Sep 1, 2020
How are you coping?
It's September. This marks month 6 of this global pandemic.
I remember back in March when they told us school would be out until after Spring Break (3 weeks). I was beyond myself trying to figure out how we would manage. That's laughable now.
And, guess what? We managed. We are managing.
Any and all change brings on the body's stress response. Challenging circumstances bring on the body's stress response. Based on our capacity to cope, our resources, and many other factors each of our bodies respond to stress in different ways.
Stress inevitably puts the body in fight, flight, freeze or fawn. This is a healthy, normal, short-term response to the circumstances we are living in. It's our body's way of protecting itself.
I'll say that again. SHORT-TERM.
But, many of us get stuck here and this can create problems. Both internally and collectively.
Take a moment if you can to notice if you are stuck in:
- Fight. This often shows up as irritability, impatience, rage, frustration. Picking arguments with our spouse or co-worker. Or wasting WAY too much time commenting on social media posts.
- Flight. Engaging in spiritual bypass. Suppressing hard emotions. Ignoring or denying the reality of the moment we are living in. Choosing to tune out the cries of those that are suffering because it doesn't directly impact you or your family.
- Freeze. Stuck. Can't move. Can't create. Can't take action. We are immobilized.
- Fawn. Trying to appease everyone. Avoiding any conflict by 'staying neutral'.
No doubt, some days feel more overwhelming than others. When I don't sleep my coping strategies are not as effective.
Collectively, there are a lot of stressors present. A global pandemic, an overdue and necessary social uprising, a divisive election cycle filled with misinformation, and a massive environmental crisis to name a few.
Each of these collective stressors impact us differently based on our social location.
We may also be experiencing additional stressors personally. For example, due to the pandemic I have been separated from my husband for 3 months. This has caused me stress personally. But, because of the intersection of identities I hold my basic needs are taken care of. Food, shelter, clean water, etc.
In this moment of both collective and personal stress, how are you coping?
Get honest. Which coping strategies are working for you? Which might you want to examine? Which ones do you know are not supporting your highest good (or that of the whole)? Are you willing to shift?
Because staying stuck in the stress response causes harm to the body. It causes us to contract in all layers of the body (koshas):
- Annamaya Kosha: In the physical body that might look like tense muscles and discomfort in the body.
- Pranamaya Kosha: In the energetic body this can shut down our ability to create.
- Manomaya Kosha: In the mental/emotional body this limits our ability to see possibility because we get stuck in old mental patterns.
- Vijnanamaya Kosha: In the wisdom body it shuts down our intuition and our ability to use discernment.
- Anandamaya Kosha: In the spirit/bliss body it limits our ability to experience joy and flow. Everything feels hard. Like we are swimming against the current.
All of this impacts our ability to have a positive impact on the whole. And leaves us in a state of dis-ease.
But, the good news is that you do have choice. You can choose to orient towards ease versus stress. It takes practice. It takes skill. This is one of the benefits of a consistent yoga practice.
It is also a result of our daily habits and rituals. In Ayurveda, we are invited to bring our body into alignment with the rhythms of nature and this builds resilience because we are not overtaxing our physiology.
When we have daily habits that help us build resilience in the body our time stuck in the stress response is often far less than it would be if we didn't have intentional, proactive resilience practices. Check out my Simple Habits Guide here.
Or take an even deeper dive in the Align & Awaken™ Habits of Resilience 10-Week Program. We begin October 5!
Oct 7, 2020
If we learn to not get so lost in anger but rather to mine its energy, we begin to act less out of a desperate need to assume control. We are able to act out of a determined, courageous marshaling of our resources to try to make a difference.” So, feel it. Move it. And channel it into action.
Sep 30, 2020
But, even when our physiology is developed there are life experiences and circumstances that make it more difficult to manage big emotions and the stressors of life. This is trauma. Trauma is anything that overwhelms our capacity to cope and respond. And it leaves us feeling helpless, hopeless and out of control. I believe we are living through massive collective trauma right now. Massive.
Sep 23, 2020
Yoga has prepared us for this moment. Yoga on the mat teaches us how to be present with discomfort, to set boundaries, to use discernment. The mat is simply our laboratory. It’s where we get to investigate our edges and build up our resilience toolbox.