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Built to Adapt


This week, we decided to dive into a buzz word that oft circulates around Christmas, College Finals, and impending work projects, but may not be front-of-mind when many think of summer festivities.

Dr. Gina and the Health 1st team wanted to bring this topic to the forefront because of the irregularity of our current pandemic schedule(s).  Human beings are creatures of habit.  We like to know and control and schedule and balance and have (if nothing else) a state of steadiness and routine.  COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in all of those things and dependability on one’s work/life balance fluctuates daily.

Do you remember the nerve scan that Dr. Gina ran on your first visit to Health 1st?  In summary, it breaks down how often your body spends in each of the two autonomic nervous systems-the parasympathetic (rest and digest) and the sympathetic (fight or flight).  When our bodies fall into a routine, there is a level of comfortability and a sustained base of operations that allows us to attack other intangibles.  When even our “norm” fluctuates, we find ourselves slightly more aroused or prepared to attack (aka anxiety or the sympathetic nervous system).  Think of it when our ancestors use to live as nomads and were in much closer proximity to wild animals.  Even if they felt like they had found a ‘safe’ cave; mankind’s senses were much more in-tune to potential predators than they would be in a suburban, gated community.

So why am I bringing this up?  If you feel anxious in the transition back to work or claustrophobic in your PPE gear, or fearful of the unknown, or just straight frustrated with the pandemic, and COVID-19 and racial tensions:  this all makes you one thing…normal.  If you find yourself self-diagnosed as “overwhelmed” at what used to be your regular routine, don’t despair.  Remember that our bodies are unbelievable at adapting.  Give yourself time to adjust to the new stressors.  On the same token, acknowledge how much more you, as a human being are capable of accomplishing!  “If I got through this, why can’t I…?” (insert a seemingly audacious goal).

Josh Bridges, professional CrossFit athlete and former Navy Seal, is a personal role model for your boy.  I’ve stolen one of his mental approaches towards life that was passed down to him from his BUDS instructor.  In relation to the most difficult emotional, mental, and physical test in the world (BUDS training) and the rigors that lay ahead, Bridges’ drill instructor told him and their entire class: “Remember. Men much weaker than you have passed this.”

As a competitor at any level, I hope that a fire was just lit underneath you, hearing this!  Human beings have been through the Holocaust, 2 world wars, 40 days without food, and audacious things that should not even be repeated.  All of this to say…we can get through this.  Let’s put our current predicament in a larger perspective and world view.

That being said, remember that experience is the best instructor and any adaptation feels uncomfortable to you…and to your nervous system.  If you find yourself saying that what used to be normal (work) feels so much more daunting, now, recall that your body has been in a largely parasympathetic state since mid-March!  “Embrace the suck,” as they say, understand the neurological changes that are occurring and charge straight ahead.

Finally, some tips that have been helpful, to make the transition back to working life more “doable:”

1) Be grateful.  Start off every day writing down 1 thing that you are thankful for.

2) Be excited for the future you.  Look forward to the you that is present but will be able to recall the current transition time as “building time.”  Just like a diamond isn’t forged by easy times, but by incredible heat and stress, embrace your grind.

3) Encourage those alongside you.

4) Don’t complain.  Period.  Check the frustrating things and the irritating things and the irrational things at the door (or with the Lord in prayer).

5)  Don’t seek to escape.  Embrace it and write down what you are learning about yourself in this season.

The cheesy saying goes, “Too blessed to be stressed.”  I don’t know about that, but I do know that this too will pass.  A proper mentality and realization on what is going on inside of you is very helpful as we navigate through these days.

Until next time…

Brock, Health 1st Chiropractic, CA

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