Episode 89: Slowness Signals Safety + 11 MORE Ways to Signal Safety to Your Nervous System (solo episode)

In this episode, I

  • share 12 ways to signal safety to your nervous system and why these signals are so nourishing to our nervous systems
  • discuss our current culture of urgency, hustling, and capitalism as the opposite of safety; it is a huge source of our individual and collective dysregulation
  • share that slowing way down is how we give the middle finger to hustle culture
  • talk about how the nervous system doesn’t operate on our schedules or care about our convenience
  • discuss conforming our lifestyles to support the body rather than demanding the body to conform to unsustainable lifestyles
  • talk about the flight state and the emotions and unconscious behaviors of this state (which is the state for which slowness is the most beneficial)
  • share ways to practice slowness with intention
  • elaborate on the role of personal responsibility in structuring a life that is supportive to healing and regulating the nervous system

About Me

Lindsey Lockett (me!) is the host of the Holistic Trauma Healing Podcast. After leaving behind the dogmas of fundamentalist religion and toxic wellness culture, Lindsey experienced her own dark night of the soul. During the healing journey that followed, she realized that trauma affects us as WHOLE people and therefore, we need to heal as WHOLE people.

Although Lindsey has benefitted tremendously from therapy and psychiatry, these modalities never totally resonated with her because she found that they forced her to fragment herself rather than heal holistically.

She set out to find an affordable and accessible approach that integrates the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and ancestral parts of our being… and discovered the magic of the nervous system!

Lindsey lives on the North Shore of Lake Superior with her husband of 20 years, their 2 teenagers, and 2 dogs. She enjoys cold plunges in the Lake, foraging for plants and making plant medicine, and shaking her booty to Dr. Dre.

Links

Transcript

Hey everyone. Welcome back. Um, I’m not really sure what is happening, but this is the second podcast episode that I’ve put out this week. Um, and after a six to eight week hiatus on the podcast, it feels pretty cool to have that creative energy and inspiration flowing again. Um, Who knows if it’ll last or not, uh, because we are going into fall and winter here.

In fact, yesterday morning I woke up and uh, I was going to the bathroom and we have a window right next to the toilet in our bathroom. And so I just looked out the window just to check out what the day was doing, and there was snow on the ground, . It snowed overnight, like an inch, and thankfully, my goodness, thankfully it didn’t last.

It had melted. Before the day was over, but it just reminded me of like, we are definitely in that transition into a season of hibernation and slowness and just winter, right? Um, and I like to live as in sync with the seasons as I can. I feel like sometimes. My body doesn’t really give me a choice, um, about living in sync with the seasons.

And here’s what I mean by that. When we used to live in, uh, towns, in cities, um, you know, the seasons were not really that important I guess. I mean, in terms of like, obviously like holidays and, you know, the kind of decor that was available at Hobby Lobby or whatever, like that was definitely, you know, a seasonal thing.

I didn’t really pay attention to, you know, having more energy in the summer and having less energy in the winter. I didn’t really put a lot of thought into fall being a season of not only the physical letting go of, you know, that the trees are experiencing, but also the symbolic letting go that fall is.

Um, and so since I’ve lived in Minnesota and have lived out in the woods, I. Been much more in tune with the seasons. Um, and we also have more seasons. Like when I used to live in Texas, you know, Texas doesn’t have four seasons, especially the Panhandle of Texas. It has like, you know, winter, fall, summer, winter again, wind, heat, dryness.

Spring for two weeks and then winter again. , I mean, it’s just, it’s so messed up. But living in Minnesota, we actually have four seasons, even though winter is at least half of the year, . Um, and yeah, I just, I have so much beauty and nature around me and like my body has synced up with the seasons and so it feels.

Great on the one hand to have this extra energy and inspiration to do two podcast episodes in one week. And at the same time, I don’t have any attachment to that being the norm because I know that I’m going into winter and I wanna slow down this winter. Um, and one of the things that I really wanna put my focus and intention into this winter is riding.

Um, I have had it on my heart to write a book for a couple of years, and I sit down every once in a while and I, you know, jot down little things here and there, but I really want to devote a lot of time to just writing this winter. And so that may mean that the podcast gets put on the back burner again, but it’s not on the back burner today.

Today I’m feeling really inspir. And I just wanna talk about ways that we signal safety to our nervous systems, and also how these safety signals are basically the opposite of everything that our current capitalistic hustling culture of urgency creates. And. Capitalism and urgency, culture and hustle culture.

They’re kind of the water that we’re all swimming in. Um, I don’t know. If in the United States, if you live in the United States or Canada, or even the Westernized world, let’s just say the Westernized world, if you live in the westernized world, I’m not actually sure that it’s possible to completely separate and divest and extract yourself from capitalism.

