Spotlight on Emotional and Mental Well-being:
As we get deeper into hurricane season, it is imperative that we take care of ourselves and acknowledge how we are feeling on a day to day basis. With levels of PTSD still lingering and underlying many daily interactions, here are some tips to help you stay centered:
☯️Breathe. Anxiety is often triggered by living in the future, imagining outcomes that have not happened yet. When we become anxious, our breath becomes erratic and it activates the fight-or-flight response in the body. In order to restore balance to the central nervous system, it’s important to engage in deep abdominal breath. Place your hands on your abdomen and observe the rise and fall of your hands. This instantly brings you into the present moment.
☯️Stay present. It’s crucial to focus on the facts, not the fears. Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. Remember that anxiety is triggered by thoughts of a future that have not happened yet, so take some time to focus on things using your senses. Look around and observe your surroundings as is. Use your sense of smell and observe any scents that may be around you. Focusing on details in your immediate environment can bring you right back into the present moment. And then breathe.
☯️Acknowledge your feelings. It’s completely common to feel anxiety and worry, especially this time of year. Allow for your feelings to exist and create space for them to come up and out. Repressed emotion can lead to illness and other uncomfortable emotions, like anger and frustration. Cry if you need to! Just let it out.
☯️Talk. Find supportive and loving friends/family that you feel safe expressing your feelings to. Seek a counselor if you are not comfortable speaking with the people you love. There is nothing wrong with asking for help! We all struggle with things in our lives; we’re human.
☯️Get moving! Move your body. Anxiety is another form of energy that is pent up in the body and needs an outlet. Exercise, yoga, dancing; anything that helps you move the pent up emotions. Additionally, exercise activates our happy chemicals!
☯️Find time to do something you love to do, whether it’s as simple as listening to music, taking a bath, dining out…take care of you! It’s so important to our well-being to participate in activities that bring us joy.
☯️Reduce the alcohol. While having a drink or two may temporarily “calm the nerves,” it actually can make anxiety and depression worse when the buzz wears off. Additionally, it dehydrates the body and that can trigger anxiety as well.
☯️Get adequate sleep. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for your overall well-being! It may be challenging to sleep when stressed, so focusing in on the breathing meditation can be very effective for calming the mind.
☯️Find small things in your life that you can control. We cannot control the weather, and anxiety is often triggered by feeling out of control, so do small things that make you feel in control. Clean, organize, make lists, de-clutter; all can help you to refocus and feel more centered.
☯️ Find acceptance. Hurricane season happens every year. Remind yourself that it is temporary and we live on a beautiful island. We are a resilient community and have access to far more resources and assistance than ever before. All will be okay. Focus on re-framing your thoughts to the outcome you want to happen: a calm, peaceful season with enough rain to nourish our island. Transform the energy and then let go 🙏