I've written to you many times before about strategies that can help you to cope with stress and busy lives. Here are just a few of those posts:
- Tapping (watch the video here)
- 4 Ways to Reduce Stress in 5 minutes or Less
- Take Care of Yourself with These 3 Easy Steps
Let's be honest, many of us went into this mess just barely hanging on and this is putting people over the edge. Our stress response, while clever, is generally much better at helping us when there is a physical threat - a quick reaction on the highway, or more historically, meeting a bear in the woods. Elevating our heart rate, diverting blood flow, sharpening our reactions, and increasing focus are all incredibly useful responses if we need to act fast to run away from danger.
Our present day stressors more often tend to be of the emotional nature: fear, worry, heavy workload, busy schedules. We have been living in a chronic state of fight or flight or freeze, and now we have a new level of uncertainty.
A Note About Kids
A lot of parent I've spoken with have mentioned that their kids are doing surprisingly well under the circumstances. Watch the emotions of children carefully and choose your words mindfully, they don't always have the understanding or vocabulary to let us know when they are confused or internalizing emotions. There are plenty of online resources and articles about this, but one thing the experts are agreeing upon is that this will be a defining childhood moment. In many cases, kids have lost their outlets, supports, and routines (friends, lessons, school, activities). This is a great opportunity to help them develop other good coping strategies and understand their feelings, as we do the same for ourselves.
It is important to do our best to deal with the acute stress we are feeling now, in order to lessen the impact of chronic stress down the road. Different people resonate with a variety of tactics, but I encourage you to strike a balance of getting things out and resting (e.g. going for a run or lifting weights paired with a nighttime bath, tapping or meditation). If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed or anxious, please reach out so that we can plan a way to support you best. Or, if you're someone that is working around the clock right now (thank you so much!), I can suggest ways to stimulate your energy levels in a heathy way to keep you going.
Other Signs of Stress
Even if you don't feel stressed, your body could be responding to it or showing signs in different ways. As we divert nutrients and hormones towards stress pathways we inevitably have less resources for other things that our body deems not as important in the short term; or we could have symptoms that occur or worsen as a byproduct of an active stress response.
What else can be affected:
- period changes
- eating differently / cravings
- loose or sluggish bowels
- flare-up of autoimmune conditions
- mood disruption
- muscle tension
- blood pressure
- acne flares
Three themes that have been coming up over an over when navigating our current situation:
2. Focus on the present as much as possible
3. Take care of yourself, and pay attention to the things you can control in your daily life
I'm grateful to have had an opportunity to rediscover a few self care tactics, and also introduce them to my kids. Last night actually, I made myself a foot bath (hot water, salt, apple cider vinegar, 2 drops of lavender), which was incredibly lovely until my sons wanted to try it. At first I was frustrated with the interruption, and then I remembered that they need to learn to take care of themselves too. So, I nurtured their curiosity and we all did it while we watched a movie.
I've also been alternating between yoga and running, with an evening meditation to help get ready for bedtime. I've been prioritizing sleep, and I feel with all the extra stuff lately other people have been needing much more of it too - just go with it.
Missing hugs and all of you,
P.S. Please let me know if I can support you in any other way, or if there are topics you'd like me to address in my clinic newsletters. I'm still available for phone appointments, and video is an option now too. We're doing our best to keep the dispensary full, but if you'd prefer to shop online that's also an option.