Um, it’s just, it’s everywhere. And you know, I live in Minnesota, in the woods, and we have friends who live even further. Off the grid than we do. I mean, we, we know people who legitimately live where they have to walk to their home because they don’t have a road that goes to their home because they live so far in the woods and they don’t have running water and they don’t have electricity.

Or maybe they have solar panels, but. They can’t run everything that I run in my house at one time on solar panels and they have outhouses and they live a subsistence lifestyle where they are hunting and gathering and foraging with the seasons. And that is the lifestyle that they have chosen. And even still, like as Anticapitalistic as that lifestyle is, they still have to.

Put gas in their cars. They still have to order some things from Amazon. Um, they still have to go to Costco and buy certain things in bulk. And so it’s just like, I don’t know, living in Westernized culture, I don’t know that it’s possible to fully divest from capitalism, although I believe in doing the best that we can.

Um, but it’s still the water that we’re swimming in, right? And so, All of the parts of capitalism, the fast paced, uh, aspect of capitalism, the go, go go. Everything has to be right now the, like microwave culture that we live in. The hustle culture and like you’re praised if you’re hustling, you’re praised if you have a job and a side hustle.

Um, the urgency. The, the grind, the eight to five grind, the the daily grind, like all of that is part of capitalism and all of it. Every single one of those things is dysregulating to the nervous system on some level. And so I wanna talk today about ways that we can send safety signals to our nervous systems, even in the midst of.

Living in capitalism, swimming in the water of capitalism. And so one of the things that I really wanna emphasize in this episode is that nervous systems heal in slowness. Slowness slowing, slowing, slowing down. Capitalism, urgency, culture, hustle culture is very fast paced. It’s very go, go, go all the time.

It’s, you always have to have 10 irons in the fire. You always have to have 10 projects going at once you’re working from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. Um, you may even not be going to bed because you’re still working. Um, things like that and like that fast paced urgency. Is so dysregulating to our nervous systems, but our nervous systems heal in slowness.

And so if we have embarked on a healing journey, which I have mixed feelings about the phrase healing journey, but if we’ve embarked on that, Journey for ourselves of coming into awareness of realizing that we have trauma that is affecting every aspect of our existence, of realizing that our personalities are actually just a collection of adaptive behaviors that we’ve learned in order to survive.

Um, we, we are putting pressure on ourselves and if we put the same pressure on ourselves to heal. That we put on ourselves and are already dysregulate, dysregulated lives, Excuse me. Our nervous systems will remain dysregulated. We cannot get well in the same environment. That made us sick. And I recognize that there’s a lot of complexity to this because you’re like, Well, Lindsay, if we can’t heal in the same environment that made us sick, and you’re saying that all of us are living under capitalism no matter how off the grid we go, then, then what?

Right? Like it kind of seems. It’s an impossible ideal, but it’s actually not, because there are some things, even if we’re still swimming in the water of capitalism, there are still some things that we do have control over, and I wanna talk about those in this episode because all of those things are ways that we can signal safety to our nervous systems.

Capitalism and our current culture puts so much pressure on us. There is not only just the pressure from our jobs, not just the pressure from raising kids. Just the pressure from paying bills, like it’s so much more than that. It’s the pressure to look a certain way. It’s the pressure to have a certain type of body, to weigh a certain amount, to eat a certain way, to be super healthy, to be super fit, to ex be accepted, and to find belonging, and to fit in and to meet other people’s needs.

There’s so much pressure in our culture. I feel like it’s like the drug that everyone is is on, and they don’t even realize. It is just this urgency and this adrenalized state to be in a state of urgency. And so if we’re putting those same pressures on ourselves in our healing as we’re putting on ourselves in our dysregulated lives, then we’re going to remain dysregulated if nothing changes.

I’m sorry. My brother is a power lifting coach and he says, If you change nothing, nothing changes. And it that applies to our healing. Like we cannot heal in the same environment. That made us sick. Part of the urgency and the hustle and the capitalism that gets put on our healing journeys is that we often have expectations and attachments to a timeline.

We want to be healed in X amount of time. We want to feel quote unquote, normal in. X amount of time or by this date, uh, we want our nervous systems to submit to our schedules, right? Like it’s not convenient for me to work on my nervous system right now. I need to wait until the weekend, or I need to wait until I have a vacation.

Our nervous systems wait for no one and nothing. No one and nothing. And it takes time to establish safety. And safety cannot be present where there is urgency and. Our nervous systems do not give a shit about our timelines, our convenience, our schedules, our nervous systems are not like only getting dysregulated when we’re not at work or when we don’t have the kids around.

Like our nervous systems are waiting for no one and nothing. Our nervous systems thrive and heal. In an environment that is opposite to the hustle, the pressure, the urgency of capitalism and our bodies. If you’ve been in a severely dysregulated state for a long time, our bodies cannot physiologically go from that severely dysregulated state to safe and calm after like a week of rest.

