The unfolding details of death and injury in Boston delivers more stress for those of you directly or indirectly impacted as well as for those of you following the events on the news. Consequently I have had many questions about what to do and how to take care of yourself. You may have seen interviews with returning Kansas City runners… one woman reported having difficulty sleeping and a startle response to noise or sirens. That is a totally normal reaction. As adrenal glands slow down on the pumping of stress hormones into your system, reality of the experience sets in. Both emotional and physical pain come to the surface. The result is often difficulty sleeping, sitting still, focusing, thinking clearly, making decisions, organizing your life, and moving forward with your day to day obligations. These reactions can come in waves, meaning they seem to intensify and then go away, and then return…..or they can be consistently with you.
If my suggestion that you talk to someone about what you feel is not a “fit” for you, try writing. Grab a notebook or pad of paper and write about what’s in your mind and in your heart. Release is the key. If you cry every time you see a victim/survivor interviewed on the news, or feel a surge of anger about such senseless tragedy, your body is trying to help you release pent up feelings. If you can, breathe, and allow the feelings to surface. Our bodies are usually smarter than we are and they make every effort to communicate the need to engage in self-care.
Make an effort to do something that both relaxes you and allows you to see if your mind is racing. Sit quietly and focus on your breathing…. see if it’s just too difficult or if it in fact relieves you. Both are legitimate responses. You are only looking for your own response. See how LONG you can sit quietly, just focusing on your breath. Your mind will wander and then return to breathing. The process will repeat. You are simply giving yourself a break, enhancing your awareness of what you think and feel. If you need help with this suggestion, check out the one minute meditation that’s on the website. It will help you get started.
Remember what you are feeling is only about YOU. We are each unique and different in our stress responses. So be kind to yourself. If you can, discuss and don’t compare! Do something fun and relaxing this weekend. And do something FOR SOMEONE ELSE. It will pull you outside of your stress at least momentarily.
And keep reflecting on stress questions elsewhere in my blogs. I’ll keep posting more questions for you to use. Hang in there and remember the goodness in the people all around us!