My phone lets out a ping and I pick it up to see that I have a new comment on my latest Instagram post. I respond to that comment and see a new post that I really like - I share it to my story. I have 5 minutes of "downtime" while my kids are eating so I quickly vaccum the floor. Okay, schedule time - what's next? Clothes on, eat breakfast, brush teeth, put on your shoes and off to....wait...there's no school. I need an activity for my kids!!! I feel "snacky" and reach in the pantry for my favorite chips and eat a small bowl of about 10 chips. The kids are actually napping at the same time - I must get work done...emails, emails, emails.... Whew! That was a long day...I'm ready for one small glass of red wine.
Does this sound familiar? Have you been feeling this sense of "GO, GO, GO" lately? Like there is constant static in the brain? Nothing is clear and everything is urgent. You seek simple self care strategies (like the snacking, social media scrolling and glass of wine) in the midst of chaos?? Guess what? It's time to slow down!
If you haven't heard about this brand-new trend yet, Dopamine Fasting is simply a strategic avoidance of impulsive behaviors. Things like scrolling on social media, responding to phone notifications, snacking on hyper-palatable (sweet, salty, fatty) foods, and drinking alcohol are just a few of the things that dump Dopamine (a neurotransmitter that is associated with our natural reward center - a "feel good" chemical) into our body. Fasting from these behaviors has been shown to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety and even INREASE PRODUCTIVITY! Okay, but how do we DO it? #1 - Don't try to do it alone. Get an ally who can give you a plan that is minimally disruptive otherwise you may actually increase anxiety. NOTE: there is a difference between an accountablity partner and an ally. The ally is someone who has done it before successfully. #2 - Go just one day at a time and use your downtime wisely. Make sure you have a strategy for reaching goals during this slow-down time. Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive, but it will increase your productivity. #3 - Check in! Have support on your side so you don't beat yourself up if it doesn't go as planned.