I’m just gonna take off work. I’m gonna use a couple of my sick days. I’m just gonna rest. I’m gonna regulate my nervous system, and then I’ll feel ready to go back to work. No, Our bodies physiologically cannot go from severely regulated to safe and calm after a nice vacation. It takes time to establish safety and we need to let go.

We need to let go of our attachments to time and imaginary. Honestly, any pressure that we’re putting on ourselves as we’re on our healing journeys, any frustration that we’re feeling because it’s taking too long, um, is taking longer than we thought it would, it’s taking longer than it should. That is only contributing to the dysregulation and that judgment that it’s taking too long.

It shouldn’t take this much time is being made from a dysregulated place, so, It’s crazy because last night I was laying in bed and I suddenly just started thinking of ways to signal safety to the nervous system. And it was cool because all of the words that I thought of started with a letter S and I was like, Oh, cool.

Nervous system safety signals. And they all start with a letter S. Isn’t that fun? Alliteration. And it really has fun. So, , I’m gonna be making Instagram posts about this because I think it’s really cool that I was able to come up with 12 nervous system safety signals and all of them start with the letter S.

So I want to share what those. 12 safety signals are first, and then I’m gonna talk about a few of them in detail. And some of them I’m not gonna talk about in detail because they’re pretty self explanatory. So the 12 nervous system safety signals that I came up with as I was laying in bed last night are slowness serene, setting, satiated salt, sugar, snuggling, sex, sleep.

Setting boundaries, a sense of satisfaction, support, and spaciousness. So if you’re ever wondering, Oh my God, how do I create safety in my nervous system? , refer to that list because all of those things are going to signal safety to your nervous system. The main one that I wanna focus on for this episode is the first one that I shared, which is slowness.

So nervous systems heal and slow. And if you are in a flight state of the nervous system. So that is sympathetic activation. Um, and the flight state is characterized by feelings of urgency, constant busyness, perfectionism, um, You know, flitting from one thing to the next and needing to keep yourself like really busy.

And if you’re not busy, then you’re anxious because it feels like something’s wrong because you’re not busy. Um, people that are flight types typically have like really packed schedules, and so they’re over scheduling themselves and. Overthinking and micromanaging everything, needing con to control everything.

These are all characteristics of the flight response, like behaviors that we have that are mostly unconscious. Um, and they are reactions to the emotions that we’re feeling when our flight response is activated, which are things like anxiety, urgency, overwhelm, panic. And fear, and our flight response is unconsciously driven by a belief that perfection creates safety and makes us worthy of.

and flight types also flee from uncomfortable emotions, from situations, from people. And busyness is a great excuse to flee because nobody’s gonna tell you that you’re avoidant whenever. You’re just so industriously. You know, staying busy and meeting everyone’s needs and cleaning your house and being perfect at everyth.

Um, flight types are massive. Overthinkers, flight types are always on high speed. Everything is high speed. And so obviously this is a really dysregulated state. And if you are a flight type, I, um, you know, same like that is definitely my default. Um, if you’re in a freeze, if you’re more of a freeze type or a shutdown type, then maybe some of.

Uh, feels like it doesn’t apply to you. Um, so maybe slowness is like not actually something that would feel beneficial if you are in a state of freeze or shut down. Um, but I still think that you’ll like this episode because. Your nervous system still needs those signals of safety. So even if slowing down isn’t a safety signal that you need right now, some of the other things like sleep and setting boundaries and calling in support and having, you know, being satiated by your salt and sugar and fat in your food, um, those things are still gonna be helpful.

But for, for my flight types, which includes myself, the slowing down is. The number one way that you can start to signal safety to your nervous system. Um, and as I was saying, nervous systems don’t operate in a way that is convenient to capitalism, uh, and that capitalism and our culture of urgency are contributing to our nervous systems feeling unsafe to begin with.

Our dysregulated nervous systems don’t wait until it’s convenient to be dysregulated. Our nervous systems are going to force us to slow down, um, before we are gonna force it to conform to our eight to five grind or our overscheduled busy lives. And if we’re willing to follow our body’s lead. It will lead us out of capitalistic, hustling and urgency.

If we are willing to follow our bodies’ lead, it will lead us to slowness, to doing things that bring us satisfaction to satiating. To serene settings to support. All of these things are the opposite of capitalism and slowing down. The reason why I’m making it, the first way that we can signal safety to our nervous systems is because slowing down is literally how we are gonna give capitalism and whole hustle culture the middle finger.

Like if you wanna flip off capitalism and our current culture that demands your busyness and bases worth on productivity and. Robs you of sleep and peace and spaciousness and extra time and slowness and all of that. If you want to give that system the bird , slowing down is the way that you do that. And in my one-on-one client work, it’s really, really interesting because.

Um, I typically work with, uh, women and they typically are in some sort of state of flight or shut down, or a mix of those two, um, where they sort of have the gas and the breaks going at the same time. And that is actually the state of freeze. And so that’s primarily who I’m working with. I haven’t ever really worked with someone whose primary trauma response is the fight state.

