Stress. It’s what’s for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch. The stress of a pandemic + recession during a toxically divisive election year is a lot to process. And by the looks of our behavior, we aren’t coping well. Managing heightened levels of stress is something I’ve studied my entire adult life. As a child of an abusive parent, hypervigilance was all I knew. Human beings are wired to rely on fight or flight reactivity. The threat of a deadly virus and financial insecurity is pushing many of us to our boiling points. Through therapy, I’ve learned a coping technique that’s a fight or flight game-changer. All things considered, I thought it might be helpful to share How to Cope with Stress by Surfing the Moment with you.
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a while. –Including You.
How to Cope with Stress By Surfing the Moment
Imagine you’ve worked remotely all day (or if unemployed, incessantly searched online for opportunities), you home-schooled your kids, assembled multiple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, washed an absurd number of dishes, folded laundry, made a grocery run, disinfected said groceries, cooked dinner, and then absorbed the evening news. Someone in your family says something you perceive as insensitive, leaves their dirty dishes on the counter, or pees on the toilet seat and leaves it for you to clean. Reactively stressed yet?
Y’all know about cortisol, right? Our bodies produce it when we’re stressed. Current societal circumstances have thrust many of us into a persistent release of cortisol. These heightened levels can cause weight gain, suppressed immune systems, as well as gastrointestinal, heart, and infertility issues. So how do we cope with stress before it severely impacts our health?
Surf the moment
When your frustration and anger is boiling over and you’re fighting back the urge to blurt out, “WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?” — retreat. Put yourself in time-out. And then focus on comforting your senses. –All five of them.
Grab a piece of paper + pen. –Or print the list below. Write down your favorite + accessible sensory soothers for vision, sound, taste, smell, and touch.
For example, my favorite sensory soothers are:
- Vision | Gazing at the hills behind our home brings me peace, but if I’m not at home, Pinterest does the trick.
- Sound | I’m easily overstimulated by sound, so silence is a must.
- Taste | I’ve found drinking tea rather than inhaling a bag of chips is the better option. But, oh my gosh… salty chips.
- Smell | If you’re unfamiliar with Palo Santo, it’s considered a holy wood grown in South America. I find the aroma spicy + earthy. I burn it every day, stressed or not.
- Touch | Curling-up with my dogs, Georgi + Bodhi, is an absolute cure-all.
Keep your list handy. I saved mine on my phone for easy access. The next time you’re feeling triggered, apply the tools on your list to calm your impulse to react negatively.
…A Quick Note On Palo Santo
I can’t express how much I love the stuff. It cleanses negative energy and encourages peace + calm. I burn it first thing in the morning or immediately after an argument. If healing had a distinct smell, it would be Palo Santo.
Stress naturally permeates into our relationships with family and friends. Surfing the Moment helps us fend-off fight or flight, interrupting our negative thoughts before we react. By soothing our senses, we diffuse our heightened emotions and focus on mindful self-compassion. And right now, compassion is sounding pretty damn good.
I hope each of the feel-good nuggets I share gently nudges you to create some positive habits — to manifest a simpler, happier life. And when you need lifestyle + wellness inspiration, I’ll be here — thrilled to share everything I’ve learned with you. Thanks for hanging with me, y’all. I’m crazy-happy you’re here. ♡
Breathe. Visualize. And Find Your Flow.