Staying Grounded in a Health Crisis and Embracing Boredom

Let’s all take a collective deep cleansing breath and reset our nervous systems.  

We are living in times unseen for many of us.  Rather than repeat the important mainstream do’s and don’ts we’ve all heard by now, I’d like to share with you some ancient wisdom to keep us grounded and in a place where we can do the most good for ourselves and others.

Check the “Run for your life!” mind chatter

The body’s stress response is designed on an evolutionary level to protect us from danger in emergency situations.  Where swift action is required in order to save ourselves or another, this stress response gives us power to survive.  Our body releases glucose, cortisol and other hormones into the blood stream during high stress. These hormones and chemicals help us run faster, increase strength and sharpen brain function. Our blood pressure rises and we’re primed to conquer any emergency! This same stress response shuts down systems in our body that are not required in an emergency like our digestion, reproductive hormones and other endocrine system functions that are vital. Ideally, this stress response would only be put into action on rare occasions.  Yet in today’s fast-paced stressful environment, some of us get stuck in patterns of stressful thoughts, rushing around and not sleeping or eating well.  This creates chronic health issues over time. Our bodies forget how to slow down and settle into our “Rest and Restore” parasympathetic nervous system.

Do you scroll email, news or social media late at night when your body needs to rest, restore and gather back the Qi it lost during the day?  It’s no wonder we are so stressed.  This pattern is unsettling to the central nervous system – fear-induced mind chatter and social media, non-stop doing, and not enough “being” throws our body into an excited response called the sympathetic response aka “fight or flight.” It’s characterized by anxiety, rapid heart rate and shallow breathing which depletes us of our vital resources and our super powers when we truly need them.

Embracing Boredom And Coping With Stress

Many today feel the need to be perpetually stimulated — watching the news as we eat, listening to music during exercise or chores, being on our laptop, phone and TV all at the same time. It’s a constant stream of stimuli.  If you find absence of this stimulus brings discomfort and you are scrambling to fill the space with talk or technology,  it may be time to practice embracing stillness and just be with what is.  Teach your body to rest and restore.

A wise meditation teacher Chogyam Trungpa taught about two kinds of boredom:

  1. “Hot Boredom” is that strong uncomfortable feeling that propels us to seek entertainment. It’s like being locked in a padded cell where we feel irritated, bored, closed in with just our thoughts.  Yet as we evolve in our practice of being still we begin to move into a different, higher state.
  2. “Cool Boredom” is where we notice our boredom without reacting to it in the same way.  It feels more spacious; we allow ourselves to sit with it, observe and lean into the boredom and thoughts without judgement — allowing it to exist as it is.  When we do this daily, a shift occurs over time and we learn to tap into the deep calm river that flows through each of us when needed.  It’s this steady calm transferred into real life situations — like the health crisis our country is experiencing today — that make us stronger individually and collectively.   So don’t buy into the fear. Stay steady my friends.

Ancient secrets Sustain calm and balance in the storms of life

Slow down, ground, and just be in each moment as it unfolds:

  • Just one deep breath can reset your nervous system.  For a deeper reset try 4-7-8 breathing (there are many good videos on youtube.com.)
  • Practice daily mindfulness: meditate, walk, close your eyes and just be with the stillness.
  • My personal favorite app to support mental well being is “Calm.”  I use their simple 5-10 minute guided meditations daily. The sleep stories lull me off to dreamland, I enjoy the soothing music compositions as I go about my day, and am especially impressed by the classes they offer by masters in the field of mindfulness. Patients can email me for a 30-day free trial of the Calm Premium app to get started.
  • Yoga may elevate the brain’s GABA levels and create calm.
  • GET OUTSIDE! Get fresh air daily.  Whether it’s sunny or rainy — take a walk, dig in the garden, pull weeds, hug a tree, feel the wind in your hair, connect to the earth under your feet and hear the music of nature!

Facing COVID-19

As for COVID-19, yes it is out there . . . and yes, this is a worthy of our calm and collected attention.  Remember your daily calming practices.  From there, take good care of yourselves and others. As my Dad told me often, “Don’t be scared, be smart,” and remember to separate facts from fear.

