~ Allostasis - Adaptation to Crisis ~
Have you heard the term 'homeostasis?' Its the concept of remaining stable, remaining in a similar state of being. Our body is a brilliant example demonstrating the mechanism of action that is constantly fluctuating in order to remain in a state of homeostasis.
Delving deeper lets take a look at our blood. Our blood has a specific pH, a hydrogen potential, that it must remain in. There is a safe zone in (7.35-7.45), where the blood needs to stay within, in order for us to remain healthy. If the acidity or alkalinity of our blood were to swing to one extreme (too acidic or to alkaline) it is quite simple. We die.
So our body is always working to keep us in the safe zone. For example if our blood becomes too acidic, our bones will be demineralize and break down so that calcium (among other minerals) can be placed in our bloodstream to help buffer and lessen the acidic environment.
Sometimes this isn't so easy, through the blood, our body, or our lives. Sometimes we get thrown unexpected curve balls that we are forced to react to. Such is life right?
Allostasis is how our body is forced to adapt and respond to stressors that get thrown at us throughout the day. If you look at your day and analyze the situations that arise, it is quite incredible, how adaptive we can be.
For example, you skip lunch to run to a meeting that you forgot was scheduled, your body now has to compensate for the extra acid you have put in the body because you skipped a meal. Now coupled with the stress "cortisol spike" that is now released in your body to prepare you for this unexpected, forgotten meeting. Your nervous system then signals to shut down your digestive system (making you less hungry) in order to preserve energy, and placing your body in a "high alert"mode.
So now your neurons are firing, you blood flow has increased to your hands and legs, and you have been hit with this mini burst of adrenaline, to get you through this meeting. Mean while at the molecular level your body is fighting all the bull shit that has just been thrown at it.
This is all happening automatically. Now looking at the snowball effect of emotional stress and response. How adaptive are you really?
Well lets reflect on the craziness that has been these past few weeks... Initially when COVID19 was discussed, it seemed distant. China, is far away, why would it impact us...? This infected country that has been devastated with this virus -- is far enough away from us that the reality of the situation was easier to ignore... Now not so much, eh?
Launch forward to springbreak where a massive pendulum shifted. Now, COVID has weaved itself in, the virus feels as though it is everywhere we turn, impacting those we love, impacting how our entire world functions, responds, and fights.
Our world shifted, people are fighting for their lives, dying from a virus, while others lose everything as our global economy has taken a major blow. Most people (I hope) are in self-quarantine doing their part to minimize the spread of the disease. This is the contribution to our world that we can control and be apart of. Being mindful of not spreading this virus.
Once again I ask, how adaptive are you? How are you handling this global shift as we as a species fight for our survival?
Are you calm? Are you staying in touch with yourself? Are you at a complete loss of worlds?
Does your world feel as surreal as mine?
This is a time for self-reflection, a time for all of us to band together and help each other out. Local businesses are struggling, we need to support them if we can. This is getting more real with each passing day.
How I am managing, is keeping a to-do list. I verbalize with my partner and mom my goals for the day. I intend on being productive and using this time to grow myself in different ways.
Today, I start online school... what a shift. At least I have that as a constant (for now). I intend on sharing resources with others so that they can adapt and stay calm among all the chaos. Stay tuned for some online videos!
This shift is F***ing crazy, but the ride is real and we honestly need to band together to get through this. I trust that we (as a species) have got this and will pull through.
Spread the word, not the virus, use whichever coping mechanisms work for you. Try new methods. If you have never done meditation, perhaps now is the time. If you have never tried a Youtube video workout, perhaps now is the time, perhaps now you can organize and spring-clean properly.
Perhaps all those things you don't have time for, is now at the top of your priority to-do list. Perhaps you launch a new idea that has been brewing int he back of your head like a cup of coffee.
This could be us on the verge of collapse, but if that is the case, we will rebuild stronger. differently. better. And like our bodies adjust constantly to fluctuating environments and have to change/adapt day in and day out, we will too in how we perceive and react in this beautiful, scary world.