All is Calm, All is Bright—The Personal Side
Until my very own nervous system got kicked into overdrive, I did not personally know what it feels like to be in this space. I liken it to having to get on a “roller coaster” for whatever reason (a move, a new child, a death in the family) and then trying to get off and not being able to.
There are two reasons I could not just hop off the roller coaster of stress. One, was that I had several life roles to fulfill that did not simply stop because I was in crisis. The other is more nuanced, but I found that sometimes, when you have been under prolonged stress, you can try to get off the roller coaster, but it takes time.
Let’s expound on these. Most people do not have the ability to completely take time away after a stressful season. We are still children to our parents, parents to our children, employees, bosses, partners, etc. In these instances, I encourage my clients to take micro-breaks or “dose” themselves with self-care and self-regulation. For example, plan tiny, multiple moments throughout your day where for 10 minutes you can meditate, pray, walk, deep breathe, etc. Try exercising just 1-2 days per week if time does not allow for more. Stretching your body is another option. You get the idea.
The second issue of the “roller coaster,” speaks to how essential time is to our calming down. I have had seasons where the “craziness” ended, and I still found myself having trouble sleeping or eating. Or I felt anxious, even though I shouldn’t. This is because our nervous system needs an entire season of intentional self-regulation to heal after extreme stress. Our system is like a dial that must be turned back with self-care, self-regulating activities, and a supportive listening ear. Emotional healing and regulation, like physical healing, take time.
If you are struggling to find peace and calm this holiday season, you are not alone. Whether you are a busy person trying to carve out moments of self-care, or someone who has more time on their hands following a single, traumatic event, we can help. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed mental health clinicians.