Um, So I’m primarily working with people who are in a state of flight, freeze or shut down. And in my clients whose primary state is flight, the very first thing that I have them do for homework is slowing down. So what does that mean? Especially whenever you can’t quit your job or, you know, just snap your fingers and make your calendar more empty.

Um, how does that look? It looks like just slowing down from your day to. Life. So if you’re washing the dishes and you typically wash the dishes super, super fast cuz you just wanna get it over with. You can use that as an opportunity to slow down and be fully present with washing the dishes and take it one dish at a time and, you know, load the dishwasher in a very meditative, satisfying way.

That is great s spatial reasoning. Um, if you are going for a walk and you tend to be a fast walker, you can literally slow down the pace that you’re walking. If you tend to be busy all the time and overscheduled and all of that, and you have some control over your schedule, you can get rid of some of the stuff on your plate.

That is an amazing way to slow down. If you typically drive over the speed limit , because you’re always in a hurry to get wherever it is that you’re going. One of the ways you can practice slowness and signal safety to your nervous system is by slowing down the car, slowing down your movements, slowing down your breath, slowing down your day, your schedule.

Slowing down when you take a shower and like really letting yourself feel the hot water on your skin and the bubbles in your hair when you soap up your hair and all of that. All of these are ways that you can slow down and slowing down signals safety to your nervous system. So I can already hear people because unfortunately cancel culture has, um, Conditioned me to say whatever it is that I’m saying, and then subconsciously start hearing people’s different responses, even if they haven’t happened yet.

So that’s what’s happening right now in my brain and a lot of the. Okay, I’m gonna use the word excuses. It is an excuse, uh, for a moment there I was like, I can’t say excuse, but I’m not gonna censor myself and I’m gonna call it how I see it and I’m gonna risk being wrong. But excuses of like, I don’t have control over that.

um, it’s privileged that you would even suggest , that I could slow down and do less like maybe you can in your life, but I certainly can’t because X, y, Z reasons. And so there’s this sense of helplessness and powerlessness of like, This is just how my life is and there’s nothing I can do to change it, and I don’t have any control over it, and I have to pay my bills and I have to live in this place because it’s the only place I can afford and all of this stuff.

And while I have so much understanding and compassion for all of that, because all of it can be true, I also know because I have had to live it myself that sometimes. A lot of the times our nervous systems are calling us to make massive changes. As I’ve said earlier in this episode, you cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick.

So if your work environment is so stressful and you feel so unfulfilled and not valued, and your voice isn’t heard, and you don’t have any light in your office and whatever else, like. You actually do have some control over that. It just, the control that you would have to take over that seems really extreme.

Same with your house. If you live in a house that’s like too small, too cluttered, you’ve got too much shit lying around. Um, it’s never clean, it’s never organized. It’s chaotic. You don’t get any, a natural light. Um, maybe I already said that. So it’s dark. The control that you have over that may seem extreme and because it’s scary to be like, Well, maybe I need to move, Maybe I need to live somewhere different.

That can seem really overwhelming for people, and so then they just reject the idea altogether. But some people don’t do this. Some people are like, Oh my God, you’re right. My job is sucking the life out of me. And they go find a different job. Or my home is sucking the life out of me, and so they do something about it or they move if they have to.

And it literally is like the level to which you do want to take your power back and you do want to not be in that space of helplessness anymore. So, as I said, our nervous systems are not gonna conform to our timelines. You don’t get to say, Okay, well I’m gonna wait until the summertime because it’s gonna be slower and the kids are gonna be home, and that’s when I’m gonna work on my nervous system.

What if it’s October and your fucking dysregulated now? You don’t wanna have to wait until summertime to do something about that. Your nervous system is not gonna wait for you to do something about that. Your nervous system is not getting the message that now is not a convenient time to heal for you.

You have to meet your nervous system where it’s at. You have to make your life conform to whatever is going to support your healing and your ongoing regulation. Instead of trying to make your body conform to a lifestyle that is unsustainable, and so you don’t actually have control over how long it takes your nervous system to heal over, how long it takes to feel regulated and safe in your body.

but that doesn’t mean that you are powerless or helpless. You actually do have control over some things. And so that’s where this list of ss of the 12 ways to signal nervous system, uh, safety in your nervous system comes in. So again, here was, here’s the list. I’ve talked a lot about slowness. That’s the first thing on the list.

The rest of the list is serene setting. Satiating, salt, sugar, snuggling, sex, sleep setting, boundaries, satisfaction support, and spaciousness. So let’s talk about how we have some control over those things. Let’s talk about sleep. I think sleep is pretty obvious, so I won’t spend a ton of time on sleep, but sleep is a massive way to signal safety to your nervous system.

And if you are a flight type or in a mixed state of, um, flight and shut down, which is freeze, then that’s where I was at. You may be experiencing insomnia. That’s part of my journey as well. I know how miserable that is. I understand why they use sleep de deprivation as a form of torture because it is absolutely tort.

