RITUALS REGULATE REST and REPAIR
An overtaxed nervous system is like a runaway train!
Physicists have discovered that the cosmos is actually spinning outward with ever increasing speed…which really does make it seem to us like “time is flying” incredibly fast. It’s easy for our modern mantra to become “rush, rush, rush”. We have so much to juggle, in what feels like massively less time, that our body systems are all going haywire. Our sleep is disturbed, our natural immunity is breaking down, our minds are full of constant worry, and the pace makes it seem there’s no way out. We have to interrupt this vicious cycle in order to survive these times, let alone reestablish our quality of life.
To restore our body’s natural rhythms, it is absolutely essential to allow time to rest. No race car or airplane can stop on a dime without a crash…there’s always a period of deceleration involved; then, sliding into the parking gate for service. Our living bodies need that same kind of transition. Personal rituals are a dynamic way to create that.
Ritual doesn’t have to be long and involved. i don’t know many people who have much leisure time. However, short rituals dedicated to slow and reset your body clock can and do change how you feel. Without meaningful breaks in our lives, inner agitation and tension build up. Simple healing rituals become something to look forward to outside the stress and chaos of every day.
My teachers insisted that busy people (like all of us!) need to block out 3 hours per week as personal time off. But sometimes that 3 hours can sound like more stress than it might solve. Then what? Create shorter healing rituals that make your heart scream “YES!”. Choose any simple pleasure, from a walk to an art project, taking a bubble bath, making herbal remedies for yourself, or getting a massage. Make healing dates. When couples or groups of friends do this together, the effects are intensified and everyone has more fun. String your shorter rituals together to increase your retreat time when you can.. First, just create the habit of stopping to attend to your health. Start putting breaks somewhere in your week, in order to rest and reset.
Our bodies operate on circadian rhythms, 24 hour cycles of waking activity, rest and sleep. A simple morning and evening ritual of self care may be the best remedy for restoring your health, sleep, and peace of mind. Here are some simple and effective time-tested ideas.
Regularity: Start getting up at the same time every day, with some quiet time for yourself before serving your family or your work. If you suffer from fatigue, it may seem contrary to force yourself out of bed even earlier than you must, but just like a good breakfast, quiet time for self-care and meditation early in the morning sets the tone for your body, health and life.
Regularity: Go to bed at the same time every night. Plan a half hour for self-care to help switch off your active mind and transition your body for sleep. Use passive restful Yoga poses and slow breathing to this end. Or have warm, calming tea, and your candle-lit bubble bath at this time.
Regularity: Nervine and Adaptogenic Herbs: Nervines like camomile and passion flower are relaxing to the body and mind. Adaptogens like tulsi and ashwaganda balance your stress response and strengthen your nerves. Unlike drugs, herbs work synergistically inside us, and directly increase our body’s innate ability to heal. Tinctures and teas are easy and effective. (nb: if you have concern over alcohol-based tinctures, put your tincture drops in hot water or tea; the alcohol will quickly disappear)
Regularity: Go get a monthly (or weekly) massage. Our bodies hold our life story. Chronic stress builds inside until it breaks us down. Stuffing down pain is a survival mechanism. Ultimately, “we can’t fool Mother Nature”. We need some help and time to unwind the places our bodies hold on tight.
Regularity: If you’ve been living with a nagging pain that comes and goes, and gets worse under stress, please attend to it. Constant low-level agitation indicates an overtaxed nervous system battling fight-or-flight ( or “sympathetic hyper-arousal” in medical terms). Sustained physiological stress disconnects us from our bodies, which makes life feel even more unmanageable than it may already be. Structural Bodywork, Structural Yoga, CranioSacral Therapy, Chiropractic and Massage , as well as breathing meditations, are excellent and highly advanced approaches to reset your body systems. Find the practitioners your resonate with, and go see them more than once! Your body and nerves need to integrate the shifts and changes over time to make them last. Deep healing can be accomplished in regular short bursts. If your body likes and trusts the expert you choose, it will respond with delight and enthusiasm, healing organically from within.
Rituals Regulate Rest and Repair. Just start somewhere. Choose one suggestion from the above list, and dare to break the cycle of mounting stress inside. Within a month or two, you will be surprised at how much stronger, happier, and more connected you feel!