Guys, we’re in a pandemic. Basically, it’s a worldwide crisis quite unlike anything I’ve yet seen (in my adult lifetime, at least). And I am honestly just trying to figure this out myself. I have no pithy or poetic words. I’m tired and stressed and have little extra space for anything else right now with a chaotic job and all of the emotional turmoil of life. (I know I’m lucky to have a job.)
I’m going to be honest that when this all started, I made lists of things I was going to do while in quarantine. I felt a lot of pressure that I needed to record a bunch of yoga videos or write a bunch of blog posts or start a bunch of art or whatever.
But my one piece of advice? Rest. Maybe this is surprising coming from a yoga teacher. You might expect me to tell you to move, move, move. Nope.
Take a tip from my feline friend and social distancing buddy Eilonwy and cat nap like you haven’t a worry in the world.
Did you know that part of the response of the body to traumatic events or very stressful situations is to get really tired? You may feel super energized and jittery and ready to fight for a while … That’s the stress hormones of adrenaline and cortisol kicking in. But if you’ve been running on adrenaline and cortisol for too long, eventually you’re going to feel a big crash. Your body can’t take running on cortisol and adrenaline anymore. Then comes the exhaustion.
You may even feel a sort of strange mix of the two. You’re jittery and wired and can’t sleep well, and also extremely exhausted. You stop sleeping, or you wake up in the night thinking about things constantly. But you’re so exhausted, too. And even if you do sleep, you’re exhausted. All you want is to feel rested, but you just can’t seem to recover …
Does that sound like you? If so, your brain and body might be losing the ability to relax. The stress response is in overdrive, and your body just can’t maintain that for too long or it can go into a chronic state of stress. So rest is absolutely vital to help bring your body back into balance.
Jittery-ness, exhaustion, or a mix of both are a normal response that your body is having to a difficult time. Even if you don’t feel like you’re doing much right now stuck inside, you are probably processing and feeling a lot more of the stress than you may realize, and the body will eventually bear that weight.
You can actually stress your body out more by pushing it, even though it’s easy to want to when you’re feeling your stress response kick in. You may feel pressure to go, go, go or work out a lot or be doing “productive” things all the time.
And American society loves to encourage this. We’ve all seen the social media posts shaming us to keep hustling during this time, because we all have so much more down time. Hah! Please. Just listen to your body right now. You don’t have to become the next Einstein or Leonardo da Vinci during this time of collective trauma.
If you need to move, move. If you need to rest, rest. If you need to nap, nap. If you need to chill, chill. You don’t have to try to be “productive,” do a million things right now, make your kids push themselves, or push yourself. You’re going to need rest and cultivate space to relax and just be to help trigger your body into the rest response. Rest allows you to calm down and come back into balance.