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Working Within Our Capacity

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Working within our capacity is an important concept embedded in the Nervous System RESET approach.


And yet it is often something we overlook in our daily lives…especially when it comes to self-care and personal regulation.


The other day, I was working with a client who currently is feeling overwhelmed by life. As a newer business owner, she is swamped with responsibilities and a to-do list that often feels insurmountable. All of this leaves her feeling like there is no space for herself in her day-to-day.


During our conversation, she was able to recognize that right now, self-care is not about doing a formal practice such as meditation, or yoga, or tremoring. It’s about assessing where can she make space for a little bit of rest in her busy, productivity-focused day. For her, this reframe involves calling an employee in early so that she can take a much-needed lunch break each day.


When she thought about this possibility during our session, her nervous system immediately settled. She went from feeling like “I can’t” (i.e., make space for self-care), to feeling like “I can” (i.e., take a lunch break!). A sure sign that this simple practice will be a powerful regulation tool for her!


Regulation-informed awareness is not simply about doing practices that are supposed to be beneficial for us.


It is about recognizing where our nervous systems are at and assessing what our current capacity is. What can we truly hold, and what feels like it’s just too much?


Sometimes our regulation work looks like a formal practice.


And sometimes it is a tiny shift of awareness that allows us to hold ourselves in the moment with greater care. Recognizing that we are thirsty and pausing to take a drink of water; noticing how the body says thank you and briefly settles in the moment as we attend to this simple need.


These small shifts might seem insignificant. But they can be toeholds to shifting our framework and our arousal levels overtime.


Sometimes, all we can do is make space for tiny shifts. Those tiny shifts matter. And overtime, they can even be medicinal, helping us heal our relationship to the body. Helping us honor what feels possible and what does not.

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