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  • Writer's pictureSara

Rest, Reflect and Rewind

Today I want to explore the concepts of taking time out and resting. How often do you find that the world is spinning so fast you dare not get off in case it makes you even dizzier? Our lives are so busy and we have social media nudging us expecting us to respond instantly to any demands. I sometimes view social media like a small baby bird that is not very healthy, scrawny and underweight constantly needing to be fed. When its wailing from my phone, its like the apps are a cuckoo pushing out all of the other activities that I had planned to do. My brain just cannot cope with the constant reminders and notifications, I find myself wandering about the kitchen forgetting to fill my coffee jug with hot water, because something went ping when I got up out of the chair. This I reflected was possibly a reminder that I was overwhelmed myself. So I decided to create a visual jar and added some of the things going on in my life that are my stress rocks and pebbles. Remember some stressful things are things we enjoy or want to do, but we need to be cognisant that these things will be stimulating our physical body to release adrenaline and cortisol. Unfortunately the increase in stressors in our lives often see individuals constantly stressed which leads to chronic conditions.

If you have the time and resources you could look at the how you can reduce the stress in your lives. Tips on reducing stress include:

  • Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Get plenty of sleep too.

  • Do relaxation exercises such as yoga, deep breathing, massage or meditation.

  • Keep a journal. Write about your thoughts or what you're grateful for in your life.

  • Take time for hobbies, such as reading or listening to music. Or watch your favorite show or movie.

  • Foster healthy friendships and talk with friends and family.

The tips for reducing stress are encapsulated in the I decided to sign up for a Women's Circle activity that provided a warm and comfortable space to gather. There are ground rules which provide confidentiality and parity for all speaking. The organiser Helen Mantell sets the ground rules and provides a 'talking stick' which ensures that you are heard without prejudice. The circle does not comment or give feedback on your words. As I mentioned on my last blog being heard is so important for us to feel safe and nurtured.

Helen led the group through a breathing exercises to help relax the group and then a journey that follows the route of a guided meditation. Each section is followed by opportunities to share insight and log in our journals our experiences and feelings. Helen interjected musical moments that allowed bodies to flex and stretch to avoid later discomfort. I found the view over the river a beautiful distraction whilst moving.

A sumptuous feast of vegetarian salads about a generous stuffed mushroom, was filling and met the healthy requirements for good brain function.

Helen's circle was a intuitive way to incorporate self-healing, journeying whilst reducing stress in multiple ways. A perfect package to prepare you for Wintering.


Understanding the natural stress response

When you face a perceived threat, a tiny region at the brain's base, called the hypothalamus, sets off an alarm system in the body. An example of a perceived threat is a large dog barking at you during your morning walk. Through nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts the adrenal glands, found atop the kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline makes the heart beat faster, causes blood pressure to go up and gives you more energy. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugar, also called glucose, in the bloodstream, enhances the brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances in the body that repair tissues.

Cortisol also slows functions that would be nonessential or harmful in a fight-or-flight situation. It changes immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation and fear. (Mayo:2023)


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