You're not alone if you feel frazzled and exhausted by the end of the work week. While our fast paced age of technology has done wonders for keeping us connected like never before, it comes with a price.
Used to be you only got your adrenals fired up when tigers and lions were chasing you. As soon as the threat was handled, your adrenals would settle down and you'd return to a calmer and more steady pace.
When you're at work, managing the tigers of deadlines, unhappy customers, unruly students and the abundance of stressors that frequent your day to day life, your nervous system operates from a state called sympathetic dominance. When you meditate, rest, do yoga and take time to “smell the roses” you operate from parasympathetic dominance.
You need to if you desire to be focused instead of foggy, energetic instead of exhausted and fit instead of fat.
You see, in sympathetic dominant mode, your digestion slows down, the valves between the various parts of your digestive tract tighten (leading to constipation and abdominal discomfort), and the high level thinking part of your brain, the prefrontal cortex, is inhibited, your hippocampus, gate keeper of your short term memory, gets damaged and DHEA, sometimes called the anti-aging hormone, decreases. The end result is you feel bloated, foggy headed and worn down.
In parasympethic dominant mode, the opposite happens. Your digestion becomes more efficient, your prefrontal cortex is enhanced, your hippocampus repairs and DHEA increases. As a result you feel calm, clear headed and focused and young.
By you may be wondering how to lengthen your stay in parasympathetic dominance.
Start by using my 3 tips to make your weekend count. They will put you into parasympathetic dominance and enable you to rejuvenate before starting the hectic pace all over again on Monday.
Make the weekend count by using it to regroup and give yourself the gift of self care.
1- Set aside 30 minutes for you! Go ahead and look at your calendar and schedule it in. And KEEP the appointment with yourself. Do something you love to do. Take a bath, lay in the sun, read a book…just do something that's strictly for you. You'll feel rejuvenated as a result.
2- Take time several times a day to express appreciation to someone, to yourself or to the universe for the blessings in your life. Studies have shown that 30 seconds of appreciation is the most effective means of restoring balance to your system. The Institute of Heartmath has performed dozens of studies on the benefits of appreciation.
3- Take some extra time to sweat. Yes, sweat. When researchers analyzed the sweat of participants after exercise, they found it loaded with toxins. Exerting to the point of a good sweat has many benefits with regards to cardiovascular health, hormone balance and detoxification. And surprisingly they found that the sweat after running for 30 minutes was more full of toxins than the sweat produced in a sauna. If you use your weekend to sweat away toxins, you'll feel more focused and peaceful when you start the week again.
If you find yourself thinking, “I already know that” in response to the simplicity of these tips, ask yourself this: “Am I taking action?”
Many of the people I work with in group programs and individually are looking for the more glamorous solutions to their health challenges and fail to handle the underlying sympathetic dominance.
Sympathetic dominance is a real problem. No matter what herbs, supplements and foods you eat to support your tired adrenals, if you just keep forcing them to work hard, you won't be able to restore them. And burned out adrenals can lead to thyroid issues, hormone imbalances, insulin resistance –which contributes to excess belly fat— and chronic fatigue.
I urge you to slow down and use the weekend to restore balance. Once you get that piece wired, we can talk about how to increase your parasympathetic dominance during the week.
To find out the impact of sympathetic dominance on your health, you can answer a set of questions, check physical signs, look at a few markers in routine blood work and even order specialized hormone tests.
In my new course, Assess Your Own Body Chemistry I teach how to evaluate for signs of nutritional deficiency and hormonal imbalance.
Love, Health and Gratitude,
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