Anxiety is something we all live with in our lives.
But with the change of season, Covid-19 and returning to worksites, only a few pays before Christmas can send us into a state of overwhelm.
Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling. Our brain identifies this feeling and, being programmed in every way for survival, puts the body on heightened alert for possible dangers. Protection mode and emergency systems activated!
With the physiological changes in our breathing and body and the added work required to get the brain to concentrate, to problem solve, and constantly scanning for any dangers is exhausting. Our attention seems drawn towards negatives that can enhance feelings of our inabilities to cope, uncertainty and danger. What to do?
I look around me and see the answers in my community and under my roof.
Aware the body is in an emergency state I’m curious about other operational emergency systems around me such as: Police, Ambulance and Fire Services. What make them work well? I have noticed all these services operate from a base point. Emergency vehicles and staff are directed towards activating situations. Once the crisis has been taken care of the behaviour of the team is to return to base to Replenish, restock and refocus. Everyone would exit the vehicle. Simple tasks such as restocking the vehicles, chatting whilst taking in food and drink, and resting before the next call is something directly linked to what the science tells us needs to happen following the activation of our emergency system.
Isn’t it true that we keep ourselves on heightened alert ready for the next problem, the next stressful situation when the process of the one before hasn’t been completed? It’s as if we keep the ambulance parked on the street outside the first house call ready for the next situation we know won’t be far away. We have kept our emergency system out all day. Stocks have been depleted and we have no more capacity to manage another situation in the day. We are done in with exhaustion. All we feel good for is the couch and remote until bedtime. To get up and do it all again tomorrow.
How important then is it to develop a home base within ourselves and return there often during each day?
I watch Ayla and, after a period of excitement or anxiety, I see she puts herself on her bed which we maintain as her safe place, her place for a rest, recovery and rejuvenation time. This may be several times in a day. Puppies will do the same – they cannot go all day long even though it seems they have energy in reserve! They rest.
Our emergency servicemen and women rest. They take time to rest, recover and rejuvenate.
What can you do to add this important strategy into your life several times a day?
Is it every time you wash your hands do five deep belly breaths to oxygenate the body and brain, hydration – get a glass of water, stop for lunch, walk around the block, find a quiet room for twenty minutes to read or listen to music away from overload?
Move, get up from your desk and talk about weekend planning with a colleague, keeping some energy in the tank to enjoy your home and what it needs to mean for you. Completely depleted we cannot wait until the end of the day, or week to rest, recover and rejuvenate.
We need to visit our own home bases often in a day to ensure our sustainability.