Resilience.. 2020 has kicked us to the curb!
Is the continued resilience of 2020 serving us, or creating something else.
Well it's officially less than two weeks to Christmas, and I'm feeling relatively calm about the whole thing, how about you? I know I've got a few last minute presents to get, but otherwise, i'm ready to start a bit of downtime fun!
Because this year has created a lot of subconscious stress and trauma for many of us. In fact, can I say all of us. Because even if we feel we haven't been affected by the massive pandemic of Covid directly in 2020, we've still been living on somewhat of a knife's edge. Not sure what rule is going to change that affects our family or our community.
Where I live up here in central QLD, the changes have been broad strokes, but the level of fear has been real. People often tell me they don't feel affected by it, yet they have had to change a lot of their daily activities in response to 2020.
Fear around getting sick (even how getting the common cold can mean we aren't able to participate as we normally would in our society, and if we do seen as a bad person)
Fear around other people (have you ever been more scared to walk beside someone you don't know?)
Fear around travel (that everyone who comes to visit our beautiful area is harbouring disease and will make us sick, so lets just isolate ourselves and stay home)
You get the drift.
It's become our normal to live in a state of fear and worry and concern for all the things that could be in the future. But what has this fear state done to our SELF. It has impacted on our resilience loading internally. When we have a low level of FEAR occurring, it impacts on our vagal state. Sounds boring... but stick with me!
Our body flux's between our states of calm/rest (parasympathetic) and fight/flight (sympathetic) autonomic nerve function. And it does this to allow us to respond appropriately to what is happening in the world around us.
Over time, if we are in a slight constant state of STRESS, like 2020, we tend to have less moments in our parasympathetic state, and more in our stressed out sympathetic state. Our normal gets reset towards the stress part of the diagram. This can be really subtle... but it can have much more long term implications than you think.
Living with a slightly tilted stress dial can impact:
our immune function (more susceptible to virus' as our internal defence systems are lowered)
sleep quality - worse sleep can create a vicious cycle in our health, and brain fog... oh the brain fog
digestive changes. When we are in low level stress mode, our digestion slows, stops and alters, meaning we don't digest well, we store fat ready for when we have to run away from the lion, and our sugar spikes and troughs a bit more roughly. Sugar cravings anyone?
cranky level. Yep... you know when there is low level stress our crank factor notches up... even when it's all year long.
reproductive system function. When our body is preparing to run away from a lion (stress response), this system isn't so important. Because when we evolved we knew we most likely wouldn't be stopping for a shag to make a baby when we were busy surviving. Chronic stress response is known to alter our hormonal functions and our cycles.
reaching for stimulants (yep the coffee and alcohol conversation again, making our rollercoaster of reliance on these good things much worse)
These are just a few, but I'm sure there are one or two that you are nodding your head along too! So where does Resilience fit in, well it's the ability for us to adapt to this and keep going. ALL THE TIME.
I'm beginning to get increasingly concerned thought that this keeping on going is really really affecting our Families. Like 100% affecting them! Because our resilience quotient, our ability to jump back into the mix and respond to a super stress response or to be able to rest well... it's all not happening like it should.
And this indicates your body needs a reset. It needs some time. Resilience has been thrown to the wall this year, and we can't keep being resilient, it's not serving us.
We need to invest in our REST! It super counter-productive at this time of the year, but there has never been a more important time to do it. True rest. With deep breathing, no technology, pure downtime.
My wish for all of you is that you can make that happen. That you can find a space to ensure you give your body what it needs. That you can get your resilience bubble back, to get read for 2021. I don't think it's going to be the answer so miraculously we are hoping for... but lets hope its the anathema to 2020.
Wishing you all a bit more or a restful christmas than usual... and a ripper of a 2021.
Yours in Health and Chiro,
Dr Ali Young
Chiropractor for Children and Families.