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  • Writer's pictureHaulwen Nicholas

Are you in a constant crisis zone?





Imagine an oak tree, broad branches reaching out to the sky and stretching out as wide as it can grow. Its roots reach down into the depths of the earth for water and for nutrients. The leaves on their branches photosynthesis to provide vital nutrients for their growth. In ideal conditions, the tree flourishes and produces a bumper crop of acorns, which feed the wildlife around it and some germinate to become new trees. This tree has the perfect temperatures for growth, perfect levels of rainfall, no winds to damage its branches, and the daylight length is perfect for its growing conditions. It's warm when it needs it to be and cold when it needs to hibernate. This is the tree's cosy zone.


The tree is sturdy and if there is a breeze it can tolerate this, if the rainfall isn't quite right it can tap into its stores and it can reach down further into the ground to gain moisture. It has lots of coping mechanisms for slight changes in the environment and this is the tree's comfort zone.

But the natural world isn't like this, and some years there will be drought and other years flooding, some years its colder than expected and others hotter than expect and often the tree can find this a challenge, it has ways to reduce the water loss by losing its leaves early, its got ways of slowing down and not producing so many acorns to preserve its energy and resources. This is its challenge zone.

But sometimes those conditions are even harsher, the tree can lose a branch in a storm, and its roots can become unstable with constant rain making the ground soft. These are extremes that can push it into its crisis zone, but sometimes the crisis is because it has challenges year on year of low rainfall, hot weather, and cold winters. The first year it copes ok, but each subsequent year it stops putting out new growth and acorn production stops or diminishes, it's so depleted all it can do is barely hang on and survive. And in some cases, the tree doesn't make it.


So what about you?


As I've mentioned in previous blogs, we live in a world trying to push us out of our comfort zone and telling us all it's a bad place. We'd never do that to the oak tree, we know it needs to be comfortable to flourish. Yet as humans, we think the rules are different. That we should keep on going even though we feel wilted and depleted. How many of you try to work when you are ill, instead of taking time to recuperate? We live in a society where we're deemed "lazy" and "wimps" for taking time off to heal. So we are made to feel guilty. And pile guilt on ourselves too. What if we stopped and looked at how doing this time and time again is pushing us out of a challenge zone and into our crisis zone? How our work hard and keep going mantra is burning us out.

I see so many people who feel like this but feel they must keep going. Since when did rest become a bad thing?

From today I want you to consider yourself a tree - what do you need to nourish your mind, body and spirit? How will you water yourself to ensure you flourish? Think of the acorn and seeds as your dreams and ideas. If you operate constantly in a stress response you end up operating in your crisis zone all the time. And the first thing to happen is you let go of your dreams. You drop your leaves which could represent your values and beliefs. And you just survive instead of thriving.


Have a look at your life. Are you in a crisis zone?


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