In the last post, I discussed what happens to the person (body-mind-soul system) who is in a state of unreleased trauma and shock. When these walls are broken down, we may be left in a delicate state for a while. I am not a therapist, or an expert in this type of work, but I have been going through this and want to share what I have learned.
It may feel like we are standing in the rubble of our life – unable to pick up the pieces due to this emotional fragility, physical exhaustion, and waves of various sensations (emotional, physical, spiritual). It is important to have support during these types of changes and transitions (therapist, counselor, etc.) who is well-versed in this kind of work. It is also important to practice good self-care, and to connect with those who are emotionally supportive.
What does self-care look like to you? How can you support yourself through this release?
Here are 12 ways to support yourself through a resistance release:
- Take a long hot Epsom salt bath. As you all know by now, if you are a regular reader, I recommend baths for pretty much everything. I love hydrotherapy, especially of the salty kind. Fill that tub up, add at least 2 cups of Epsom salts, a quarter cup of baking soda. I like my bath best when there is so much salt in the water I float! Bonus: blend lavender essential oil into the salt before adding to the tub. Lay and soak as long as necessary. When you get off, take the time to put your favorite lotion or oil on your body to rehydrate and nourish your skin.
- Get it all out: write what you feel, what you are thinking, in a journal, on scraps of paper, embed it into photographs and drawings, write a blog that’s secret and just for you.
- Take long walks, do yoga, qi gung, tai chi – exercise, move: I’m a firm believer in getting the body moving in gentle ways to help our bodies reset. If you feel the need to “shake it off” get up and shake your body like a dog shakes off water. Do what feels right (and safe) for you.
- “Splurge” on a massage: be it myofascial release, cranio-sacral therapy, Mayan abdominal massage, or a gentle massage, being touched (if that feels right for you) can be greatly healing.
- Acupuncture: acupuncture clears blockages in the body, and promotes the body’s healing processes, thereby helping the body, mind and soul rebuild itself.
- If you are not already, speak with a therapist, social worker, psychotherapist, psychologist, counselor, etc. who works with people who have gone through what you are now releasing. It is important to find an empathetic and caring listener, who wants to help you. If you do not find that with the first person you speak with, move on to a different helper. There are resources available to every person out there – no matter the financial state you may find yourself in.
- Do something with your hands: I know, at this moment, the last thing you might want to do is to do anything other than be and feel what you are feeling. Dancing, drawing, painting, taking pictures, knitting – anything that gets you connected to what you are doing can be helpful. Have little energy for that? Sit on the couch, watch a ridiculous movie, and play with your pet or with some beads, stones or marbles. The point is to touch things that you enjoy, in an environment in which you feel safe.
- Make a cup of tea: the ritual of making tea helps us to slow down, be in the moment, and savor what we are presented with. Take the time, get the teapot out (or Mason jar!), boil the water, pre-heat the teapot, let it stand, pour the hot water out, add the leaves (or flowers, or herbs, etc.), let it steep, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer into your favorite cup or mug, add your condiments (sugar, honey, milk, lemon, etc.) and feel the warmth of the cup in your hands. Smell the aroma of the tea. Close your eyes, take your first sip. I love jasmine green tea, rose tea, white tea, chamomile tea – whatever is low in caffeine (since caffeine can exacerbate release symptoms) and tastes good to you.
- Talk with friends. Note: you are NOT obligated to talk to anyone about what is going on with you, nor are you obligated to divulge any details to anyone but your chosen circle of people. With that said, get together with someone you feel good and safe around, who you can be vulnerable with. Ideally this is someone who, if you are eating popcorn and watching a silly movie and start crying, it doesn’t make you or them uncomfortable. I believe we all can have one person (or more) in our lives with whom we can talk with and be ourselves around.
- Eat! I know, it is so hard to eat around this time. If you don’t eat, the feelings of rawness and emptiness will be prolonged. While those feelings are useful, we can choose to not punish ourselves by extending them through willful starvation. Ask yourself: what are my go-to favorite comforting and nourishing foods? Keep those around while you are going through this – heck, go out to eat, order in, pick some pre-made stuff up at the grocery store. My go-to’s are: roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash slathered in cultured butter, roasted chicken, miso broth, steamed green beans, and rice. I also love refried beans, eggs, sour cream and salsa as a ridiculously quick, cheap, and easy yet nourishing meal for those moments when preparing a full meal are not an option.
- Use herbs! Some of my favorites for “rough” periods include: albizzia, St. John’s Wort, chamomile, motherwort, passionflower, pulsatilla/anemone, lemon balm, skullcap. For shaking and “jolts” associated with these types of releases, I like lobelia (follow the label’s instructions as this is a low-dose herb) combined with calming herbs like albizzia, St. John’s Wort, chamomile, motherwort, milky oats, and so on. I am a huge fan of formulas, there are a lot of lovely pre-made formulas out there, or you can have a custom formula made for you if you choose to work with an herbalist.
- Be kind to yourself. It is so easy to want to have this over with as quickly (or as I have said, “as efficiently”, “as swiftly”) as possible. It is natural to be upset, angry, resentful, anxious, sad, grief-stricken, during all of this. Know that you will not always feel like this, and that you are not alone. Keep those tissues, herbs, support network and give yourself the permission to cry. Cry until your eyes feel like they’ve been scorched by desert winds, cry until you can’t shed another tear. Take naps, remember those? I love naps.
Find a few care measures, and put them to good use while you are broken open. For those who wall themselves off, for whatever reason, self-care can feel indulgent when it is actually a necessity.
Take the time to care for yourself, so you can move through life open and free from those heavy stones.