During these unique times riddled with uncertainty and fear it is important that we engage in strategies that will help us cope. Self- care is recommended as a place to start but why is it that in the age of binge-watching, we still feel stressed?
Often, when it is time for self-care our “inner-critic,” kicks in to remind us of incomplete tasks. You may be watching a show and internally you are preoccupied with thoughts about work or household chores. Neurologically our brains are in a constant battle between two aspects of our nervous system. “Fight/Flight” and “Rest/Digest.” These cannot effectively function at the same time. So, when we are on our walk and we think about bills, fight or flight is triggered thus releasing stress hormones that keep us in a cycle of feeling fatigued and overwhelmed.
Mindfulness is a self-care strategy that engages the “rest and digest” system. Start by doing something you enjoy, simultaneously take a pause and notice your five senses (sound, smell, sight, touch, taste.) If you are on a walk, watch& listen to the birds, notice the ground beneath your feet, taste water you brought with you, and literally “stop to smell the roses.” Mindfulness just as with eating well and exercise – requires lifestyle changes. It is not as effective if we start but do not continue. Health and the maintenance of this is a life’s work. Breathe deep and stay well.
Written by: Anastasia Agramonte, LCSW