Self care is a functional way to process anxiety.
When things get hard, love yourself harder. Here’s what we’ll talk about in this article:
- Basic Healthy Habits To Move Through Anxiety
- Decluttering Your Space
- Why Your Immune System Needs You To De-Stress
- Calming Your Nervous System
- And Taking Charge Of Your Emotions
First, some basic healthy habits that will get you started on moving through it.
I highly recommend cardio exercise and meditating during this time. Meditation after exercise can teach you how to calm your nervous system. Practice it daily. Sometimes twice.
Also pay attention to your gut health. Serotonin is 90% created in your intestines. Same with Vitamin B (I call it insta-Valium). This means: eat as many veggies as you can get in, take a probiotic if you can, drink water (a lot), and get lots of fiber (beans and oats daily).
If you have it, supplement with vitamin D. 10,000 IU for like a week. (10,000 daily is too much for ongoing but for up to a month you’d be fine).*
Also… I want you look to the space around you.
If you’re feeling anxious at home, I 10/10 recommend finding ways to declutter your space. It helps a ton! Plus it gives you something to do. Now is a GREAT time to go through the “stuff” and let it go.
Clutter can make it more difficult to concentrate (it’s distracting), and it can make you feel like you have too much to do to relax. Handle it first, and then keep it uncluttered, and you’re going to feel better about things. Promise.
Your immune system NEEDS you to listen to this.
Current research shows (see link above) that just being under a lot of stress – even temporarily – decreases your immunity. (Spoiler: the impact on your immune system is greater the older you are).
My recommendation is: during this difficult time, every one of you needs to take some time to love yourself harder.
This means: exercising, eating more greens and less sugar, and meditating. I know you don’t have time for it. But maybe you also don’t have time not to.
And yes, you can exercise while isolated at home. You can also find the 5 minutes per day to meditate, too. Though my preference is closer to 15 minutes.
PS: loving yourself harder has a reinforcing effect that you’re “worth it.”
And today, you’re certainly worth it.
And now, I’m going to share with you a little bit about how I was last week when things were REALLY getting stressful for me.
March 3, 2020:Post I wrote on Facebook on March 3rd, 2020
Thought my meditation this morning was a goner. At first my intention was to just connect with my “higher self,” and though I set my phone to Do Not Disturb, I was still interrupted by a notification from Slack.
Checked my phone.
A message about the coronavirus and upcoming events… Something that has already got me on edge. (like super edgy)
Because it’s my practice, I wanted to continue. So I put Slack on DND and restarted my meditation.
But my thoughts were still all over the place. Instead of silencing my mind, it was running around feverishly like a frantic chicken.
Yet, as I sat there with those thoughts in patience, I heard myself say, “You’re okay, Ash. You’re safe right now.”
The anxiety I had been stewing in calmed right TF down.
So I repeated it, took it in over and over as a mantra. It felt safe and quiet, like I was a parent consoling my inner five year old.
My thoughts quieted, and I knew right there I was going to be using that practice again in the future.
And that’s the thing about meditation. It isn’t about what is gonna happen, but rather how to be present right now. Right this moment, I am safe.
I hope you are, also.
Sometimes (daily) you need to tell your little amygdala, “You are safe,” and “no need to release more cortisol or adrenaline.”
Tell it over and over until your nervous system calms.
Sit with that in silence.
Because right now, you ARE safe.
Today during my meditation, I had the idea that all of our feelings are here to support us in life. They’re a tool; we are not at their mercy.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. And often, we are reacting to situations based on how we’re feeling. Don’t believe me? How nice did you act the last time you were hungry? (And if not you, surely you can see evidence of this in others. But you do it, too.)
Feelings (which, if held long enough, become emotions) are useful. They can guide us, they give us a richer experience of life, they can motivate us to act, and they can connect us to others. But you are not a victim of your feelings.
Remember how I said above that taking good care of yourself (loving yourself harder) reinforces the idea that you’re worth it? Sometimes allowing yourself the freedom to have feelings without being carried away by them is the same thing.
We can experience the feeling, observe ourselves in it, allow it to be what it is, and then set it down. It’s a lot like forgiveness. We can stop carrying the stuff that weighs us down.
That’s not to say that we’re not living in frightening times. However, you don’t have to stay afraid. You can comfort yourself. You can do the things that release your nervous energy. You can practice settling your nervous system and allowing peace within your mind.
We are afraid, yes, but we do not have to say we don’t trust ourselves.
We are concerned, but we do not have to say we won’t make it through this.
Even for those of us who do not survive this, we do not have to choose to live our final days in terror.
Life is so very, very short. Far too short to live unhappily. And right now, if you have ways of turning away from the anxiety and focusing on what to do to make yourself feel better, it’s not just an option, it’s the ONLY option.
*I am not a doctor. I’m also not a nutritionist. Fact is, the only way you can know if you need Vitamin D is to get a blood test. Right now, elective medical care is seeing itself on the back burner. Probability is that if you live in the northern hemisphere, do not work outside, and have pale or unpigmented skin, you’re likely Vitamin D deficient. Don’t take my word for it, research it yourself.
If you’ve got other suggestions on ways we can keep our heads on right during this time, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What is your practice? How are you doing? Also, consider liking my Facebook Page and subscribing to this blog so you receive updates when I publish the next blog post (top right corner of this blog).