Updated: Jun 25
We somehow find time for everything. Our family, friends, jobs, phones, food, showers, but spending quality time with ourselves always seems to be lacking. Unfortunately, this is really bad news. Not paying enough attention to what is going on within yourself can have really unwelcome consequences. They might not be visible on the surface so let’s dig a little deeper to understand what can happen when we put everything and everyone first.
When the Stress Monster moves in permanently
In our world of wonders there are endless reasons for stress. Mostly psychological and social stressors. It almost makes you want to return to the times where the biggest stressors were running form a predator or not having enough food. The stress monster can rear it’s ugly head in every corner of our lives. Dealing with difficult people in our jobs, being stuck in traffic, information overload from social media or even just things that happen in our imagination can cause us to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Our nervous system is designed for occasional visits of the stress monster not having it permanently hovering over us. Not having enough time for yourself to process everything that is going on around you and taking care of your own needs can cause even more stress on top of everything else. Anxiety and fear can easily creep in because our survival instinct kicks in. Instinctively we know that we can’t keep ignoring ourselves and our needs.
Consequences of stress
Our bodies react to stress with the fight or flight response which is triggered by our nervous system. Our nervous system doesn’t ask what kind of stress we are dealing with and will give us the symptoms as if our life would be in danger. Our muscles tense up, blood pressure and heart rate shoot up, blood is pumped to the muscles of the arms and legs away from vital organs and digestion is inhibited. All so we can run away from a threat. The problem is with social and psychological stressors there is no real threat to run away from. When we feel like we don’t have enough quality me-time it can feel like a threat to our survival and our body reacts with these unwelcome stress symptoms.
It’s about quality not quantity
When we feel overwhelmed and stressed the first order of business to take good care of ourselves should be RELAX. When we kick the stress monster out and relax, our blood pressure and heart rate decreases, our brain waves slow down, muscles relax and much more. So the big elephant in the room replacing our stress monster now is the question how to properly relax? Is it enough to just flop down on the couch with some Netfilx and a glass of wine? Going to the gym or taking a yoga class? Not really.
When I worked my way back from mum burnout these things were not enough. In order to feel satisfied with my me-time I had to be more specific and most of all consistent. I needed to experience a deeper and more lasting form of relaxation in my body. I needed a Relaxation Response. Herbert Benson, a Professor at Harvard Medical School discovered the Relaxations Response. He found out in his studies that two factors have to be present to fully and deeply relax:
The mind has to be focused on something repetitive
An attempt is made to let go of all other thoughts while this attempt doesn’t have to be successful
The easiest repetitive action to focus on that we always have available to us and we all do is breathing. So focusing on the breath with the intention to to let go of all thoughts aka meditation was the solution for me. I have to admit though not all meditation practices were right for me recovering from burnout. I had to zone in on the ones that especially dealt with self-love and acceptance and put me into a deep relaxed state rather than bringing me to a different level of consciousness. These techniques actually worsened my condition and created more anxiety in me.
The magic lies in being consistent
The benefits of meditation are definitely cumulative. The more often you meditate using a meditation practice that is right for you, the better the results. In my case it took a good month of meditating everyday single to feel more grounded and connected with myself.
From a place like this it is much easier to tackle the problems at hand, like time management and making time for other things that only concerned ME. My meditation practice was 10 minutes a day every day for 30 days and it provided me with the perfect foundation to reorganise the rest of my life. Like finding a creative hoppy that gave me a sense of accomplishment and allowed me to express myself. I have to admit that sticking with a 30 day meditation practice all by myself would not have been possible in the burned out, stressed and overwhelmed state I was in. Luckily, I had the help from a mentor who served as my accountability partner and had an eye over my meditation progress every week adjusting my practice and reminding me every day to keep up my practice with supportive messages. With the foundations set I knew how to properly recharge and tap into my own superpowers.
If you are interested in a having some help you create a self care routine that you will happily stick to then click here to join my Facebook group for some free tips.
Life can be beautiful and amazing every single day. We shouldn’t get suck in all the have to’s and to do’s and loose sight of how enjoyable life can be. Life is too short to be lived in stress mode. Let’s have a chat how we can change that :-)
Looking forward to chat to you soon,
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