whatever you are feeling is valid
Right now, many of us are experiencing profound personal grief, loss, and panic. We are worried about our families, our friends, our livelihoods, and the state of the world amid a pre-existing, low grade, persistent gnawing sense of dread around the ravages and inequalities of late stage capitalism, the real impacts of global warming, and a government who puts wall street above its citizens.
Many of us have nervous systems that are barely coping with this collective trauma as we try to navigate feelings of threat, danger, overwhelming fear, triggers of old traumas and resurgence of mental health difficulties.
It’s normal to feel hypervigilant, anxious, depressed, numb, frozen or any other range of emotions you are feeling. It is all valid.
We live within a system that, by design, capitalizes on our being overworked and undervalued. There will be lasting implications as we all become increasingly aware of the ways in which our system is flawed as we begin to turn our communal efforts and resources towards compassion, connection, and kindness.
YOUR ABILITY TO BE PRODUCTIVE DOES NOT DEFINE YOUR WORTH
This is an opportunity to foster radical acts of kindness, care, and compassion-- for yourself and your community-- and unravel the ways in which we have internalized this programming.
HELPFUL TOOLS TO USE DURING THIS TIME
1. TEND TO YOUR BODY
For many of us, this state of uncertainty has us doubting and stressing over our ability to personally and collectively survive the inevitable fall out of this crisis. Our nervous systems are spooling up causing and/or increasing anxiety/depression and heightened threat assessment. This not only takes a toll on our body's natural defenses but also puts us into fight/flight response, activating the part of our nervous system which shuts down our rational mind and critical thinking, making it even harder to cope. These are biological responses we don’t have control over so don’t be hard on yourself if you’re feeling the feels right now! Take comfort in knowing that while we have no control over this automatic response, we still have tools to modulate this response.
Take comfort in knowing that while we have no control over this automatic response, we still have tools to mitigate it. It may seem overly simple, but engaging in the activities listed below will stimulate the Vagus nerve, which has the ability to modulate and override the stress response in the brain, bringing the critical thinking part of the brain back online.
And especially using your 5 senses to bring you present
You can also take herbs and supplements to bolster your immune system like reishi, chaga, turkey tail, elderberry, zinc, turmeric, and ginger. Avoid taking echinacea as a preventative as it activates your immune system and if you are not sick, leaves you depleted and vulnerable. I’ve also been seeing some suggestions that elderberry and echinacea should be avoided altogether at onset of covid 19 symptoms as it increases cytokine activity in the lungs.
If you are immunocompromised, bolstering your immune system will exacerbate your existing condition. I recommend any of the above mentioned mushrooms along with some lymph clearing and demulcent herbs such as a blend of cleavers, marshmallow root, dandelion leaf, nettle, and licorice.
My go to anxiety reducing herbs right now are lemon balm, scullcap, and motherwort.
2. TEND TO YOUR SPACE
Our surroundings can have a huge impact on our state of mind. If you are stuck at home, take some time to lovingly tend to the cleanliness of your home. This also includes energetic cleansing like smoldering aromatic herbs to clear stagnant energy or using sound like bells, chimes, or singing.
3. PRAYER + ALTAR TENDING
Prayer is not inherently religious. Prayer is the communication between you and what is beyond this physical realm. Do you have ancestors, guides, plant or mineral allies that you have relationships with? How do you communicate with them? Altars can be sacred spaces created for many different purposes including prayer and intention setting. They are the liminal spaces we interact with that allow us to connect with deeper ways of knowing.
4. TEND YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO NATURE
We are not separate from nature, we are part of it and our wellness depends greatly on our connection to the earth. Now is an excellent time for spending time outdoors such as tending to your garden if you have one, walks, or even eating your meals outside...who knows, you might even see some neighbors doing the same.
MENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS TIPS
Sharing these tips from Dr. Eileen Feliciano, a doctoral level Psychologist in NYS with a Psy.D. in the specialties of School and Clinical Psychology.
After having thirty-one sessions this week with patients where the singular focus was COVID-19 and how to cope, I decided to consolidate my advice and make a list that I hope is helpful to all. I can’t control a lot of what is going on right now, but I can contribute this.
MENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS TIPS FOR QUARANTINE
PLEASE FEEL INVITED TO USE THE COMMENTS SECTION TO SHARE WHAT HAS BEEN HELPFUL FOR YOU DURING THIS TIME!