not control it, it controls you. That is, the body response is in charge. You can however manage your response and minimise its impact on your body and your life.
Glenda from Healthy Stories recently wrote a fabulous article about stress and how you can recognise when you’re in its midst. Check it out! It also has some great tips on how you can work with your body and lessen the impact stress has.
I think the most important thing you can do with this information is to figure out what is going to work for you. We are all individuals and every single body is different. And that means we all need different strategies to help us feel calm and centred.
I know what it’s like to live in a constantly stressed body. I have lived it for a decade or more. My mind and body were completely disconnected from one another. It’s taken me a while to even figure out that what I was experiencing had the name “stress”. Working out how to reconnect my mind and body has been quite the task, and the process continues. I have taken time to rediscover how my body feels during and after exercise. I’ve taken time to discover how my mind and body feel after some guided visualisation and mindfulness practice. I’ve discovered many different things about myself. I’ve explored, tried some things out and learned a whole heap. I continue to learn. I have discovered that I really like who I am. And when I take time to regularly look after myself, I function much better during the day, I am much calmer, happier and more peaceful, and I love who I am.
Can’t ask for much more than that, right?
Are you prepared to embark on your own journey of exploration?