Are you living in fight/flight mode?
I feel like I have for a very long time. In a constant state of heightened awareness - wired but oh so tired. My phone beeps, it rings, and those god-awful red notification dots are just yearning to be clicked on. There are emails and texts and phone calls and the next job. I'm getting snacks and cooking dinner, I'm grocery shopping, there's washing and the gym and what about a quick holiday to leave me just a little more exhausted than I was before?
It never ever ends.
So what is fight or flight mode? It's a physiological response that occurs in the body when we sense danger, and a portion of our brain instructs nerve cells to release things like adrenaline and cortisol into our bloodstream. Our breath becomes rapid, our heart races, our digestive system shuts down, and we can become hot and sweaty. It's the kind of thing that happened to our ancestors when they were about to be eaten by a bear - It happens to me when my phone rings and it's a private number, so I'm talking really terrifying.
Our bodies are only meant to remain in fight or flight mode for a short period and until the physical threat has subsided. But in modern times, the threats we encounter are much less physical and much more mental. For example, we are under increasing productivity pressures, finding ourselves at deadline after deadline. We're contactable 24/7 on our phones and spend hours feeding ourselves with updates of the most exceptional parts of others lives. We look at an endless amount of photoshopped and filtered images, feeling pressure to lose weight and have the next best outfit, interior décor or appliance. Life feels like a rapidly spinning wheel, and we the mice are just run off our feet trying to keep up.
'This is me, Jess!' I hear your internal voice screaming while you scroll on the very phone I'm talking about - and it's me too! We live in a heightened state, adrenaline and cortisol pumping through us so constantly that we no longer recognise the difference anymore.
But what can you do about it? The first step is recognition - so you're welcome.
You can also try the following:
Scan your body a few times a day and see if you can notice where you're holding tension. - Unclench your jaw, relax your shoulders & take a few deep breaths. At the risk of sounding hypocritical, perhaps pop a reminder in your phone!
Remember you don't owe anyone shit - if you can opt-out of doing something or take your time with it then allow yourself to do that.
Start a daily journal and write down your thoughts. Then read back through and see if you can pinpoint what your biggest stresses are and what brings them on – recognition is the best way to a solution.
Unfollow accounts on Facebook or Instagram that you find bring up anxiety or just in general make you feel shitty.
Use the do not disturb function on your phone while your working on something, and especially make use of it overnight.
Meditate – someone told me once that the key to EVERYTHING is meditation. Once again jump on your phone and do it via an app – it's the easiest way to start.
I really do know these suggestions can feel like extra items on your to-do list, and I am the worst culprit believe me. In fact, my PT is probably reading this article thinking Jess you better start practising what you preach!
No, but honestly, these things really are so helpful. Please just be kind to yourself, look after yourself, and I promise you really can find yourself on your way to that ever-elusive relaxation state
P.S. I'd love to know how you go with these so hit me up if you give anything a go. Also, if you'd like to work on this kind of stuff a bit more then you can always book a session with me here.