Last week we had the opportunity to chat with holistic health coach, Jade Dinsdale (of Jade Holistic), about how we can help ourselves find rest during this current season of life. You may have seen Dinsdale in our recent videos on how to make a Golden Milk Latte and a Vegan Coconut Latte.
If you’re interested in Dinsdale’s holistic health coaching services, you can check out her website
The Better Normal: Okay, so today I wanted to pick your brain a bit about how to find true rest during this weird time. I know you’ll have some awesome thoughts on what we can focus on while we stay home every day.
Jade Dinsdale: Sweet, yeah we can definitely do that!
TBN: I guess I could have phrased that as more of a question.
JD: Haha, no this is great. So yeah, it’s pretty crazy because Americans are constantly moving at an extremely rapid pace. And I think because of this, people don’t really know how to even be with themselves. This time, as difficult as it is for us, might invite people to really slow down and connect with themselves a bit more. Having a forced time of rest like this, they can access more of the parasympathetic nervous system.
TBN: Okay you may need to help me with what a par-a-something…did you say nervous system?
JD: Yes the parasympathetic nervous system! The parasympathetic nervous system is when we access our state of calm, or honestly for me it’s just a fancy word for your body being at rest. It’s when we are resting, rejuvenating, restoring, and preparing. When we are at rest, we are naturally giving our bodies the nourishment it needs.
TBN: That’s fascinating. I sort of feel like I don’t give my body much time throughout the day to be in the parasympathetic at all.
JD: Exactly! Most of us don’t naturally. I think it’s also important to note the opposite of parasympathetic, which is the sympathetic nervous system. Our society spends a lot of time accessing the sympathetic nervous system.
TBN: So if sympathetic is the opposite of being in rest, then does it mean that our bodies are in a state of panic?
JD: Yes, sometimes, but It can look like a few different things. So when we access the sympathetic nervous system, we are accessing that “fight or flight” mode that is an instinctual feature of humanity. This is when your body actually releases more adrenaline into your system if you see something that scares you or if you need to protect yourself. Your body does this so you can run faster, be stronger, and think more clearly.
TBN: Oh, that’s so interesting. So going back to you saying that we as people are constantly moving at a rapid pace these days…are we in sympathetic mode most of the time then?
JD: We definitely are, but that wasn’t always the case. Think about way back in the day when people were hunters and gatherers. We as humans lived in communities where people would prepare food together, spend downtime with fellow tribe members, care for one another, and connect with nature on a daily basis. People were accessing the parasympathetic the majority of the time. They were nourishing their bodies as much as possible by moving with the rhythms of the earth, the sun, the moon, and the people around them.
This was so that they could prepare to access the sympathetic when they needed it. If they had to hunt for their food, or if a dangerous animal would enter the village, they would be ready to access their “fight or flight.” But this happened far less often than when they were resting.
TBN: Ahh, okay. That makes perfect sense. So you’re saying that now we kind of do the opposite, maybe?
JD: Exactly! We used to spend more time at rest than we did stressed. Now, we are stressed more than we are at rest. Most of us aren’t worried about hunting for our food or running from danger, so our stresses now look like us consistently working long hours, worrying about finances, or looking at our phones or computers all day long.
We are way more disconnected from the earth and the people around us than we were before. Our “sympathetic” in the modern day looks a lot like our bodies being in a state of stress and panic. We are not accessing the parasympathetic nearly as much, and we are overworking ourselves to try to stay afloat.
This makes it hard to rest, hard to play, and hard to eat. And even when we do find time to eat, we aren’t giving ourselves time to actually absorb the nutrients that we need.
TBN: Wow, you just blew my mind. I’ve never thought about it in that way before. So back to your earlier point…you’re saying that right now, more than ever, we kind of have the perfect opportunity to learn how to access more of our parasympathetic nervous system.
JD: Absolutely. There are a lot of ways we can cultivate inner rest while we are being asked to stay home every day. Sometimes, the idea of sitting still in a house is more stress-provoking than anything.
But if we can lean into this idea of connecting with ourselves again, it can help us access the parasympathetic. So that could look like mediating, journaling, eating whole foods that don’t have a ton of processed sugar, and maybe staying away from caffeine.
And if you can, you can even try spending more time outdoors and in nature. This could be as simple as going on a walk or setting up a blanket outside somewhere. If you have a backyard, spend time out there. Try spending time away from your phone screen, your computer screen, and your tv screen.
TBN: That’s amazing, and so helpful to hear. It feels like a very doable way of tapping into rest.
JD: Definitely, and rest might be the most important thing to focus on during all of this time we are spending at home. We can use this as a time for resting, restoring, and connecting.
TBN: Wow, thanks so much, Jade! This has been super helpful. So if people have more questions about this or want to talk with you about what you offer as a holistic health coach, should they just go to your website?
JD: Awesome, thank you so much! And yeah that’s perfect. They can reach me there or find me on my Instagram @jade.holistic