I asked how you are coping, and I think it’s important because I have been taught in yoga “where your attention goes your energy flows.” Are you doom-scrolling? Are you aware you are doing that? Are you eating your feelings or starving your feelings? Are you working out 6-7 days a week to avoid your thoughts? Are you using “retail therapy” instead of calling your therapist?
Berne Brown had a great podcast on FFT’s (F’ing First Times) – we are in it. First, pandemic, first lockdown, first holiday without family. In it she talks about being tired all the time and how she reached out to a neuroscientist to ask him about the brain. She shares how many calories we burn by thinking and as we have to think and rethink our way through this pandemic, we are all very tired / depleted. Check out her podcast. https://open.spotify.com/episode/60fwWqySh6BqzFGe9HsL6w
I will circle back to the “how are you coping?” I have been experiencing back pain on and off since February – I am in school for yoga therapy I should be able to figure it out right? This is why I have a teacher, I can’t see my blind spot and Robert is able to smack me over the head with humor and love to point out the obvious. Back pain can present when we don’t feel supported. Much like my vertigo presented when my life was spinning out of control at the height of my family members addiction. He added a second daily practice and asked me to imagine feeling fully supported in life at the end of my practice. Guys, I almost broke down in tears. I couldn’t imagine feeling fully supported right now. I know that between being full time childcare, homeschool, myself in school, working and recovery groups at night, I am stretched thin. And just the act of bhavana (yogi way to visualize the desired outcome) and feeling what it would feel like to be fully supported was a rest from my overactive mind and body.
This is how I cope. Sometimes well. Sometimes not well. And working towards always being aware with how I am coping right now.
How are you coping right now? The holidays are here, states are increasing their safety measures as restaurants close down again. What are you doing to cope in this moment? Do you have healthy ways of coping with life right now? Or are you eating, drinking, watching, gaming, shopping or working to avoid your feeling? In yoga, I have been taught that awareness is a critical part to wellness and being more whole. In a workshop with Nikki Myers she said, “You can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge.” I’m not sure about you but in this Covid crisis I have found it difficult to keep my head above water many days…and yet I have moments when I can slow down – breath — and ask my daughter what has been good about this year. Her response was immediate and full of joy “I get to be home with you and Dad and see you all the time. I get to do homeschool with you. I get to swing on this swing.” I recently purchased and inexpensive wooded swing when our parks in Los Angeles closed down again. Here is what I see from her and she teaches me on a daily basis when I slow down to be present. She is in the moment of life and finding joy in the moment. She is LOVING her swing! We spent 5 hours outside in a very small area (we don’t have much of yard) and she did school then went to the swing, then did more school, then back to the swing. Is it just her age and that she is unaware of what is going on? No. Today we found out a friend of the family passed away. He was like a local grandpa to her and when I read the text I burst into tears. She came over right away and asked me what happened. I told her our friend has passed away. She hugged me and assured me that he was in my heart just like my Aunt who passed away a few years ago on Christmas and some other family members. “They will always be with you mom. They are in your heart. Lots of people are going to die in Covid but they will be in our hearts and they will always be with us.” She is keenly aware of what is going on and she teaches me that I can see life differently. She shows me how we are all connected and how shifting my attention to my connection, rather than my loss brings me healing and hope. Not denying my feelings or ignoring my sadness and grief, rather a subtle shift to the celebration of connection and how we are all connected rather than what has been lost.
Here is a snapshot into my coping – I had to get an ultrasound last week and medical events have been stressful and anxiety producing for me in the past. I used my tools of tapping (more on that in a later blog), breathings and visualizing a positive outcome. I also watched a comedy special in the lobby to distract my nervous body – numbing out the feelings with comedy – and doing it with intention. Then after the ultrasound I ran to Trader Joes and did a grocery run akin to Supermarket Sweep. I ran through the aisles tossing in everything but real food. I was grabbing all the holiday treats I could find like I was on a timer. I was also aware of how I was coping. I was using shopping and “food” (basically sugar/ salt / fat) to easy the anxiety I was feeling.
AND ALSO… I have taken up knitting as a way to cope right now and feel productive and creative. I am doing my yoga practice twice a day. I am reaching out to safe friends to share my struggles; I am doing my gratitude journal every day. I am going on walks outside in nature, I am listening to Christmas music, I am knitting, have I told you I am knitting?!?
I don’t know what the ideal coping strategies for you are right now and I would challenge you to examine your daily life and see what you are doing to cope. Are your choices giving you the desired outcome you want? Can you change or shift anything you are doing so that you feel more supported or loved or rested? Can you find a creative outlet for yourself right now? Can you paint / knit / garden / write / bake / build / draw / fill in the blank – is there anything that can bring you joy right now? Can you sleep in? Can you go to get a little earlier then normal? Can you make a nourishing meal and put all your devices away while you savor your meal? Can you fill up your internal tank just a little bit today? Can you take 3 minutes to visualize yourself as rested and loved and supported?