It has been a devastating few months that have led to a powerful few weeks. I should rephrase this; the injustices that have happened and been given a platform to speak over the last few months have highlighted what has been systemically happening for far too long. It is time that we change. It is time that we learn, dismantle, and rebuild.
Consequently, we have happened upon a powerful few weeks. The entire country has been protesting as a way to encourage systemic change. Every individual partaking in this fight is an activist-whether at a protest, online, in their local governments, or in their friend/family circles. Activists give a voice to marginalized populations and speak up to those who are refusing to listen. This is no easy feat. In fact, it requires every ounce of effort and intention from within.
As a health coach, I want to communicate the importance of balancing stress in the body. The work of activism, especially as it relates to protesting, can be highly stressful. I want to beckon you into whole body health. It is from the place of love and vitality that you can fight, and offer love and vitality as an expansive practice and way of being.
Knowing About Your Parasympathetic vs the Sympathetic
Your nervous system is understood in two parts; your parasympathetic nervous system and your sympathetic nervous system. When we are accessing our parasympathetic nervous system, we are in a state of rest. We are restoring, rejuvenating, rebuilding, and preparing. In this state, we are digesting better, rebuilding our energy and promoting a sense of balance and well-being.
When we are accessing our sympathetic nervous system, we are going forward with what we have just prepared. We are ready to fight and utilize our energy. We are in a state also known as fight or flight.
The work of activism is literally the fight to change policy. Therefore, when we outpour through activism, we are most likely accessing our sympathetic nervous system. How can we access this if we aren’t equally balancing out our nervous system.
Accessing the Parasympathetic Nervous System Allows You to:
Nourish your body in preparation
Recharging, restoring, refueling, and rebuilding before a protest will allow your body to prepare and balance stress in the body. Strengthen your mind and your body by going inward before you go outward with your time, energy, and intention to fight for change.
Connect with yourself and your purpose
You are powerful, courageous, and making a difference! Your voice and work as an activist is so important, we need you here! The more time you give to your inner voice in solitude, the more guidance and empowerment you will feel as you walk forward in protest. Connect with yourself as you connect with your intention and purpose.
Empower yourself into motion
Your emotions are powerful and deserve a platform to speak to who you are and where you are going. They can be the rutter to your soul, shining a light on boundaries you may be missing, or injustices you may be experiencing; whether it is in relationships, with work, or amidst our country’s infrastructure.
You have a voice, and your emotions have something to say. When they do, center yourself and access your parasympathetic nervous system in order to clarify their message. Carving those neuro pathways in your brain will prove to be a strong muscle when you need to access your emotions, empowering you to move forward in motion.
How to Access Your Parasympathetic Nervous System
Move in a way that doesn’t get your heart rate up or engage in an activity that disconnects you from stress. Consider these suggestions;
- Listening to calming music
- Sitting in nature
- Going for a calm walk
- Getting a massage
It is time, and it is in our hands to ensure equality for POC. We need you here, to fight for policy change and bring to light systemic racism. If this is something you feel passionate about and are leaning into, consider the words of this article as an invitation to nourish yourself before you fight for others.
It is essential that we care for our mental, emotional, and physical health if we want to help others do the same. Let us fight for the unheard. This is an act of protest; to make known the needs of those who aren’t being listened to. To elevate the voices of marginalized populations. In the words of activist Shaun King, “help us fight for measurable, tangible, and systemic change all over the country.” Rest before you protest.