Self-Care has become buzzy. When you Google “Self-Care,” you get 2,630,000,000 results. A lot, right?
Feeling down? Self-Care! Angry? Self-Care! Nervous, depressed, tired, annoyed, frustrated, constipated? Self-Care!!!
This isn’t a bad thing. Self-Care is good. It is really, really good. We are told over and over again to Self-Care, but we aren’t necessarily told why it is important.
Here is the thing: Self-Care isn’t about having pretty nails or getting a massage once a month.
Self-Care is nervous system regulation.
Some background: Our Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) regulates the Fight/Flight/Freeze response. Your SNS can get activated for many different reasons: childhood wounding getting triggered, stress, anxiety, worry, frustration, perceived danger, etc.
When we are in a state of SNS activation, our bodies get flooded with adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones), our heart rate increases, our breathing speeds up, among many other physical responses. This is a primitive brain response and happens because our body is getting ready to fight, play dead or run away from a predator.
When we get activated or even stuck in a state of SNS activation, we need to turn on our Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), which is like a parachute, to help bring us down after we get activated.
The Parasympathetic Nervous System is like the brakes to the Sympathetic Nervous System’s gas.
Self-Care activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Self-Care is your parachute. And the more your Self-Care, the more effective your parachute becomes.
Self-Care is very important. And consistency with Self-Care is imperative. The more consistent you are with Self-Care, the better your parachute becomes at regulating your stress response.
So, get your nails done, get a massage, take a walk. Do whatever speaks to you and helps calm your nervous system. And do your best to be consistent. Consistency is the key.
More on Self-Care next time!