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Just Jana: The Key to Unwinding from a Stressful Day

By Just Jana | Just Jana

Dec 24

The Key to Unwinding from a Stressful Day

On this week’s episode, Jana unpacks the concept of ‘unwinding’ at the end of a long day—a struggle all mom bosses know too well. Jana explores how the key to relieving stress actually lies in understanding our nervous system. When we let our ‘fight or flight’ response dominate our ‘rest and digest’ system, we fall out of balance, leading to those tear-soaked mornings and high-stress evenings. This episode shares simple tips to start to nurture our nervous systems, reset our mindset, and overcome our Medusa-mom moments in order to be more impactful, both at work and at home. 

As the mom of a “nocturnal” teenage boy, Jana knows the struggle of waking up in the morning, fighting to get the kids out of bed, shouting through the bathroom door, and just generally feeling less like a mom boss and more like Medusa, with snakes in her hair and tears in her eyes. These crazy stressful mornings leave us wanting to rewind and start the day over before it has even begun, activating our ‘fight or flight’ senses and leaving us functioning poorly all day. It’s important to recognize that these Medusa-mom moments happen. However, when we understand our nervous system, we can work to change our perspective and improve our quality of life.

Although it may sound like a boring biology lesson, it’s important to understand that the nervous system has two parts: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. If we imagine ourselves as prehistoric mom bosses, furrowing for berries while our men are out hunting, and we hear a sound rustling in the bushes, the sympathetic nervous system is what lights up. The sympathetic system is that ‘spidey sense,’ or women’s intuition that tells us that something is up. It is our ‘fight or flight.’ 

That is what our sympathetic nervous system was designed to do when we were cavewomen and we still need this system for protection in moments of danger. But we modern mom bosses are no longer cavewomen, and yet our ‘fight or flight’ response is activated all the time. Our sympathetic nervous system is supposed to be balanced by the parasympathetic, which we lovingly call our ‘rest and digest.’ This part of the nervous system causes us to slow down, relax, and reset. The two are meant to fit together like yin and yang, peanut butter and jelly, or good wine and good sushi. 

Unfortunately, we live in a society with a mindset of chaos. Every day, our nervous system processes thousands and thousands of images, sounds, and words. That is a ton of data coming at our brains and it becomes impossible to turn off our fight or flight when we live in a constant heightened state of comparison, competition, and deprivation. This is reflected in our self-care habits, when we go all day without taking a sip of water, or our language, when we quantify ourselves as not just busy, but “suuuuuper busy.” This causes our mom boss mindset to go into ‘fight or flight.’ And staying in those heightened moments for the majority of the day is not optimal for the health of ourselves or our families. 

Instead, we have to spend time restoring balance to our bodies and mindsets by nurturing our ‘rest and digest’ system. This might mean closing our laptops or switching off the TV at mealtimes. Jana’s colleague, a nutritionist, suggests putting your utensil down after every single bite to create a transition between tasting, chewing, and digesting your food, in order to avoid that “what the hell did I just eat?” moment after shovelling down lunch. 

Simple things like diaphragmatic breathing can trigger feelings of calm or clarity before you turn into Medusa in the morning. We can be mindful of the transitions in our days, and aim for lightness when we can, but be gentle when things get heavy. When you find a way to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, you allow yourself to nurture your soul and you will mom boss your day in a whole new way.

High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard

To learn more about Jana’s pilates studios or to get in contact, go to https://leadpilates.com/ and https://mettadistrict.com/studio/

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