Your body is a marvelous instrument that needs upkeep, tuning and polishing to be its best. It’s a vessel that goes through different phases. It’s is either stressing or relaxing. While stressing, it’s primary focus is on surviving. While relaxing and chilling, it’s primary focus is to deal with the backlog and clean up what was put aside for later. Both are normal.
Here is what happens:
When we push ourselves (or an outside force pushes us) our adrenals kick into gear. We get a surge of energy to deal with this. After a while, the adrenaline wears off and returns to how it was. This is normal and how the body is supposed to respond.
Some outside “force” appears. You notice that there is danger and you fight (attack), flight (run) or freeze (don’t move). In all three cases, the adrenals kick into gear to protect you.
Now, with the covid-19 quarantine, we are either hiding or freezing by staying quarantined. Some are even fighting through protests and other things. Again, this is normal, and the adrenals are kicking into gear. However, the adrenals were meant to be used for short bursts. Think of running away from a tiger.
With the quarantine, we are using them for longer bursts. In short, we are hyperaware for longer periods of time. When this happens, other body functions slow or shut down. Your body (if it were having a conversation with itself) might be saying, “Body, this is the central nervous system. We have to stay on alert. We have to deal with the most important issues first. Digestive tract, forget about digesting the food right now. Sleep? Not going to happen. Heart, keep pumping, but do it a bit faster. Just in case we need you to run. Emotions, shut down. Stuff them somewhere in your body to be dealt with later or get rid of them. Be aware. Be aware. Be aware. Our primary goal is to survive.”
This is how some people are reacting. On constant alert. Their bodies are responding to the threat. Food isn’t getting digested well, and thus, stomachs are hurting, constipation is a problem and our energy is lagging because the nutrients aren’t being absorbed. Sleep is light or disrupted. Anxiety increases. And emotions that can’t be stored are being discarded. Think about the fight you are having with your partner or kids about things that don’t really bother you.
This is what some people don’t know. We respond as we have done in the past. We act from habit. And often that habit is to keep pushing through and being hyperaware. We keep ourselves busy to avoid dealing with all the things that our bodies have been storing or putting off.
Now, with staying home, we have a new set of stresses. Some people will continue to hold onto the stress and continue to experience problems. Other people have a different response.
By staying home, we may not have enough to distract us and keep us busy. The body may start to relax.
For many, home is a safe place to relax. This is their habitual relaxing place. In addition, people have stepped off the treadmill of daily work stresses. Yes, they are working and often in a new way, but they are also not waking to an alarm clock as early as before. They aren’t fighting traffic. They aren’t rushing to drop the kids off at daycare. You get the idea. The timing is different. For these people, some may choose to actually relax. Especially, if they are trying something new such as doing meditation, deep breathing, or being grateful for extended periods of time. They are allowing their bodies to unplug from the stress.
This sounds great. Breath deeper. Relax more. Be grateful.
There is a little thing that happens though. Hint: think of all those things you have been storing in your body. All those emotions that have yet to be dealt with.
Now that your body is chilling, it strikes up another conversation with itself. “Hey, good job body. You survived. It’s time to rest and take a look at some of that stuff we have been putting off. Digestion, you can start working again. Sleep cycles, return to normal. In fact, why don’t you take some extra time and get caught up. Heart, you can help the sleep cycles and slow down. Emotions, let’s unpack you and see what we have. Again, good job on surviving.”
This all sounds great. Right? It is. However, this too has side effects. The body starts to detox and heal both physically and emotionally. Digestion working can look like going to the bathroom a lot. Sleeping can be for 12 hours at a stretch. (I’m hearing about lots of people sleeping a lot more than normal.) The heart slowing down can feel like exhaustion after a race. And the emotions, are popping up if they can be unpacked or the part of the body where they are stored speaks up. Suppressed health issues might pop up to be deal with.
The solution? Let your body lead you. Ask it questions as you set the direction you would like to go.
• Body, in this moment, what can I do to help you feel your best?
• Body, what would it take to help you detox some of these emotions that I’ve been holding onto and am ready to release?
• Body, what would you like to eat in this moment to feel your best?
• Body, what time would you like to go to bed tonight? And wake up?
• Body, my intention is to feel great. What do you suggest?
The idea is to include yourself in your body’s functions. Your body is having a conversation with itself already. Take the time to guide the conversation through questions and intentions.
Help it along by setting some intentions and asking questions. And most importantly, listen to your body. The answers will pop up as whispers in your mind or things that you become aware of or notice.
Know that what is happening can be accepted as something happening. There doesn’t have to be something wrong. It’s just going through a phase. Relax into it and set the course by setting your intentions and asking your body questions. It’s time to tune up your instrument. Be a part of the conversation.