In a world that idolizes rush, busy-ness and, hyper-productivity, it’s no great surprise that the natural need of our body to rest and cocoon at certain stages of the day, month, and year is often the hardest to follow through on. Alongside that, hyperactive conditions of the nervous system- modes of operating that see us moving through the day in a chronic state of activation or constant alertness to the detriment of our natural rhythms- are also commonplace.
Given that speed and energy are so often supported- even unbalanced or unsustainable versions- any indications of freeze or shutdown are the states that we most struggle with. More often than not, our response in these situations is to “add more”.
Feel like you need to cocoon on the couch? You need to go for a run!
Thoughts of hopelessness or despair running through your brainspace? You need more discipline and purpose!
Inactivity makes us uncomfortable. And what’s more, a lot of us have been conditioned to think that rest equals laziness.
In our current situation, we need to be mindful of demonstrations of the freeze response and become curious about their origins.
If you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, curling up in a ball and wrapping yourself in a blanket would be the right course of action.
Tiredness and lacking energy from sitting at the computer all day (more common at the moment than ever) requires activation, not rest. In this situation, it’s listlessness and lethargy that’s dominant; rest here would compound it, not relieve it.
In our horses, we often see the pendulum swing from being hyper-alert, spooky, and reactive to almost lazy. One minute they are kites on the end of the line and the next, we can barely get them to move.
The patterned oscillation from flight to freeze indicates nervous system imbalance. Making them “do more” or getting them going may not be the answer.
In order for us to metabolise any experience we find ourselves in, we need to be in our bodies first. Moving into flight or freeze takes you outside of the experience and away from the ability to process the moment.
Ask yourself, what energy is needed here? Is it one of activation? Or do I need to gently bring the focus back, to allow the nervous system to reset and recalibrate and then begin again from that place?
Get curious and meet the energy where it’s at.