Last week I pushed “Pause” on life.
I snuck away to the mountains for fresh tracks and precious family time. After the holiday season, I wanted January to be the un-busiest month of the year. I wanted to curl up by the fire and enjoy a good book. I wanted to binge watch something on Netflix and smell delicious food cooking in the oven. I wanted to contemplate 2016 and plan for the new year.
The fall had been a whirlwind that started in September with my son’s soccer season taking up our free afternoons and weekends. October flew by and felt like the calm before the storm. Next thing I knew, it was November with Thanksgiving leading into a myriad of Holiday parties and celebrations. As I frequently advise my patients to slow down to avoid the effects of stress, I tried to keep it all to a minumum. Not to over do it. But heading into New Year’s Eve, I feel like I barely avoided an avalanche of overwhelm.
Science tells us that pushing yourself, striving hard to reach your goals, and being driven all the time can lead to an imbalnce of dopamine levels in your brain. Dopamine is a highly addictive, naturally produced brain chemical that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine provides a short-term sense of enjoyment, relaxation, or satisfaction. Your body craves dopamine and you push yourself further to reach that state of pleasurable exisitence. But this striving cannot go on without rest. In order to achieve at high levels, we need to replenish, regularly.
When working as hard as we do, inevitably we start to falter, fail, and become distracted. We just don’t perform optimally all the time. Our body needs to maintain its balance so that we may have a balance of dopamine. If you haven’t taken a vacation in a long time, I want you to ask yourself why are you choosing to be so busy? Why not slow down for a moment and enjoy the present? Let your brain recalibrate so you can access the reward that comes with moderated achievement. Slow down and take a look around you. Invest some time in yourself and take some deep belly breaths.
Taking time to slow down allows me to check-in with myself and my family. When I take time off, I can refresh, recharge, and access creativity. When I take time to be outdoors: hiking, paddleboarding or just walking on the beach at lunch, I feel more balanced at work and in life. I can return to the office and be more present for you. My brain is focused and relaxed, allowing me to determine how to make my patients feel their best.
I am now back in action, refreshed, focused on 2017, and ready to help my patients reach their health goals. When we take the time to care for ourselves, we make life better for all of those who matter most to us. 2017, bring it, Dr. Goldi and Golden Chiropractic are rested and ready!