Why Doing Less Could Keep You Healthier
With all the concern going on surrounding the coronavirus it seems like a lot of people are getting more and more stressed. While I'm not an expert on this virus or a medical professional, I do wonder if doing less might be more beneficial than tiring yourself out hunting down the last bottle of hand sanitizer.
Sometimes the most stressful things are the things that we have very little control over. Sure, we can take precautions, but there isn’t really much we can do in this case. But our minds keep trying to figure out a solution, wondering what else to do or get to stay healthy, and thinking about all the things that could go wrong or cause illness. And while all this is going on the body is in a state of running and the sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive. This constant state of ON causes us to be worn down and makes our immune systems vulnerable.
So, what’s the answer? Maybe nothing. And by that, I mean doing nothing - or basically just doing less. At least for a period of time - every day.
Slowing down with purposeful restorative rest turns on the rest and digest system the parasympathetic nervous system. When we want to stay healthy and prevent illness, then we want to keep our immune systems in its best possible state, we need to take the time for self-care.
This doesn’t mean scrolling on your phone or binge watching Netflix on the couch - these activities are still stimulating to the nervous system (and a lot of the social media posts right now are pretty stressful!). Take the time to literally do nothing but go within and observe.
Things like meditating, taking a mindful walk, just sitting and drinking your coffee without watching the news or checking your phone - these are all things that let your mind just be in the present moment and wander a bit.
Slowing down with a gentle or restorative yoga practice, sound healing, or taking a reiki session can put your parasympathetic nervous system into the driver's seat for a bit, giving the body time to heal.
In a time when we feel like we have to do more and more, maybe doing less and slowing down might be best. It might be especially hard to quiet your mind if you were to slow down now, but just coming into some stillness and noticing your breath and your thoughts can have significant restorative benefits.
How are you handling the coronavirus situation? I am currently going about my normal business with working, taking exercise classes, and going to stores. Everyone is responding differently and that’s all valid. My slowing down is my meditation practice and walking my dog.
Do you have a slowing down practice that you can use during this stressful time?