Monday, November 21, 2016

To “Bee” Busy, Or not to “Bee” Busy

How do you think a bee sleeps at night? I’d like to think pretty darn well. They work hard from the moment they get up to the moment they sleep at night. We can all learn a thing or two from honey bees – one thing being they do what they are designed to do and they are healthier as a result of it.

Just like bees, humans are designed to work (or MOVE) in various ways, are designed to live in a social community (to INTERACT and have RELATIONSHIPS) with other humans, we are meant to fuel ourselves with good foods (NATURAL and UNPROCESSED) that nourish, energize and heal us, and we humans –just like bees – are designed to rest (RELAX, REFLECT and SLEEP)

In the midst of a busy lifestyle, we can get caught up in the daily grind of going through the motions. Bees, in contrast to humans, are designed to go through the motions – their existence depends on it! An optimal human existence on the other hand is to change physical and mental tasks every now and then to keep our body and mind sharp. There are reasons why we experience pain in response to movement; one being that we have done the same thing too many times in a row, and two being that we are performing that movement inefficiently. Evolution has left us with the need to move often, and change our movement behaviours regularly. Movement itself is stress on the body, but to perceive all stress as bad is an unhealthy thought process that you do not want to get stung by! To improve physical function, we have to introduce new activity and movement patterns gradually but regularly. What will eventually sting you is going through the same motions day in and day out. 

Being “as busy as a bee” is a very healthy existence. Our complex human brain is both and gift and curse when we are busy.  During times filled with family, friends, pets, extracurricular activities and work commitments, we tend to waste energy on over analyzing why and how we got ourselves into certain situations instead of 100% of our energy going into the tasks at hand. Bees on the other hand just put their heads down and plough through the work. As humans, there are times when we have to put our heads down to complete a taskperforming the job is actually a better way to handle the overwhelming feelings than trying to figure a way out of it. Use the gift of your brain and keep critically analyzing your situation because there is often a more creative or efficient way to get something done. But also, be aware of the curse of the brain that leaves us over analyzing to the point of counter productivity. Work hard, stay on task and take breaks (both active and quiet reflective breaks are necessary) when needed.  

Quiet time and rest is essential. No matter how much work honey bees have to get done, they know how to rest and they do so every night in the hive. Rest and recovery is likely the most over looked element when approaching any activity – the most mental activities to the most physical tasks can become tedious and futile when our body is fatigued. Just as our ability to stay on task improves with practice, it also improves with stepping away from the situation to allow our body and brain to recover and recharge.  

Having a busy life is a fulfilling way to live. To thrive as a human, it important to do different activities, try new things, move in different ways, be present in a socially and nutritionallysupportive environment, and to rest. Choose exercises and activities you enjoy, find people you click with who enjoy the same activities, be spontaneous with your activity choices, work hard, eat well, rest, reflect, ask questions, sleep and repeat.

Scott Dunne – Physiotherapist 

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