“I can’t today, I just… can’t.” We’ve all been there. Maybe you were there yesterday, or maybe you’re there now….
It’s fair that we are under more stress than ever before.
And it’s not just the typical stress that comes to mind for most. Aside from our day-to-day stress (job, work, family), our body’s are exposed to more chemicals, pollutants, endocrine-disruptors (think plastics), light pollution, junk food, etc., than ever before. ALL of these are considered stressors on our body.
Add to that, we expect more of each other than ever before.
We’re programmed to think that doing nothing is a bad thing, especially in North America. “Workaholic” is deemed an admirable coat of honour, and it really shouldn’t be.
How many times have you judged yourself for “not being as productive as you should be”?
Our body’s aren’t supposed to function at 100% all of the time. Our downtime is just as important, if not more so than our up time. If you don’t take the time now, you may pay for it later.
Our adrenal glands, of which we have two (each sitting atop a kidney) are our stress glands. They’re responsible for producing hormones, like cortisol, which help our body deal with stress. And in today’s world? Our adrenals are getting pounded. They need recovery time too!
Your Body’s Trying to Tell you Something
So what are the signs that it’s time for you to put your judgment aside, and take some downtime?
Your memory isn’t what it should be
You’re often at a loss for words
You're more apathetic (i.e. you just don’t care) than usual
You may sleep, but you're always tired.
You can’t sleep
You wake up in the middle of the night
You’re catching more colds than normal
You’re binge-eating more than usual
You crave salty foods
You’re more irritable than normal
Maybe you’re having a hard time losing weight, especially around the middle...
What to do? READ THIS FIRST.
All the clean eating, filtered water and supplements in the world won’t make much of a difference if you are constantly judging yourself. You need to fully immerse yourself in the art of doing nothing, and love it.
10 Ways to Slow Down
Stop being so hard on yourself. It does no good whatsoever, and actually is taxing on your adrenal glands. So stop it!
Say “No” more often. You don’t have to go to every party, or drive someone to the airport every single time.
Pick one day of the week (Sunday’s a good one for many), and make that the day you are going to treat Yo’SELF. If that means sitting and binging (without guilt), napping, going to a yoga-class, reading a book, or just sitting and staring at the ceiling, do it.
Go to bed early (by 10pm). Sleep is essential for your adrenal glands. Don’t wear lack-of-sleep with pride anymore. Have a sleepy herbal tea (look for combos with passionflower, hops, skullcap, chamomile and lemon balm) an hour before bed.
Take an hour a day (at least) and put your damn phone away. Stop connecting to the entire world for one hour and connect with yourself.
DEEP BREATHE. I can’t stress this enough. Try to inhale for a count of 4, hold for 4, and exhale for 5 at least 5 times a day. This literally calms your system down.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. You’re great.
Try adaptogenic herbs. These help bring balance to the body. You can either buy them as a powder and add to smoothies, drink in teas, or take as supplements to add to your routine. Some of my favourites are Ashwaganda, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, Ginseng and Maca.
Smile, timed, for one minute. Even if you don’t feel like it. This naturally lowers your cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Cut the sugar (fruit doesn’t count). Sugar is a huge stress on the body, and causes blood sugar fluctuations that will not only exhaust you, but age you (and fast). Eat whole, real foods 80% of the time, and for that 20% - enjoy it without guilt.
Now don’t go doing nothing all the time; extremes either way aren’t good for you! But do nothing some of the time. And the most important thing, do NOT feel guilty about it.
If you intentionally decide to have "do nothing time", you'll find you won't long for it all the time. Do nothing with purpose, recognize it and bathe in it.
You are wonderful and so is your body. Listen to it and respond.
To a do-nothing day!