I thought, or at least hoped, that after the midterm elections, some of the continual stress would let up. Instead, less than 36 hours after the polls closed in California, wildfires erupted and stress levels have intensified with new traumas being created for thousands of people and animals.
How do you react or cope with stress? Insomnia, emotional eating, no appetite, general anxiety, easily or inappropriately angered, nightmares, drug/alcohol use, emotional shutdown? Our coping methods are endless. It is challenging to stay in our bodies in present time when we feel overwhelmed – that’s what chronic stress can do. One simple action: inhale while counting to 4, exhale while counting to 4, repeat. (Do not do this in smoky air). As you feel calmer and your nervous system begins to settle, you may try extending the counts to 8, for a total of 3 rounds.
If you already have a regular movement practice – great, continue. If you don’t, start gently, maybe gentle stretching or a yin yoga class, or a 20 minute walk. Gentle movement is supportive for your mind and body.
Making time to help others, however you can: active listening, a hug – nurtures the giver as well as the receiver. We all need nurturing, no matter our age. And yes, hugs with 4 legged friends/family are wonderful!