So sleep is a signal of safety to your nervous system, and you do have control over prioritizing your sleep. You may not be able to make yourself sleep, especially if you’re in that, you know, gas and breaks going at the same time state. Um, so even if you aren’t sleeping or sleeping well, you can still prioritize your nighttime.

You can still prioritize what time you get in bed. You can still prioritize when you put your phone down and when you turn off the tv, and you can prioritize making your sleeping environment more comfortable, even if you’re not sleeping. Those are all ways that you can prioritize your sleep and all things that you have control over so you’re not helpless.

You do have some control over that. I listed satiated, salt and sugar. As ways to signal safety, so you do have control over what you’re eating. Being full, having access to enough food is a safety signal, and if you’re severely dysregulated, you are likely burning through calories, nutrients, and minerals really, really quickly.

This happened to me and it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced, um, when I was in a hyper adrenalized. Flight shut down, mixed state of freeze where the gas and the brakes are going. At the same time, not sleeping chronically, severely dysregulated. I was losing weight so fast, I was losing weight faster than I could eat, and I was hungry all the time.

Granted my food didn’t taste like food because at that point, like the anxiety and the panic was so bad that like my food didn’t even taste like food anymore. But I was still hungry. I was hungry to the point that I was getting up in the middle of the night to eat and. It’s taken me a couple years to kind of unpack that and be like, Why was I losing weight so quickly whenever I was eating so much?

And the answer is because I was burning through food and calories and minerals at such a fast rate that I wasn’t able to keep up with what I was eating. However, whenever I did eat during that, For a very short window of time, I felt better , like I felt more regulated, and that was another reason why I kept eating it was because that was one of the only times that I could feel okay.

Granted, I was not able to eat as much as I needed to to keep the weight on. And you know, I eventually did crash and went to the psych hospital, got on psych meds and all of that, and then gained all the weight back that I had lost. But I felt like I was struggling up and dying. I mean, I was at 120 pounds, which is like skin and bones for me, and I didn’t do it on purpose and it was extremely scary.

So, Burning through those calories and those minerals. When you’re severely dysregulated, you need to replenish. So you need to eat and you need to eat salt for the minerals. Really good salt, sugar, . Um, I know sugar has been demonized, but like legitimately, your body needs sugar. Glucose for energy. Your liver needs that glucose to get you through the night.

Without anxiety, without waking up in the middle of the night. Um, your body needs fat. Your body needs tons of protein. Um, if you are a vegan or a vegetarian trying to heal your nervous system, good luck. Like I honestly don’t know how you can do that without animal protein and fat, because those are safety signals to the body as well as providing necessary co-factors and fat soluble vitamins and B vitamins and all the things.

Also, low blood sugar often feels like anxiety. It definitely does for me. Even to this day, if I go too long without eating and I get low blood sugar, I start feeling hangry and a little bit panicky. But I’m so in touch with my body now that I’m like, Wait a minute. I know that I’m not on the verge of a panic attack.

I know that nothing is actually wrong. I’m just fucking hungry. Um, especially if you experience morning anxiety. I’ve worked with several clients whose anxiety or panic attacks were worse in the morning and. Every single time when they have increased their intake of protein and fat in the morning, their anxiety and panic symptoms decrease.

I’m not saying that it resolves it completely, but it helps So, so, so much so. Eat . Feel satiated. Give your body salt and sugar and fat and protein. Don’t worry about your weight when you’re dysregulated. Trust me, if don’t try to lose weight when you’re dysregulated. Um, for me, I, I couldn’t, I didn’t even need to try.

It was just falling off automatically. So you do have control over what you’re eating. So prioritize eating. Prioritize eating. Nutrient dense foods, animal proteins, animal fat. Don’t demonize sugar. I’m not saying go crazy and eat a shitload of sugar and definitely like process sugar is a whole different story, but like it’s really fine to have, you know, a cookie or brownie or something made with sugar or to put some honey on your toast or whatever.

Like it’s really okay. You’re not going to kill your health and you’re not going to make your gut go nuts if you have some sugar. Setting boundaries is another thing on my list of 12 things that signal safety to the nervous system. And that is something that you have control over. You actually do have control over your own boundaries, and I know that boundaries are hard and they feel really uncomfortable.

And the only way that we get better is by practicing, and that is something you have control over. Part of setting boundaries and feeling regulated in our boundaries is that we have to accept and get used to disappointing people. Our boundaries are going to disappoint people. They will let people down.

They will not please everyone. Um, but that’s how we take our power back. And we teach others how to treat us through our boundaries. We cannot heal without boundaries, and that is something we have control over. And if boundaries feel intimidating, scary, impossible for you, then I highly recommend using your power and finding some resources, find a workshop about boundaries.

