Stuck in traffic. News cycle gives you nightmares. Hot weather leaves you with hives. Old traumas rear up and knock you right in the lumbar spine. Maybe you have a chronic condition. Who knows? It could be any number of things. What matters is that your situation has left you in a state of chronic stress and you are feeling not only the stimulus but also the side effects of your response.
What can you do to protect yourself?
There are limits to how much anyone can process in any given situation. If you have too many things going on, it is hard to make choices regarding your wellness strategy. Maybe right now is not the time to start a big project, like losing the twenty pounds you are determined to drop (or maybe it is time to focus on a big project–and let the other little ones go). You can’t do everything at once and you can’t put out all the fires either.
The cliché about an empty cup not serving anyone and the lecture about putting on your air mask before your flight takes off are good to keep in mind. Sit down and think about what really matters to you and focus on making something happen in relation to that. (For example: canvasing for your favorite local candidate, taking care of your diet so that you don’t have unrelenting indigestion, and making time to do one new social thing each week can help you feel less helpless about the news cycle, nurture your own health, and get out and meet new people. That’s simple and specific but it’s comprehensive and worth undertaking, too).
~~~Take care of your body~~~
Your body is your home. Each and every one of us has our individual health challenges, and some are greater than others. We can all do our best to achieve our unique optimal levels of health though. When life’s challenges are coming at you quickly and at an unrelenting pace it is that much more important to be as physically healthy as possible.
Some tips: Start small and be consistent. If you know you are tired at the end of the day and crave sugary treats, prepare an alternative BEFORE you come home from work. If it’s too hot to walk outside, then go to a tai qi or a yoga class. Get some bodywork or acupuncture. Talk to your traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner about lifestyle change. Maybe work with a holistic health coach or a personal trainer. Pay attention to nutrition and rest. Practice breathing.
~~~Take care of your mind~~~
If you have been driven to nightmares by the news cycle, limit yourself even just slightly. Plan for how much time you spend on the social media and have something else to do for when you start to anxiously scroll the twitter feed. And when you are on social media? Make sure you have some nice friends and contacts whose content makes you feel like you are part of a community. Remember, there is way more to the world than what is fed to you by Facebook or any other platform. Look for the good. Look for the helpers.
If you find that you are in a spiral, do seek help. I know from my own practice that there is a lot of stress and anxiety going on right now. People’s bodies are showing the effects of the hot Austin summer and that’s stressful. Bodies and minds are showing the results of a tumultuous cultural moment and anxiety is manifesting in a wide variety of ways. I can help with stress and health maintenance, plus several important other issues. If you would like to find an acupuncturist or a bodywork therapist, check around. My specialty areas are my specialty areas. Other acupuncturists work with other specific considerations that I don’t treat. You have options, so do look until you find the right person for you. (For more on finding the perfect acupuncturist for you, look here).
There is help out there, and you can help yourself, too. It’s tough to pause an anxiety or stress cycle long enough to make a plan to do something about it. Doing so takes self awareness, some discipline, and a good measure of resources, both internal and external. All in all, it’s not always easy.
But what is the alternative? Chronic stress is no joke. The time to do something is now.
Paula Bruno, Ph.D., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, an AOBTA-CP traditional Chinese bodywork therapist, and a wellness educator. She maintains an active and growing practice at her Austin, TX offices. Dr. Bruno is also available for distance appointments for wellness consultation or coaching.
In her first career, she was a Spanish professor.
Dr. Bruno’s specialties as a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner include: • Musculoskeletal health (acute or chronic pain relief; Ehlers Danlos syndrome & hypermobility support) • Digestive support, gut health, and weight loss • Aesthetic treatment, including scar revision • Men’s health • General preventative care and immune support for all persons.
Note: Material on this web site is not intended to replace your treatment or care provided by an MD. It is for educational/entertainment purposes only. A TCM practitioner in Texas identifies syndrome patterns but does not diagnose illness. Always consult your primary care doctor for health concerns.
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