Six Ways to Balance Your Nervous System
Everything seems to be sped up right now and as we head into the holiday season, there’s even more risk of over-committing and adding to the stress of the season.
Fear not! I've got six simple strategies to nurture and balance us in the face of stress:
- Set Healthy Boundaries. Carve out time to be alone and rejuvenate. For me, it doesn’t happen unless I put it in my calendar. It’s not always easy to turn down dates for tea or dinner, but when it’s in my calendar, it helps me honour myself. In the long run, this benefits others because I have more to give. Making a firm commitment to myself reminds me it's not negotiable. The more we feel obligated to live up to the expectations of others, the more taxed our nervous system becomes.
- Breathe. A) Simple Breathing: On your inhale, say to yourself “inhaling” and as you exhale, say to yourself, “exhaling.” Continue this rhythm for 2-5 minutes. B) Equalizing Breath: On your inhale, count the length of the breath and then as you exhale, try to exhale to that same count. Set a timer and practice for 2-5 minutes.
- Relax with Music. Try listening to music without lyrics. Words can trigger us and take us out of a restful state by stimulating our nervous systems through our old beliefs and patterns. My favourites are Solace by Tom Kenyon, Bija by Todd Norian, or my ambient music CD, Inspired Release.
- Watch your Caffeine. Caffeine revs up our nervous system and puts further strain on our adrenals. It hasn’t been easy for me to give up caffeine, but I stopped during a cleanse and realized how exhausted I was. I was relying on caffeine to keep me artificially going. My new favourite coffee/tea substitutes are licorice root, nettle leaf, and spearmint herbal teas. I also love Teeccino chicory coffee substitute.
- Practice Stillness. Stillness can include everything from meditation, journaling, to walking in nature. Try taking even a few minutes each day to sit in stillness and listen to your body and heart. Journaling isn’t everyone’s thing, but it helps me reflect on life’s challenges and integrate the changes in my life.
- Restorative Yoga. Try Mountain Brook Pose. Grab two blankets (or large towels), and two smaller towels, and roll them. Roll them to fit in the curves of your body. Place one under your ankles, one under your knees, one at the low back curve, and one under your neck. Lie down, close your eyes, and practice the equalizing breath. If you find it hard to slow down, sign up for a weekly restorative class. If your nervous system needs a complete reset, join me in January for a restorative yoga intensive in London, Ontario.
It's easy to get caught up in the adrenaline of fast-paced living and ignore the body's need for deep rest and rejuvenation.
This holiday season, give yourself the best gift possible—the gift of self-care.
What gift will you give yourself this holiday season? Let me know, in the comments below.
In rest and relaxation,