Um, the book, Codependent No More is a really amazing book for just learning about codependency and fawning and how you can set boundaries. Um, There’s all kinds of resources for setting boundaries. I mean, even Instagram has good free content on setting boundaries, and it is something that you have control over.

And when you start setting your boundaries and sticking to them, you are signaling safety to your nervous system. Next on my list of 12 ways to signal safety to the nervous system is support asking for support. You do have control over that? Um, I cannot tell you how, I mean, I think literally every client I’ve ever worked with one on one, has had some kind of hang up about asking for support, Whether it’s a mom who feels like a failure, if she asks for support.

And so she won’t, because she doesn’t wanna feel like a failure if it’s a man who won’t ask for support because he feels less manly, because our fucking capitalistic culture has, you know, made. Told men that they’re weak if they need help. Um, ask for support signal safety to your nervous system. You need the co-regulation of someone supporting you.

Find a therapist or a coach. Support yourself that way. Hire a housekeeper. Utilize a meal delivery service. Ask your partner for help. Ask your parents for help if you have them. Call in your close friends. Call in your community to help you with errands and childcare and meals and co-regulation. And when you ask for support, you can free up time and energy because other people are doing things for you that are supportive and you can use that time and energy to invest in your.

So ask for support. . Uh, one of the things on the list of 12 was a serene setting. Um, you do have control over your setting and this is another one of those things where I say that and immediately in my head I hear the voices that are like, That’s privilege. I don’t have control over that. I can’t do that blood.

And blah, ah, you do have control of your setting. Spend more time in nature. You know, if it’s between coming home from work and sitting on your phone and scrolling to decompress from the day or stopping at a park on the way home and going for a walk, choose the park. Uh, go on more leisurely hikes, walks, Go sit by lakes or rivers or the ocean.

Go swimming and wild water. Do things outside. Your nervous system, loves nature. Give it the gift of nature. And then you’re setting in terms of your home space. Um, I did a podcast episode, Let’s see, what episode was that? I’m gonna have to look it up. Episode 85 was about easy ways to nourish your nervous system by getting your house in order So, The setting that you live in is literally either signaling safety to your body, or it’s signaling chaos and dis disturbance and dysfunction and dysregulation.

So give yourself the gift of organization and empty surfaces. Clean up your home space again, if you don’t have the energy for this or the time, hire someone. If you can have things like fresh flowers and pretty art on your walls. Uh, natural lighting is huge, guys. Natural lighting is so huge. If you live in a house with.

You know, that’s dark with the curtains drawn all the time, or you don’t get any natural light because your main window is looking out onto another building. Um, or you look out your window and the only thing you can see is like an eight line highway or something, um, that’s not conducive to that serene , you know, comfortable, cozy space that you need.

So you do have control over your setting and you can move if you have. . Um, and I know that might sound extreme to some people, but it’s possible. It’s so possible. Spaciousness. Spaciousness is another way to signal safety to your nervous system. You can do that in your environment. So that kind of connects with the setting aspect of things.

So like clearing off spaces in your home, having empty surfaces, you know, white space in your house. Super important, but also spaciousness with your time. Spaciousness with your time. So, I’m not really referring to your work schedule. Um, you know, you can create spaciousness in your schedule, but you may not have much control over your work schedule.

Although if you are working a job with a crazy schedule, um, then maybe it’s not supportive of your nervous system. My little brother used to work for, uh, bnsf, the railroad, Burlington Northern Santa Fe. He was an engineer in the railroad and that job was. It almost killed him. It almost killed him because of the way the scheduling was.

Like he would have to get up at 5:00 AM go get on a train for 12 hours, which he couldn’t sleep during that time cuz he’s literally the driver of the train for 12 hours, stay in a hotel. He might have gotten six hours of rest, maybe less, and then he would get another call to get back on the train and go.

He did that for years and it almost killed him. Um, he was trying to cope with the dysregulation and the lack of safety from that job through drinking. He was drinking so much to the point of blacking out. It fucked with his sleep schedule so bad that he could not sleep without using some kind of substance.

To put himself to sleep because his circadian rhythm never found an actual rhythm. Some days he was up at 5:00 AM some days he had to go to sleep at midnight and then wake up at 6:00 AM some days he was going to sleep at 10:00 AM and then getting up at 4:00 PM like his circadian rhythm was just fucked, like literally fucked.

Um, he was having to use alcohol. He was. You know, doing other things that I won’t talk about to try to sleep. His mental health declined so much. He was getting sick all the time. He was on so many rounds of antibiotics because he kept getting sick. And in 2019 he came to see me and he was just in the worst shape I’ve ever seen him in.

And he was like, Sis, I can’t keep doing this. And a month later after he left my house, he quit his job with the railroad. So I’m telling you, . It is possible. It may be difficult, but it is possible to have control over your schedule. And to create spaciousness in your life and not having spaciousness in our schedules over scheduling ourselves is a huge source of dysregulation because there’s no time for slowness, which is the number one thing that I was talking about earlier, that our nervous systems need.

