Yes, it's true - as Americans we have developed a culture that looks down upon "REST." We see this is a sign of weakness, and a lack of motivation, or better yet - a lack of productivity.
I can raise my hand and admit that there was certainly a time when I thought rest was silly.
I subscribed to the thought-process that if I were resting, I wasn't accomplishing anything, and for a long time, that didn't sit well with me.
Well, if we look around, we are surrounded by people that are not well, and honestly, could probably use some rest. If we live in a constant state of GO, GO, GO - our bodies become programmed to live in "fight or fight" mode. What this means is that you're living on adrenaline fumes.
Our bodies historically were designed to have a switch that gets turned on when we're in a stressful situation. This was super helpful to our ancestors back when they were, say, foraging for food. If they came across a bear that wanted them out of its territory, their "fight or flight" response would kick in. Adrenaline would FLOOD their system and all energy would be sent to getting them the heck out of Dodge!
Allostasis is the process of how the body responds to stress. When your body is running off of adrenaline, and working in the 'fight or flight' mode, functions such as digestion are no longer prioritized. It's no wonder that our society is RIDDLED with gut issues!! Essentially, when your body is stressed, your digestive processes (among others) are slowed to a halt, and all your energy goes towards 'survival mode.' When you stay in this state for long periods of time, some of your most important functions are severely compromised.
Digestion is just one of the many pieces of the puzzle that are compromised when you don't prioritize rest in your life. Your hormones also take a huge hit! Well for starters, adrenaline and cortisol are both stress hormones that are released during 'fight or flight.' If your body is left in a state of stress for long periods of time, this can lead to serious health complications.
For women, high levels of cortisol in the bloodstream lowers estrogen levels, which can lead to a whole host of problems. For starters, this is why many women experience weight gain that they can't seem to get under control. These fat deposits tend to accumulate around the stomach and can be stubborn to exercise and change in diet. Lower estrogen levels can also lead to hot flashes, night sweats, sleeping issues and mood swings. Higher levels of cortisol will also reduce the levels of serotonin in your system. Serotonin is the 'Happy Hormone,' so when levels are lowered we can experience anxiety and depression.
All of the above can be avoided if the proper lifestyle adaptations are taken. Making rest a part of your lifestyle can save you from a myriad of health complications. For my stressed-out female clients, I prescribe 15 min of rest in the middle of every day. It's important to get your body in a flat position (preferably laying down where it is most comfortable - but if confined, a relaxed seat in the car will do), and breathe into your stomach. Attempt to limit any distractions, and JUST BREATHE - your body craves this mid-day reset, and it can power you up for the remainder of your day!
If you're still programmed to LOVE the hustle, that's totally fine - YOU GO GIRL! But make sure you're prioritizing 'YOU' time. Rest your body from time-to-time. You'll thank me in the long-run when you avoid a long list of health complications that could be knocking on your door otherwise!
If you're finding yourself having a hard time finding some CHILL in your life, I'm here for you. One of the main reasons to enlist a coach is to have someone on your side to help you achieve goals such as this!
Chill out, relax & namaste!