Are you in Survival Mode?

Posted On Nov 10, 2021 |

How are you feeling at the moment?

Are you excited to be back to normal routine?

Or are you completely overwhelmed by everything coming back at once?

I look around at the women I speak to and it feels like many are coping by going into survival mode. I recognise this well as it's been my coping mechanism for the past few years. It's got me through IVF, sickness in pregnancy, returning to work after baby while not sleeping at night, lockdown 1 and closing our clinic, reopening, losing my Dad, lockdown again and now reopening. I feel like I have fallen into and brought myself out more times than I can count... but you probably didn't even notice. 

What does survival mode mean?

  • Doing the bare minimum to keep everything functioning on face value
  • Interacting with social media as little as possible
  • Not taking on anything new 
  • Staying out of anyone else's mental overwhelm
  • Getting by and not really planning too far ahead.

I hate it when I am in survival mode but sometimes it's the best thing I can do to make sure things keep going as I don't have the option to fall apart. 

When in survival mode, the number one thing to do is rest between responsibilities.

That doesn't just mean plopping on the couch.

Rest your mind - choose mindfulness activities to unwind, like walking in the grass, gardening, walking, breathing, colouring in and meditation. Keeping your mind calm will help you come out stronger when you are ready and able.

Rest your nervous system - Our nervous system is always working to sense what is going on inside and outside our bodies. It is our bodies way of warning us of danger, putting our bodies into the fight or flight response. When exposed to so much noise and input, it can be overwhelmed. Taking steps to reduce the noise and the stressors by cutting down social media, tv, social interactions. This doesn't mean complete isolation though. You may find reaching out to someone, talking through or venting what is going on may also help lift the weight and calm you. We all feel better after a good vent right?

Rest your body - Resting your body can involve naps and more sleep. But it can also involve gentle movement that energises you, without exhausting you. I am a big fan of strength training that can be slow and steady so that you can gain the benefits without over stressing the body. You also have options like stretching, yoga and walking.

My three biggest tips for survival mode (and moving out of it):

  • Be intentional with where you spend your energy while under pressure
  • Find activities that bring you joy and energy
  • Connect with your support network - whether it's friends or a professional

So if you are feeling like all this post lockdown chaos is too much for you? Or you have other challenges in your way, know that I see you, I feel you and I am here for you. 

Remember that moving out of survival mode doesn't just happen, you do need to take steps to move forward and caring for yourself is the first and most important step.

How do you feel after reading this? Better?


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Categories: Women's Health