One of the simplest ways to manage stress in our highly-charged, electronic lives is to literally unplug.
Unplugging to reboot is a good concept not only for the “tired and wired” women going through menopause, but for women of all ages and, for that matter, people of both genders.
The wi-fi computer network analogy is a good one. The technology is incredible and it’s delivered convenience, immediacy and mobility. Yet like most things in life, it can break down. We’ve all had our moments when our computer network has gone down. We lose our internet connection and are forced to unplug our modem and give it a few minutes before plugging it back in again and voila, our system is rebooted.
The same principle can work for us as well. In this modern world of technology, we can accomplish more in less time and be accessible to our clients, work colleagues and others literally no matter where we are and at what time of the day. The problem is that our wired world leaves little room for the real connections that keep us grounded, balanced and healthy; relationships with our friends, family and ourselves.
The question is: When do we unplug in life? Are we always on and operating ourselves like a piece of machinery or electronics until we break down, get sick and compromise our ability to deal with day-to-day stresses? Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional or environmental, imagine years of accumulated stress on our body. Without having the necessary down time to formulate our thoughts, process events and calm our nervous system, our ability to deal with and manage stress is often compromised.
The fact is, stress in life is inevitable and “fight or flight” stress response is the very thing that can save our lives. The issue becomes when we’re under chronic stress, it plays havoc on our adrenal glands. The adrenals are the “modem” of the human body. They are responsible for every physiological process in the body. We can see how managing stress and nurturing our adrenals becomes exceedingly important as a woman transitions into menopause. When a woman’s ovaries are slowing down in their production of estrogen and progesterone, the adrenals become the backup and they’re subject to even more stress.
That’s why it’s important to take the time outs we need to reboot, recharge and reconnect. The key is a balanced outlook in life; realizing our trigger points, understanding stress signals and proactively looking for ways to unplug in order to reboot and rebalance our system.
- Smartphone holidays: Give yourself a break from the traffic jam of emails, texts and phone messages in your life. Is it feasible for you to turn off the phone one day a week? If not, is it possible to shut down the phone after 7 p.m. each night? Or for a half day on the weekend? Even the smallest reprieve from phone static can help you unplug;
- Schedule “Timeouts”: While you’re busy scheduling your commitments, your responsibilities and your to do lists, spend the time to schedule your timeouts. Those timeouts can be workouts or walks or downtime with friends. They’re as important as the two-hour block you’ve given yourself to complete an assignment. Even a 15-minute fresh air break can help you reboot! And while we’re at it, do your best to schedule vacations, however that looks for you and your family’s budget;
- Time management: Experts often talk about “working on the business” instead of just being “in the business”. For busy women, this means taking the time out to plan out the coming month, week or even the day ahead. Even setting aside an extra few minutes each day can give you the right perspective on what you have on your plate. That positive outlook can also reduce the stress or anxiety you might feel about your workload that day;
- Repetition creates habits: Repeating the same timeouts at regular intervals throughout your work week can make them second nature. Perhaps you take the dog for that morning walk Tuesdays and Thursdays? You go to the gym Wednesday and Friday mornings. You schedule a weekly visit with your friends or family night on Thursday evenings? You make Wednesday nights “date nights” for you and your partner. The more you lock in these timeouts, the more likely they are to happen for you;
- Be creative: If it’s impossible for you to schedule a one-hour work out, try booking the time to grab two sessions of 30 minutes each. You can also apply that principle to walks and other timeouts;
- Slow down: Yin yoga is deep tissue stretching. Yet it’s also a quiet practice and a great way to reboot. Some find meditation, or simply focusing on deep breathing can calm the parasympathetic system and is another way to unplug to reboot and reconnect with what’s important in life. We are all unique, so the key is to develop a system that works for you and stick with it.
- Nature therapy: There’s no better place to get fresh air than in the forest or the meadows. A trail walk is not only good exercise, it’s a good blast of fresh oxygen…not to mention, a nice change of scenery. If you’re living downtown or in an urban area, make sure to look up the green belts or parks in your city;
- Turn out the lights: An increasingly popular way for people to reboot is through sensory deprivation. Turn out the lights. Shut out the noise (even if you have to use ear plugs). Or if you have a facility in your community that offers floatation therapy (simulating weightlessness in an alkaline pool with no lights and no sound), it’s an innovative technique to reboot.
Working some of these Unplugging 101 tools into your life may help you recharge, reconnect and rebalance. Over time, they may also help decrease our auto-reflex of reaching for coffee, sugar or even alcohol to perk us up.
Those defaults are an easy go-to but they only temporarily mask the underlying issue around tapping our adrenal glands. Unplugging, on the other hand, could give your adrenals the rest they need to reboot in a more healthy and sustainable fashion.
An advocate of whole foods, supplements and healthy lifestyles, Tawnya Ritco is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and product specialist for PURICA. Follow her on twitter @Tawnya_PURICA and follow PURICA at @puricawellness
At PURICA, we’re committed to empowering you with the best in whole foods, supplements and positive lifestyle solutions. We support all athletes and active living people whatever your dietary preferences, although we will always do our part to raise awareness about the benefits of vegetarian or vegan options.