Is your workload killing your cells?
Sitting scrolling through my emails, I came across an article by Harvard Business Review that really struck me. It was about energy and some tips on how to manage your energy during times of increased workload. As I read it, I found that it fully resonated with me. These past months I have been totally stretched with my own workload. I have said ‘yes’ to everything that has come my way and have been so grateful for what I have manifested and what is opening up for me. However, I recognise that it has been at a cost. For the first time in many years, I caught a virus, one that wiped me out and even showed up with sores, a physical reminder of just how much I was draining my body. Whilst I knew this, I still had weeks ahead of me where I would be driving myself and delivering training programmes and coaching sessions both locally and abroad, which requires mental and physical health.
When we are so busy with work, it is our energy that really suffers, and that is not just physically, but mentally. We can drain ourselves with our thinking and the loop of negative self-talk often takes over. When we are low on energy, we often find ourselves heading into survival mode, which hugely impacts the cells in our body. I recognised that my body was under attack and I had slipped into survival mode. Cellular Biologist, Dr. Bruce Lipton, identified that our body operates in 2 modes, survival or growth. When we are in survival mode, we release cortisol and adrenaline into our system, our cells have a little gate that closes in order to keep these toxins out. This is fine for a short space of time because it protects the cells, however, over sustained periods, the cells will be starved of nutrients they need and they eventually die. We have more than 70 trillion cells in our body and when we remain in survival mode for long periods of time imagine the impact this has on our overall health. Another way to explain this is think for a moment of a big castle with a drawbridge. Years ago, when a castle was under attack, the drawbridge would be raised and all the inhabitants on the inside of the castle would remain safe. Now imagine that this attack is sustained over a long period of time, eventually, the inhabitants on the inside would run low on food and water and become very vulnerable. This is exactly what happens to our cells and our bodies become vulnerable and we get sick.
So how do we get our bodies back into growth mode, where the cells are open and the nutrients are flowing freely, where we are releasing oxytocin and serotonin. Firstly, recognise in yourself what it is you are feeling. Give it a name and then accept it. Just by acknowledging that you are feeling stressed, stretched or maybe in overwhelm, makes a significant difference to your body and your cells. The next powerful thing is to breathe properly. This is the quickest way for us to bring our bodies out of survival mode because the breath oxygenates our cells. We know that meditation and mindfulness is key, yet how often do we stop for even 5 minutes and purely focus on our breath? So I invite you to find time every day to stop and breathe deeply into your stomach area, to breathe in for the count of 5 and out for the count of 7. If you do this for 5 minutes each day, you will notice the impact this has on your state of mind and your body. Lastly, drink plenty of water. We know that drinking 2 litres of water a day is good for us, but we don’t often drink enough and during times of stress our intake should be increased as this is known to restore the cells in our body and get them back into growth mode.
So as I sit here, knowing I have another week ahead of me which is taking me into my stretch zone emotionally and physically, I am reminded that my body needs me to care for it. By looking after it and nourishing it, I will be able to manage both my energy and my health. Next week will pass and I then can slow down, restore my energy and enjoy some time to live in the moment.
We all go through periods of stretch or stress, so when you do, remember to slow down, drink plenty of water and breathe through it. Once it has passed, make sure that you create some time and space to restore and replenish your energy….and treat yourself with kindness too because it is your birth right to operate in growth mode and be enjoying an energetic, healthy, vibrant life.