When we're chronically stressed out, that means that our bodies spend the majority if time in the fight or flight mode, always ready to react fast. But that causes the nervous system become really exhausted. To balance that, we have to get our bodies in to the rest and digest mode more often. This is where the true healing from burnout begins.
To understand how burnout happens and how to recover from it, it's helpful to know the body's two systems: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous system. This is what we're talking about today.
Our autonomic nervous system (ANS) has two divisions: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous System. Most people these days live their lives, the Sympathetic Nervous System on fire, and spend way too little time in the Parasympathetic mode.
Both are important because they both help us to survive, each in their own way.
Sympathetic Nervous System: Fight or Flight
When we're exercising, experiencing stress, arguing with our boss, sitting in bad traffic, dealing with difficult family stuff, then our bodies see it as a threat and want us to survive this situation (they're ALWAYS on our side!). So here's how they come to help: By activating the sympathetic side of the ANS. Here's how:
❤️ Heart starts racing ⬆️
🩸 Blood pressure goes up ⬆️
💨 Breathing becomes faster ⬆️
💩 Digestion gets slowed down or shut down ⬇️
All great, because thanks to all that we survive the tough situation. But when we're spending most of our time with our sympathetic nervous system activated, it becomes too much stress on the body!
To avoid that, we have to get our bodies into parasympathetic mode, which is easy to do when we slow down, meditate, rest, spend time with people we love, read and walk.
Parasympathetic Nervous System: Rest & Digest
When parasympathetic nervous system is activated, it allows the body to…
❤️ Slow down the heart rate ⬇️
🩸 Decrease blood pressure ⬇️
💨 Slow down breathing (such a key!) ⬇️
💩 Increase digestion ⬆️ ##
When We're Too Stressed Out, These Systems are Out Of Balance
Our current lifestyle often means that we spend way too much time with sympathetic nervous system activated, but not enough time with the parasympathetic nervous system activated. As a result, we get out of balance.
How to Relax Your Nervous System
That's why some sort of meditation or mindfulness practice is an essential part of my coaching too, because women I see are
3️⃣Tend to worry a lot
4️⃣Always on the go
5️⃣Often highly self critical…
It’s so important to take some calming breaths, eat slowly, chew the food, possibly lighten up workouts if they are too intense. All this helps to activate the parasympathetic mode more often, and significantly improve our health!
What do you do to slow down?