WELLBEING AND INVESTING IN OURSELVES
Pause just for a moment. Bring your attention to something that made you smile in the past, something you enjoyed. Something that helped you feel grounded and relaxed. Maybe it was a project or goal you achieved. Maybe it was time you spent with people you care about? Or maybe even some time alone?
Reflection is powerful in helping us identify what is important to us. It tells us what self-care can look like. Self-care is different for everyone – so it’s important that you find out what works for you.
Filling your own cup:
What you need practically, socially, and emotionally to take care of yourself changes with the stage of life you are currently living in. It may depend on your family and your commitments. Regardless, good self-care is necessary for your wellbeing and mental health. No one can drink from an empty cup. You need to regularly invest in yourself.
Mental Health is about wellness not illness. Take time to invest in your wellbeing as it supports not only your own health but your relationships, your work/life balance you’re your resilience. You are also a role model for the little people around you (and the big ones too!)
It is best to stay practical, look for the easy tools. Often, they are the ones you made time in the past and the ones that made you feel grounded, relaxed, and content! Bring these things into your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule and work towards self-care and greater wellbeing. FILL YOUR CUP!
How is your nervous system connected to your well-being?
We all know that we have nerves all throughout our body. Nerves that tell us when we are in pain, nerves that allow us to tell hot from cold, and nerves which tell our muscles to move. This is the Central Nervous System, the one that we can control with our brain and make decisions and adjustments depending on the situation we are in.
But what about all the other actions the body does without us even knowing about it or realizing? What controls our digestive system, causes us to feel nauseous, or to sweat or blush? This is all under the control of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), which most people have never heard of. It’s just as it sounds, automatic. We have very little or no control over this system of nerves, and these responses are brought on by reactions to our environment and emotions.
The autonomic nervous system consists of 2 parts: the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems.
The Sympathetic Nervous System is responsible for dealing with stress- the “fight or flight” response is the accelerator of the body. It typically speeds things up, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and our breathing, mobilising our body to protect ourselves or to run away.
The Parasympathetic Nervous System functions like the brakes of the body, typically slowing things down. It is responsible for “rest and digest” and helping to conserve energy.
When your Sympathetic Nervous System is Overactive
If your nervous system detects a threat, real or perceived, the sympathetic nervous system will trigger a fight or flight response. In periods of chronic stress, your body perceives this as a threat, and therefore your sympathetic nerves may remain in an overstimulated state. Your body is constantly in a state of fight or flight response, ready for action and on alert.
- Panic Attacks
- Poor digestion
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
As you can see the Sympathetic nervous system is responsible for many systems in your body. If it is overactive for a long time, it may be detrimental to your health.
Calming your overactive Sympathetic Nervous System
When you activate the parasympathetic nervous system (the Vagus nerve being most influential nerve here) it will calm you down.
It will reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, it will stimulate your digestion, and create an increased feeling of well-being. It functions like a natural reset button and reduces your experience of stress.
- Slow, deep breathing (diaphragmatic breathing)
- Mindful exercise
- Spending time in nature
Ask for help!
Talk to your GP or to one of our team members at PPP, we are experienced to guide you into the right direction!