Naturopathic guide to nervous system health and resilience

By Kirsten Taylor, Sleep Specialist

I am going to get personal. The last 3.5 years has been challenging for so many of us and affected everyone differently. COVID challenged me to my core, threatening the safety of my family, my business and my health – three things that I held closest to my heart. Losing my ability to protect them led me to develop anxiety. If this sounds familiar, or you’re in the same boat, these are the tools I have used to get my body and mind back on track.

1. Acknowledgement of where I was at with my health was the first step. I had to be real and admit I was not okay and then put a plan in place to get myself back to being okay.

2. Gain a deeper understanding of why. Resilience is more relevant to me than ever before. Resilience is defined as the ability we have to withstand or recover quickly from difficulties. Naturopathically, this comes down to how balanced our nervous systems are and whether we are in sympathetic dominance (fight or flight) or parasympathetic dominance (relaxed). My always switched on, hyper alert, hyper vigilant, hyper aware, hyper informed mental state, constantly ready and braced for danger meant that I was definitely not relaxed. Eventually I was not bouncing back, not recovering and slowly diminishing in my ability to cope with everyday matters. Resilience had left the building!

3. Becoming the conscious observer. Because of my training and understanding of the nervous system I was able to separate myself from my anxiety experiences. One such example was when I suddenly developed a fear of small spaces and too many people in an elevator brought about absolute terror and panic despite previously being able to lock myself in an underwater submarine. I was able to say to myself, “Gosh Kirsten, your nervous system must be feeling quite overwhelmed for you to be having this reaction today. Breathe. Breathe.”

4. Making a plan to recover.

5. Prioritise sleep. Yes, I am a sleep researcher and developer of the SleepDrops range of products, and I know how to sleep but I wasn’t ensuring I got a GREAT night’s sleep every night. I knew I could do better and focusing on this was a turning point to coming back to me. Waking up refreshed gave me the energy to take small steps of self-care.

6. Regular meals made with good wholesome mineral-rich foods. These helped to stabilise my energy and nourish my body and mind. Also important was taking the correct SleepDrops to control my stress hormones and feed my sleep pathways.

7. Herbal medicine to nourish and support my nervous system. The group of herbs called Adaptogens act as a panacea simultaneously decreasing stress in all body systems as well as uplifting our energy cells and calming down our nervous system. Game changing!

8. Guided meditations. As a stressed person I can’t just suddenly shut my mind off and do “thinking about nothing” meditations, but guided meditations are easy to follow and trick me into relaxation. I am particularly fond of the work of Dr Joe Dispenza and his neuroscience teachings to get us out of our victimhood and into our limitless future. Having something to feel hopeful and delighted by and letting go of the past was a turning point.

It has taken time, but I am feeling much better. In the more than 20 years that I have been a Naturopath/Wellness Coach I have not before seen such a shift in people who are now truly compelled to “do more” to take care of themselves. I want to help. I have immense compassion for people with anxiety and I now know it really can be overcome with the right plan.

If you would like a free copy of my SleepDrops – 1 Week to a more Restful Sleep Programme valued at $27 absolutely FREE please visit https://sleepdrops.co.nz/product/sleepdrops-1-week-to-a-more-restful-sleep-programme/ pop it in the cart and use the code GOOD4U when you check out.

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