Thank you for taking time to read my words. We are all being collectively challenged right now. While this is ultimately going to be good for our species, in the meantime it can be frightening, frustrating, and uncertain.
It is very important to care for yourself during this time. This means caring for yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. During trying times, selfcare can really fall off as not important, but that is the opposite of what you need to do. Your body and mind are some of your greatest assets, and you will need to keep your body healthy and your wits about you.
In addition, if you are constantly stressed and fearful, you are stressing your own body constantly with showers of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. This will weaken your immune system, your digestive system, your heart, your muscles, your ability to think clearly - pretty much everything will go to shit. Fear can also also create psychosomatic symptoms that can mimic the signs of flu, and can give you stress pooping (just like in dogs and cats after they are at the vet hospital or boarding! I had a lot of that during this week, which was just a sign that I was not mindfully managing my body.
So....you gotta calm down and take care of yourself. For the sake of yourself, and the sake of others.
Here are some things that you can do:
1. Go for 2 30 minute walks per day, while practicing social distancing to keep others safe. If you have a dog, walk the dog. It's good for you both.
2. Reduce social media and news consumption - check in once or twice a day, and that is it. If the news is very triggering to you, have somebody else check for you and give you any updates you actually need. If your social media has negative and triggering postings, feel free to snooze or unfollow people. You don't have to partake in collective negativity, and you are not designed to be a receptacle of constant global news.
3. Stay connected to friends and loved ones as much as possible, while practicing physical distance to keep others safe. Remember - you aren't quarantining yourself. You aren't sick. You are being socially responsible by keeping your distance for a little while.
4. Notice your thoughts and feelings. If you have anxious feelings, where are they in your body? How do they feel? Notice them, let them be, and don't judge them. They are just trying to keep you safe. Notice your anxious thoughts, don't judge them. Notice if they are paired with any feelings in your body or any emotions. Refrain from judging yourself if you have negative thoughts or feelings, instead just notice them and be extra kind to yourself in that moment. This is called practicing lovingkindness to yourself, and you really need it and deserve it.
5. If you notice anxious thoughts or feelings, BREATHE. Breathing is POWERFUL. It can ramp up your stress hormones, or it can put your stress system back to sleep. Deep, slow breaths send a signal to your brain that all is calm. Shallow or fast breathing tells your brain that it is being threatened and needs to run. You can put your own stress system back to sleep with just breathing. It's amazing. Just try it - you will be surprised at how much calm and personal mastery you can create with just your breath. You have to do it for 1-2 minutes for it to really work. Here are a couple of resources for different breathing techniques:
4 7 8 breathing
Remember - your body or mind may not cooperate with you at first because you have trained it to engage in fearful thoughts, feelings, and stress. You will have to overcome your initial tendency to jump into panic mode, and instead, MINDFULLY use your will to breathe and calm down.
You will not serve anyone, including yourself, if you are in panic mode.
Worry is a misuse of our imagination.
We can retrain our minds to respond differently in challenging situations. Look at this as an opportunity to develop self mastery - there is no better school than the earth plane, ammiright?
We will get through this and together, we will be better on the other side.
If you have any other resources you use to stay calm in this time, please share them in the comment section.
I will be posting here frequently. If this was helpful and you would like more encouragement and resources, please subscribe - just scroll up - it's on the right hand side.
So much love to you all.
Dr. Sarah Wooten