So wherever you can take some control back over your schedule and create some spaciousness so that you can be slow and you can. Be instead of having to do and go and produce all the time, do it. If you ever have a doubt, always do less. If you’re ever wondering, I wonder if this is too much. I wonder if this is too many things in one day, then the answer is yes, It probably is.

If you’re having to ask the question, it probably is. So when in doubt, always do less. You do have control over choosing to do things that bring you a sense of satisfaction. You know, whether that’s something as simple as just going outside and for us stacking some firewood. You know, there is something really satisfying about stacking some firewood.

Um, and it doesn’t feel hard and it doesn’t feel like stressful. It’s repetitive, It’s instant gratification because you’re seeing the pile grow before your eyes. Um, you know, it can be really nice. I feel this way. Uh, mowing the yard, . Um, so I love, love, love using a riding lawn mower. And, um, it gives me just a sense of satisfaction to like just be driving along.

There’s not a huge sense of responsibility. I’m not on anybody’s schedule. I’m not on a deadline. I can just drive along and make my passes and go back and forth and back and forth, and every single time I make a pass, I see it and I’m like, Oh, that looks good. And it just gives me a sense of satisfaction.

What are some ways that you can bring a sense of satisfaction into your life? What can you let go of so that you can start to have more satisfying experiences? Super. I. Um, I think snuggling in sex goes without saying . You may not have much control over that, especially if you live alone or you don’t have a partner.

Um, but that co-regulation piece of being connected to another body, it doesn’t have to be sexually. That’s why I said snuggling too. Um, we snuggle with our friends like my husband. Snuggles with my friend, Honor, who has been on the podcast before. They do it in front of me. I don’t feel threatened by it.

It’s not weird. We’ve just normalized being connected with each other and showing physical affection and snuggling, and our nervous systems love it because that co-regulation is there if you do have a partner or someone you’re intimate with, the same thing can be accomplished through sex. I would even add slow, way down, slow the sex down.

It doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be wham. Bam. Thank you ma’am. We’re done in 10 minutes. Like slow it down. And then obviously like when there’s consent and boundaries and communication and all of that during sex, like that’s going to make it create like a lot of safety versus if there’s weirdness and discomfort and triggers around sex.

So, whew, that, that is a lot . Um, , I’m li I’m literally saying that nervous system work is surrender to the. If we are going to commit to healing and regulating our nervous systems, we are saying, I’m committing to surrendering to my body. I’m letting my body lead the way now instead of overriding what my body is saying so that I can be more productive, so that I can be seen as successful, so that I can be busy, so that I can be perfect.

Um, nervous system work is literally surrendering to the. It requires us to surrender our expectations to heal on a certain timeline. It requires us to surrender the urge to force our body. News flash. You are not ever, ever going to force your nervous system into safety. Your nervous system is your bullshit meter

Um, when you’re trying to force your nervous system or trick your nervous system into safety, it’s just like bullshit, and it will never. Nervous system work requires surrendering whatever parts of our lives that we’re holding onto that aren’t working. And a big piece of my work that I talk about in my nervous system 1 0 1 workshop is what I call lifestyle inflammation.

So it’s just the things about our lifestyles that are not. Supporting or aligned with creating the regulation and the healing that we desire. So that could be anything from, uh, the job you hate, a toxic relationship, a shitty diet, um, your home environment being chaotic. Or messy, um, or dirty. Um, not having enough time outdoors, not getting enough sleep.

All of those things are creating inflammation in our lifestyles. And it doesn’t matter how many nervous system regulating tools we have, doesn’t matter how much polyvagal theory we understand. Um, if, if we have lifestyle things that aren’t supporting our nervous systems and we’re holding onto them, then we’re not really surrendering to what our nervous systems are asking of.

Which is to let go of what’s not working. Nervous system work requires surrendering our hopes of, I just need to get back to normal by this date. I have this much time to heal. We have to surrender that shit. We have to surrender certain relationships that are consistently causing dysregulation, where our boundaries are consistently violated.

Where we find ourselves consistently fawning, we have to surrender those relat. Because our nervous systems are like, Whoa, red flag, not safe. We have to surrender, surrender, surrender again and again and again, again and again. Surrender. Surrender, let go, Letting go of timelines, of deadlines, of dates of.

Relationships, expectations, lifestyle things. Letting go, Letting go, letting go. Healing is a mostly subtractive process. It requires us to let go of a lot more than we’re going to pick up. It’s a subtractive process. So I hope that was helpful. Um, I really hope that that was helpful for you. And, you know, even if you are a person who likes capitalism, like let’s say you’re like, I don’t see anything wrong with capitalism.

Um, you know, I can hold space for that. And also I would challenge that with like, I wonder what purpose it’s serving for you to continue to live under this system and maybe even praise the system. When your life is dysregulated, when you’re not safe in your body, um, when capitalism is all we’ve ever known, then that is what feels safe, because that’s what’s familiar.

