FEELING ANXIOUS, EXHAUSTED OR NUMB? TRY THIS.
I know you may be feeling a lot right now.
You may find numbing behaviors running high. Things like:
frantically watching the news
scrolling every five minutes to see who’s saying what on all the social media outlets
feeling like you can’t get out of bed or off the couch due to exhaustion
binge watching Netflix, etc.
In this place of excess energy, be it anxiety, overwhelm, dread, exhaustion, lethargy, sadness, depression, inaction and / or avoidance, there is nothing to be ashamed about, love.
This is actually a normal, biological response to what’s going on around you. It is the “freeze response” (as in fight-flight-freeze) and I want to provide you with some things to support you to move through it.
First of all, freeze is an automatic response to overwhelming danger, real (i.e. being attacked by a tiger) or perceived (i.e. watching the news on any given day recently).
It is not something you plan or choose.
Freeze happens unconsciously when your brian decides that a threat- whether real or perceived- is too large, too overwhelming, too strong or too powerful to fight off or escape.
Freeze keeps you safe in the face of danger, however with the constant, modern threats to our nervous system (i.e. social media wars, stressful emails, a busy schedule, or constant violence on TV) we may get stuck in a frozen place that doesn’t’ support our well-being.
You’ll know you’re in freeze when:
You’re numbing out more than usual
Your muscles lock up and you feel physically stiff or heavy
You’re holding your breath
You’re feeling disconnected (especially from the things you care about)
You’re feeling detached, overwhelmed, disassociated
You’re feeling like you want to disappear (“I just want to hide under the covers.”)
You’re having a hard time taking action
I repeat, there is no shame in this.
Because your brain can’t tell the difference between a real or perceived threat, it sends a signal to your body saying, “I’m powerless.” Unfortunately you can’t think your way out of freeze. No amount of “motivation” will kick you into gear.
There are however some really simple things you can do to shift out of freeze. They start by convincing your brain through your body that you’re safe. Your body is your pathway into a state of greater well-being.
Two simple things you can do right now include:
Re-engage your body to let your brain know you’re actually safe. Start moving your body in a slow and intentional way to break yourself out of freeze.
Pat your legs
Stomp your feet
Shake your body – hands, arms, legs, flutter your lips
Get physically moving in a gentle way
These intentional, somatic cues let your nervous system know that you’re safe. (We actually use all of these through dance in my movement classes, which is why women regularly say they feel like they’ve had a therapy session afterward. They have! Somatic therapy.)
Breathe deeply and rhythmically. It’s no secret by now that Breathwork is one of my favorite somatic tools for release, clearing excess energy and stuck emotion, connecting to Spirit, and most importantly, returning to your natural state of Oneness & love.
I’ve recently shared many free tutorials and videos on how to utilize the power of Breathwork for healing and releasing.
Breathwork has been my absolute saving grace since the beginning of the pandemic and onward. I have felt the collective grief, sadness and hopelessness just as much as the next person, yet my Breathwork practice has empowered me to continue showing up, supporting others and sharing my voice in my community.
Breathwork has enabled me to move out of fear and into creative action which is why this Saturday, June 6, I’m hosting Virtual Breathwork for Creative Fire. This powerful online experience will connect you to the creative fire that runs through all living things and use it to support the expansion of all areas of your life including your finances, relationships, career and health.
*A portion of this session’s proceeds will go to @transformationyogasc to support BIPOC in the Charleston wellness community in need of support.
I hope you’ve found these suggestions useful, love. May they support you and keep you feeling safe and centered. With the frenzy of chaos, fear and emotion surrounding us right now, don’t forget to tend to your nervous system too. We’re all in this together.