Passive recovery is pretty great. It involves sleeping, hanging out with our loved ones, snuggling with furry friends or lovers, reading books, and slow walks outdoors to soak up the scenery. Passive recovery is the non-activities that make you feel blissed out and relaxed. Yes, it actually is super important to just chill out and do nothing sometimes—not just for self-care Sunday and a mental reprieve but because your body physiologically needs time to spend in parasympathetic mode for recovery.
When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I didn’t realize that I also had leaky gut as a side symptom of my inflammation and weakened immune system. My body was constantly flared up, ready for a fight, and my sympathetic nervous system was ruling dominantly over my parasympathetic nervous system. I’m already the personality type to never be able to sit still, so this was a huge challenge for me.
But after I started incorporating things like a nightly meditation and journaling, slowly chewing my meals and relaxing instead of scarfing down lunch while doing emails on my phone, and immediately just sitting still for five minutes to decompress when I get home from a long day, I started noticing a huge difference in my digestion and inflammation. It’s also the type of cyclical practice where progress builds on top of progress. My increased ability to relax led to better sleep, which led to less fatigue during the day, which led to less reaching for sugars and caffeine in the afternoon, which then helps energy stability and lessened inflammation.
While I’m not saying that nightly meditation will magically cure your leaky gut and autoimmune disease, I am saying that incorporating passive recovery can be an extremely helpful tool for managing your symptoms, which aids in the path to healing. Give some of these practices a try, and see what you notice!
Want to understand recovery better? Here's everything you need to know about active recovery.