Self-Care Is Nervous System Regulation
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!
This is a great post. Understanding that taking time for yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.
Thank you so much for your response. We often think of self care is as indulgence, but it is important to keep us balanced and better mamas :)