There’s a lot going on in the world these days.
I’ve talked to a lot of people these past few weeks and it’s safe to say there is a huge range of experiences we humans are going through. Some of us feel tired. Some of us are embracing the slowness and surrender of having ‘nothing’ to do. Some of us are angry. Some of us don’t see what the big fuss it all about. Some of us are wild with anxiety and fear about the future.
Whatever you are experiencing, you’re human and humans are complicated so please be gentle with yourself as you move through this phase.
In addition to being a licensed psychotherapist I am also a yoga and meditation teacher with over 20 years of personal practice. I am a huge fan of simple and effective self-care practices and am excited to share with you how I have been nurturing myself these days. Keep reading to find out some of my favorite mind-body wellness practices that you can practice too.
Here are 5 ways I am managing my own stress and anxiety during this pandemic:
1) Guided Meditation
I am a meditation teacher and have been practicing meditation for over 20 years yet I find when my mind is in overdrive and stress is high that having the support of another voice guiding me through a meditation is invaluable. Allowing someone else to help support and take care of me when I have a full day of clients has been super helpful these past few weeks. I usually start and end my day with my favorite 5 min practice that I keep handy on my phone.
P.S. I recently recorded a guided mediation for soothing anxiety specifically for YOU – you can find it here.
2) Energy Management
Holding sacred space for clients means opening myself up energetically to the people I am serving. As an empath I have always had to pay attention to my energy reserves and schedule plenty of space between sessions, eat well and sleep a decent amount….with the recent pandemic I have found there is a lot more fear, anxiety and overall frenetic energy in sessions and in my own personal life. I manage my energy by making sure I have a daily dance party – I put on Desert Dwellers and dance my heart out. SOOOOOO therapeutic. What is your favorite dance party music?
3) ‘Contain the Anxiety’ Practice
I create dedicated time and space to talk about COVID-19, read the news, chat with my partner and friends about it, vent, cry, journal, ruminate. The time frame has a beginning and end and it helps my mind know there’s a set time to think and worry about this stuff so that when it tries to intrude upon my day I can soothe myself with the reminder that there will be a time and place to think about it, but that time is not NOW. I’ve found it helpful to have a short time in the morning (10 minutes) to check in on the news so that I am informed about the current events, and then a longer time to process my personal feelings at the end of the day (1 hour) with my partner, or calling a friend or even journaling if I just need some quite, non talking processing time.
4) Deep Belly Breathing
The antidote to the flight or flight response is deep belly breathing. The ability to take deep breaths actually signals safety to our nervous system, meaning we cannot be breathing deeply AND be in fight/flight/freeze at the same time. Breathing deeply into the belly while consciously relaxing the muscles in and around my belly and pelvic floor send an immediate signal of safety to my body, I am able to relax, find my center and access my intuition and deep wisdom from this place. I love that this practice is accessible pretty much anytime and anyplace.
5) Soothing the Nervous System with a Pleasure Practice
I’m a big fan of accessible micro practices as listed above as well as more involved practices that can take more time and effort and build resilience in the mind, heart, body and soul. Seeking out and experiencing pleasure every day has been an important part of my self care during this time, knowing I have access to things and activities that bring me joy as well as nourish my nervous system is a win-win. My go to activities include cooking a delicious meal, savoring some amazing chocolate, heading outside for a sun bath or nature walk, gardening, and prioritizing intimacy with my partner.
What are you doing to soothe yourself during these challenging times?
I invite you to pick one of the practice above and commit to 5 minutes of self-care time today. Let me know what you choose below!
If you found this article helpful and inspiring please share with your friends on social media 🙂
Kim is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who specializes in supporting individuals struggling with anxiety . A yogi and a psychotherapist, she believes that being human is a practice and that healing and change is always possible. Kim currently offers holistic psychotherapy and counseling to individuals in El Dorado Hills, CA. She also provides tele-health/online counseling. Call/text to find out more: 916.467.9539.