Stress in December (part 1/2)…
When we’re stressed, we can get ‘locked in’ to what’s causing that stress. This can be heightened by what we’re thinking, feeling, and physically experiencing in response to stress. For example: headaches, stomach pain, anxiety, anger, and finding it hard to think about much else.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic can add to this feeling of being ‘locked in’, especially as we have literally had lockdowns to get through. Being mindful of any cumulative, ongoing stressors such as these can being reassuring in knowing that the fault is not with you.
You’re going through something stressful and out of control, finding your own ways to get through it – sometimes with limited options.
This year we can socialise for Christmas, but it’s not stress-free. You might be under pressure from things like: family and cultural expectations or missing loved ones who are no longer around.
When ongoing stress happens it can help to re-connect with other thoughts, feelings, and sensory experiences. This gives us control to mediate between what’s stressful and something soothing, or even just neutral. In this way we can get some relief from the stress, as much as is possible.
It’s a way to practise self-regulating our thoughts, feelings, and bodies.
Who can you talk to so that upsetting thoughts are interrupted by something else, even if just for a few minutes? What distractions are there to help your brain focus on something different? For queer folks who have to be closeted for the holidays, keeping in touch with your chosen family and allies can re-affirm who you are and your experiences of the world.
If it’s hard to connect with your body because it’s not a comfortable place, try connecting with things adjacent to it. Do you need to be warmer or cooler, or have a change of scenery? Would wearing something different help you feel better, or at least more comforted?