Refocus Your Survival Mode

Howdy, y’all! It’s been a few weeks. My New Year’s resolution to post at least once a week has obviously gone out the window. Sadly, this time was due to lack of time.

The last few weeks have been chock full of two jobs, bachelor parties, weddings, and medical appointments. Most of it was run-of-the-mill, and even my extracurricular activities were of the fun variety. However, what little free time I usually had to rest or catch up on work/sleep quickly disappeared.

I stretched myself out way too thin. My sleep schedule became erratic. I literally took naps in my car between clients. I lost sleep trying to keep up with paperwork. I fueled my body with easily double my usual caffeine intake.

Unfortunately, feeling overwhelmed kicked in my stress response. Once activated, I kicked into survival mode. All long-term goals and premeditated thought out the window. My brain relied on short-term relief and fulfilling urges. These were not a good combination for me and often fed into higher stress levels.

As always, that is exactly what started to happen. I was living moment to moment and let go of the day-to-day tasks that often kept me afloat. I didn’t give a shit about my diet. If I had an urge, I wanted to follow through on it. I wanted to just procrastinate and have fun.

I have to say that thankfully I did not do anything stupid, but it was interesting to see how far I diverged from my values and goals when my stress response took over.

I spoke to my health coach about this issue (especially given that my health, nutrition, and fitness goals have suffered multiple times for this reason). I got to explaining this most recent hiccup to him. He agreed that it can be difficult to focus on long-term goals even when we are doing well. It is even harder when we live in a society full of immediate gratification. I mean you can literally order something from your phone and it is there overnight.

He also acknowledged how my stress response could become majorly problematic and could take focus away from important goals.

He pointed out a middle ground though. Why not focus on the short-term positives and relief that I get from my moment-to-moment decisions? It made sense. Feed into the short-term survival mode, but adapt it in a way that will lead to better decisions and build momentum towards the bigger goals.

I liked it. It was a gray area that I could use even in black-and-white situations. I knew it would take a conscious effort to change it. All I know is that I’ll put the effort forth if it means betterment for my well-being.

– The Caring Counselor

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