You know, it’s the ultimate, it’s the ultimate mind and body fuck because it’s all any of us has ever known and it’s the water we’re swimming in. And so the to then challenge it is like, you know, what the fuck? Like, I can’t even imagine. I even have a hard time imagining. Uh, living in a, a country or a place where capitalism, isn.

The umbrella under which everything else falls. Like I have a hard time imagining that. Uh, a couple of books that have been extremely helpful for me, however, to be able to imagine , um, that kind of a world. One is called The Long Descent, uh, by John Michael Greer, and the other one is called The More Beautiful World.

Our Hearts Know As Possible by Charles Eisenstein. Um, so I will link to those in the show notes. And. And as you seek to imagine a different life for yourself, what, what can you lean into that feels really yummy and nourishing and juicy? Um, for me, the things on this list, uh, of my list of 12 things that feel the most nourishing for me personally, um, are.

Spaciousness, especially spaciousness. In my days, I’m very, very intentional with my calendar and with not overscheduling myself. So that feels really juicy to me. Satiating like food for me is the ultimate nourishment. It’s the ultimate safety signal. Uh, totally will admit that I am. An emotional eater, . Um, and I don’t necessarily think that that’s a bad thing because I know that that is a way I’m sending safety to my body.

And then also slowness. Um, just being able to slow down and really be intentional and be present with whatever I’m doing instead of just hopping from one thing to the next and maybe not even finishing those tasks because I’m just so stressed. The most nourishing to me, although if I’m honest, like all of these things feel really nourishing to me.

And I just also wanna encourage you that if you’re new to nervous system work, um, if any of this sounds like, you know, you don’t understand why, why does slowness signal safety or why does setting boundaries signal safety or whatever, um, I can understand. When you start speaking the language of the nervous system, it’s like learning a foreign language.

Um, when you start listening to your body, it’s like learning a foreign language. And so I am explaining all of this in a very intellectual way that allows you to, you know, absorb knowledge and learn new things. But really there’s a difference between an intellectual understanding of something and an embodied understanding.

And so if you want some of these things, slowness, spaciousness, satisfaction, sex boundaries, if you want some of these things to go from being intellectual concepts to something that you actually can practice and feel. Then that’s the embodied understanding that you’re looking for. So there’s a difference between just having knowledge and then living that knowledge, and that’s the embodied understanding piece.

And so if that feels like weird or you know crazy or like impossible or something, then it’s only because it’s not familiar. And so I think it’s important for you to have a lot of grace and patience with yourself because whatever’s familiar to your nervous system is what feels uh, safe to you. Even if it’s not healthy or functional, even if it’s chaotic, and so it can take some time for slowness to feel safe.

It can take time for spaciousness to feel safe. If you’re used to busyness and constant productivity and constant going and doing and urgency and hustling, then slowness is gonna feel really fucking weird. Spaciousness in your days is gonna feel really fucking weird, and it might even feel triggering or dysregulating cuz you don’t know what to do with yourself and that’s.

Totally normal. I just want you to know it’s totally normal, but you can go from having an intellectual grasp of these concepts to living and embodying these concepts with practice, practice, practice, practice. If you are unfamiliar with the nervous system. The language of the nervous system, um, and you’re interested in knowing more.

Sometimes I teach a workshop called Nervous System 1 0 1. I currently don’t have any plans to teach it right now and probably won’t for the rest of this year because as I said, I am working on slowness so that I have. Spaciousness to write this winter. Um, but I will be teaching it in 2023, probably as early as January of 2023.

So there’s a wait list. You can join my wait list for nervous system 1 0 1, if that is a workshop you’re interested in taking and as. Soon as tickets are available, you can get one. So I’ll put the link for the nervous system 1 0 1 wait list below in the show notes as well. And I hope that you have a beautiful day, and I hope that your days are full of spaciousness and slowness and snuggling and sex and sugar and salt and satisfaction support.

Serenity. I want that for all of you. I want that for you. So much. And. Ooh, it feels so good to, to be able to look at this list of things that signal safety and to be able to be like, Wow, I actually am doing every single one of these things. I actually have every single one of these things. Um, and the difference that it’s made in my life is literally immeasurable.

um, like I cannot quantify it with a dollar amount. I couldn’t quantify it with a feeling. It’s, it’s absolutely immeasurable the difference that’s created in my life. And so I want that for everyone. So I hope this episode was helpful and supportive for you. If you do enjoy this podcast, it would mean so much to me.

If you could leave a review, you can either leave a star review or you can write a review and, um, tell other people why 📍 you like the show and that. Folks find this show whenever they’re searching for things like nervous system or trauma healing or boundaries or whatever. So I would appreciate it if you could leave a review of the podcast if you enjoy it, and I will talk to you next time.

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