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

 

Unplug, Get Outside! Get Acupuncture Before You Travel!

I’m raising a young adult growing up in the techno generation.   This task is a wild ride for those of us who came in on different rockets, had phones that plugged into the wall, had to seek out a pay phone if out and wanting to call someone, had no computer, and oh yeah walked miles to school each day in the rain!  Imagine that, and it wasn’t so long ago – was it?!  How do we grasp this brave new techno world, navigate it, and help our kids do the same?   We are the test run my friends!

I think there is too much techno on the brain for some, perhaps for many.   I hear comments ranging from “that’s just what kids do these days,” to a lot of  “I just don’t know what to do” — “I’ve tried it all.”   The truth is all of that and more!  Kids are light years ahead of us in techno know how! . . . and personally I don’t know how or want to keep up.   So we talk to each other about what helps, what doesn’t, and know we will all survive, and even thrive, if we keep circling back to our roots and nurture our connections.  I take night walks with my teen, a tuck in at night with a gratitude practice to end the day, hands on a real book, face to face conversations, deep listening — the kind where we just listen, see, listen more, love and strive to accept and understand — connect.  You cannot influence a kid you are not connected too!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine we talk a lot about moderation. Too much electronic use creates imbalance issues in our nervous system, and throws other organ systems out of whack.  This and other excesses can produce anxiety, depression, attention deficits and other health issues.  It’s more important than ever to teach ourselves and thereby our children the healing power of striking a balance in life so our body systems stay strong and healthy.  Modeling healthy behaviors and communication for our kids is paramount.

Teenage children and many adults use their phones as a socializing tool.  We have the benefit of reaching our people at the touch of a finger on snap chat, instagram, twitter and more.  So, don’t get me wrong, I can see the benefits and I am grateful.   I use those tools now as I write this blog, sitting on the patio at one of my favorite outdoor food trucks, Picnik, watching the rain fall and people go by–who knew that would be possible when I was a teenager!  Years ago, reaching so many people was impossible!  However, As parents we know some of the greatest lessons we can teach our children come from striking a balance in ourselves, and thereby helping our kids do the same.  It feels more difficult in this age and time, but is it really?  Each generation had it’s hardships.  I want to hear how you nurture your balance?  Do you feel like idle time is a waste of time, or can you sit still, quiet, and contemplate just being here now, without electronics on?  How do you slow your pace and consciously create slow mindful living?  Do we need to be plugged in Now, or can it wait?  How important are you, your family?  How balanced are you?  Let’s think about how we can connect, market, communicate, thrive and just be, without electronics sometimes.

As for me, my best answers for balancing are generally found in nature, and in the eyes and hearts of my son, and my people.  I put away my computer and phone as often as I can or it makes me crazy and not so nice! I get outside, sleep on my porch, put my feet on the ground, in a river stream — the ocean, feel my hair in the wind and my toes in the sand, listen to the leaves crunch under my feet as I hike through the woods, watch the clouds roll by,  plant and nurture herbs in my garden, dance in the rain!  Then sometimes I take a real camera on my outdoor adventures – and share some of nature with my friends hoping to inspire you to get out in it too!  Excess electromagnetic field radiation on the brain is a real problem!  Love the place you are in,  and the One You’re With, not the thing you’re with!

The Chinese New Year is one of the greatest migrations on Earth!  This year, around 400 million people journeyed home to family roots, a family feast, and time celebrating together.  This year is the year of the Pig – which is a zodiac sign that is declared to attract luck and success, which I love, since my Chinese Zodiac is the Pig!   Point is remember your roots!  I grew up in Austin (yes, there are a few of us here!), and I take my child each year on our own journey to the high mountain desert of the Big Bend area in Texas.  My father took me there growing up and now my son and I do the things my father and I did — we swim in Balmorhea Natural Springs, hike the Chisos mountains, and the Canyons, drive the beautiful roads of Big Bend National Park.   We partake in the slow living to be had in the small towns there, the heartfelt people and their beautiful sun touched faces.  We bask in the cool dry climate of late summer and appreciate the Great Outdoors!  This is our annual migration home in a way, we sing, laugh, play and are recharged and connected!

I hope you are traveling some this summer, and experiencing the great expansive outdoors.  Take a journey, even if it’s experiencing your own backyard in a different way.  My yard has some changes upcoming I’m excited about – I will keep you posted on facebook and instagram!

So, remember — sit or lie on the ground, be still and quiet — you will feel and hear in the wind that you are connected to all things and you will find the peace you desire.

Acupuncture, herbal remedies and essence oils can help you stay calm and steady on a plane, in a car, with the kids arguing in the back seat of your vehicle, or playing their rap music loudly!  Get your travel calm on with Acupuncture and grab your holistic care travel kit before you venture out this summer!  More on Travel Acupuncture Here.

I am very excited to share that I am expanding my Home Visit practice — so I can come to you and it’s quiet affordable!! More On Home Visits Here.

Happy Summer Solstice, Breathe, Love, Get outside!

Charlotte

Make and Appointment or Contact me email Here.

EE Cummings said many wise things . . .  here are a few of my favorites . . .

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.

For every mile the feet go, the heart goes nine”
e.e. cummings, 100 Selected Poems