Please Note:  If you or someone in your family shows signs of COVID-19, you cannot show up at any walk-in urgent care or other clinic (including Seasons Health).  At this time, most clinics do not have the tools available to test you correctly. Please stay home if you think you are getting a cold/flu or COVID-19. Then call your doctor, describe your symptoms and they will inform you of the next steps to take. If you are experiencing any urgent symptoms, such as high fever, difficulty breathing or other symptoms of immediate concern, call 911, or go to your local emergency room.

Helpful links:

CDC Coronavirus Homepage
CDC Proper Handwashing Technique
City of Austin Updates on COVID-19

Other ideas to get you through the storm

  • Take a few daily supplements for preventative care such as vitamin C, Zinc, and a probiotic. There are many other options for preventative care and illness I suggest based upon each individual’s needs.
  • Practice good self-care to maintain a healthy immune system:  get plenty of exercise, healthy foods, purified water and sleep. Bring in your own special stress busters. I like to take long walks, practice yoga and meditation, bounce on my mini trampoline, garden, and get plenty of deep belly laughs!
  • Avoid exposure to crowds for now; avoid being with others when either you are they are feeling sick — don’t wait until you run a fever to self-quarantine. Remember studies are showing many people are asymptomatic with COVID-19.  One of those studies, published by Eurosurveillance found that of the 634 who tested positive aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship 328 of them showed no symptoms.  This means people who have the virus could be spreading it without knowing, which could be especially dangerous to older adults and people with underlying health issues.
  • Essence oils are a wonderful addition to your wellness kit
    • Create a calming atmosphere by Defusing therapeutic-grade essential oils in your home:  Like Young Living’s Stress Away, and Grounding, thieves, lavender or orange.
    • Looking to purify the air: Purification is the blend for you.
    • To create an uplifting environment try peppermint, lemon or lavender, or blend the three!
    • Think respiratory care with R.C., Raven and my favorite Ravintsara. These can bring a comforting aroma when applied to the chest.
    • Please Note:  Young Living’s Vitality line of oils are labeled for internal use, so you can safely and confidently use them as an addition to your wellness routine.  Thieves Vitality is a good choice to support a healthy immune system.*  Other vitality oils to consider?  How about Lemon Vitality.  It only takes a drop or two.
    • *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
    • Please contact me if you would like to learn more about essence oils and why I choose Young Living.
    • See Leslie’s Lifestyle Links on Facebook for more essence oil tips.

I invite you to tap into the deeper still waters of healing that run through each of us when we take time to sit, let go and listen to our inner wisdom.  Teach the people you love to do the same . . . Moreover, I am here to help and support you, your family and friends as you navigate the best choices for your health needs.

Charlotte’s Home Visits and Remote Holistic Healthcare Consults

**I am always available for online/remote holistic healthcare consults.** I can help you navigate the many options available for both preventive and healing purposes.  Together we will come up with a plan that may include diet, nutrition, lifestyle and calming tips, Chinese herbal formulas, and other wellness formulas.  Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine formulas have been around for centuries; they helped us through SARS and other health epidemics in the past.  They are now among the best and safest of herbal antivirals.

I close with sage advice from The Way of Zen to guide you through your days, this one is hanging in my very own kitchen:

Do one thing at a time

Do Things slowly and mindfully

Connect Deeply with People and Nature

Meditate frequently

Appreciate Silence

Expect Nothing

Be grateful for everything

Observe without judgment

Consume less, create more

Let go of fears and desires

Listen to understand, not to respond

Be Patient and generous

Love Deeply

Live Simply

And there is Always John Prine, who advises in his “Spanish Pipedream” song:

Blow up your TV, throw away your paper

Go to the country and build you a home

Plant you a garden, eat a lot of peaches

And try and find Jesus on your own . . .

From the light in me to the light in you, I wish you peace and calm to carry on through the storms of life.  We will all do this together, and we will be fine.

— Charlotte

 

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