Last time we talked about seeing the same patterns of adrenal fatigue play out in our thought experiences of an either hyper or hypo response to stress.
I want us to look, today, at the way our culture assigns value and what happens if we buy into that definition for ourselves.
Our society hails productivity of the epitome of a valuable and worthwhile life. For many of us, our days seem wasted if we don’t have something to show for them.
Think for a moment how you feel when you’ve been given a free hour in the day if you don’t “use it to it’s max.” How do you feel if after the hour is gone you haven’t “done” anything—no items checked off your list, no errands run, nothing cleaned, no emails answered or calls made, nothing tangible produced?
Most of us would feel a sense of “wasted” time.
Our culture accepts the hyper response to stress as full of merit. While it demotes the hypo response as a sign of weakness or laziness.
So as long as we can keep ourselves in a strung out, go-go-go, overdrive, hyper-productive mode, we’re good. Just keep ringing the bell, keep asking our bodies to pump out more, keep chugging the next cup of coffee or grabbing the next sugar-fueled bar and push through the exhaustion.
What is happening is that our sense of validation and sense of value is becoming directly linked to productivity.
But here’s where it all falls apart. Just because you are always busy doesn’t mean you are actually productive.
In fact, the great likelihood is that you are far more counterproductive on exhausted overdrive than ever. But the fear of letting off the gas runs culturally deep.
That’s why I talk about how important it is to establish a new culture of vitality for our own personal life. Until we start to really excavate our own definitions of value and worth and reconnect them to vitality, well-being and harmony we are doomed in this cycle of overwhelm.
You are not a weak mom if you need to give your body, mood and mind the nourishment, nurture, rest and healing it needs.
You did not fail your family if you need to slow down.
You are not lazy if you need to rest.
Everything in nature was designed with vital checks and balances. Cycles provide an inherent way of harmony.
I want you to think about your day. Let’s do a time audit together.
From the time you wake until the time you go to sleep, where are your down times? When do you engage in activities that refuel you, that help you rest and recover, that allow you to engage pathways of calm, creativity, connection and clarity before you go back into the world more equipped to do the work of the day?
I often share that self care is like an old Western-type fence. With the wooden horizontal posts stretching out held up by vertical posts.
The weight a fence can handle is based on two things: (1) the strength of the vertical posts and (2) how close the vertical posts are placed.
If your life feels heavy right now, look to your vertical posts. How often do you have vertical posts of support in your day? How often are you putting in posts of self care and well-being?
Let’s begin by brainstorming a list of self care practices that can act like vertical posts in your day. Small but strong tools that keep you feeling replenished during the day.
These could be drinking a glass of water, eating nourishing foods—most especially in a calm, mindful way, deep breathing, limbic calming practices, naps, stretching, listening to music you love, spending some time being creative, movement- exercise, dance, walks, time of journaling, prayer, or meditation, connecting with friends, connecting with your spouse.
Think about actually putting those vertical posts in first. Could you experiment with just one day where you scheduled in times of restoration and self care and then allowed the rest of your day to fill in around that?
The more our days honor the whole person we are, the more our sleep can do what it naturally is meant to do…and that is to heal, restore and refresh.
The thing is we rush head-long into our nights on such manic overdrive that our bodies spend our sleep trying to come off that imbalanced high.
I know so many moms, myself included for years, who could have a full night’s sleep and wake up exhausted. It wasn’t until I changed my DAYS that my nights began to transform.
ACTIVITIES & QUESTIONS
1. When you’re given a free hour, whether it’s time without the kids, a canceled appointment, or whatever, how do you use that time? Do you consider rest a valuable use of that time in theory? In practice?
2. Do you have down time built into your day? Looking at your schedule, where could you add down time to your current schedule?
3. Make a list of self-care practices that can act as vertical posts in your day. You might not do them all every day, but make a list that you can pull from as needed.