When Stress Happens

Had a interesting night last night. Due to a series of events beyond my control, I was unable to sleep for most of the night and I found myself this morning feeling a little ragged, definitely not energized (the way I normally feel after a good night’s sleep), and edgy. What do I mean by edgy?  I mean that my nervous system was on red alert – not a state I normally live in these days. There have been time periods when I have lived from this edgy, ragged place for weeks on end – like the early motherhood period; where I slept with one ear open all night for my sick infant’s cry or whimper.

What I remember from those time periods, as well as what I noticed this morning, is that diffusing the “red alert” signal, and returning to a relaxed, resilient nervous system is really important. The longer it goes on, the harder it becomes to diffuse it easily because it becomes the “norm” to live through gritted teeth, which is exhausting.

The good news is that I had a session scheduled with a wonderful colleague of mine this afternoon. I knew that she had the wisdom and the skills to bring my system back into balance; which she did beautifully. I am writing to you now at a little after 5pm feeling back to my usual self (albeit tired.)

So what did I do to make it through my day? Canceling my day was not an option I wanted to choose and I had four clients to see. Here is what I did:

1) I admitted to myself that I felt tired and raggedy. I did not go into unconscious jaw tightening mode. I was honest with myself and kind to myself, as I would be with a friend in a similar situation.

2) I did what we in the HFC community lovingly call an “Emergency Grounding and Filling” – meaning I took the time to tune into what could possibly fill up my raggedy, empty tank, and then I did those things. I did not push myself to get up at my normal time and exercise. I slept in. I took the time in the shower to feel my feet and fill up with nourishing sensation – washing away my tension and letting in clean, clear energy through the cascade of warm water.

3) I proceeded through my morning gently. My sessions were wonderful. I enjoyed them a lot. By admitting to myself how I was honestly feeling, I was able to show up for them in a more authentic way and feel really present in spite of my fatigue.

4) I got a wonderful session this afternoon and it helped me “land” more fully, relaxing back onto my bones again. I am planning to head to bed early, and to get a good night’s sleep tonight.

So often when stressful situations occur, we manage to muscle our way through them and succeed in whatever we set out to do, only to feel absolutely frazzled and spent when it is all done. Please, if this is happening to you, take the time in whatever way works best for you (be honest with yourself about what you need) to recover and rejuvenate. This skill is vital for leading a healthy, resilient and joyful life.


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