Are you feeling brain fog, fatigue or lack of motivation? Or maybe you feel energy again, giddiness after walking with a friend without a mask or adrenaline after eating at a restaurant after you’ve been fully vaccinated. Many have anxiety about re-emerging and being around other people.
Welcome to the “pandexit”, the final phase of the pandemic coined by the self-described Nerdy Girls from a wonderful resource called “Dear Pandemic”. You can find their posts on social media as well.
I’m happy to report it’s all normal! We’ve been through a collective trauma this past year and half so how we emerge will be very unique to each one of us.
Image credit: Zachary Nelson, http://www.unsplash.com
The good news is the body/mind likes to be healthy, happy and connect with others.
The good news is the body/mind likes to be healthy, feel happy and connect with others. That’s our natural state. Given the right conditions, you will hopefully regain your energy, anxiety will become less and less as we allow ourselves some freedom as restrictions are lifted. Of course depending on your vaccination status, you will need to weigh your risks with certain activities. So, what are those right conditions?
How To Recover from Long Term Stress:
- Sleep! Go to bed early, sleep in a cold dark room, limit screen time 2 hours prior to bed time or wear blue light filtering glasses.
- Exposure: Start slow at socializing if you feel anxious at the thought. Walk with another vaccinated friend outdoors – super safe! Have a meal outdoors with a group. Stretch but not too much out of your comfort zone. We are wired for and crave connection so you will literally be swimming in feel-good neuro-chemicals that will help you feel at ease and wanting more.This will help you build up slowly.
- Movement: If you are exhausted, over-exercising will just keep you in a stress response so rather than running, choose walks in nature or bike rides. Add a friend or two to boost your mood.
- Mindful breathing: Just becoming aware of the breath helps you connect with your body and your nervous system. It naturally slows down. If you are anxious you can be more intentional and inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of 6 to turn off the stress response. Stress becomes a habit that we aren’t even aware of. Tuning into your breath several times/day helps to create new neural pathways.
- Savor! We have had over a year of alarming headlines and stories. What next?? We have become hyper vigilant and focused on the negative. This is a normal response from the brain that wants to keep you safe. We can re-wire this pattern with intentional savoring. When doing your daily activities, simply notice something beautiful or joyful or anything that makes you happy. Notice it for 20-30 seconds to actually create those new pathways in the brain and nervous system. Stop and enjoy simple moments during your day. Keep a savoring journal. Think of those moments at night before you sleep for even more effect.
- Nutrition: Opt for nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, good sources of protein, and stay away from sugar and the uppers (caffeine) and downers (alcohol) too many people have gotten hooked on this past year and half. Everything you eat and drink is energy and information that directs every cell of your body. Nurture yourself with the best food possible!
- Compassion for self and others: This has been a difficult year for everyone. Allow yourself to feel those feelings and give space to others to process theirs. Fatigue and sluggishness may be signs there are emotions that haven’t been processed.
What to do if symptoms remain? Please send me a message or schedule a free consult. Or seek professional help with a mental health provider or physician if symptoms of depression and anxiety or extreme fatigue remain.
I don’t think life will ever go back to what it was. Good thing or bad thing? Who knows? I do believe that the universe is evolving and expanding towards growth and love. With that in mind perhaps some reflection questions would be helpful as you re-emerge so you can use this opportunity to create a life that better aligns with you:
- What loss did you experience in the past year?
- What new habits or gifts emerged or unexpected blessings?
- What changes have you noticed about yourself?
- What changes do you want to make permanent, what changes need some loving attention?
- What do you want to include again that you really missed?
“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” Meister Eckhart.
Photo credit: http://www.unsplash.com Ekaterina Shakharova