During this time, while a lot of us are grappling with emotions we don’t typically experience or exaggerated versions of those that we do, it’s essential to lean on simple self-care practices for support.
The nervous system plays a significant role in how we process and experience our emotions. When things feel overwhelming and chaotic, our bodies are begging for support.
Coping mechanisms don’t have to be limited to pharmaceuticals or expensive therapy (or wine). There are simple tools that nourish our nervous systems.
During an emergency or a stressful situation, the nervous system goes into a sympathetic state. Blood is taken away from the digestive system, and heart rate and blood pressure rise. Right now, a lot of us are having a hard time getting out of this state, which ends up taking a toll on our physical and mental health.
A majority of our time should be spent in a parasympathetic state where digestion is functioning correctly, blood pressure and heart rate are normal, and our bodies experience deep restorative sleep.
Here are some of my favorite techniques to get there.
Aromatherapy - Countless studies have shown aromatherapy can activate the calming effects of the parasympathetic vagus nerve response. Aromatherapy can take the form of diffusing essential oils or merely smelling them directly from the bottle. I like to place a drop in my hands and breathe in several times, or place a few drops in the bath or shower and let the aroma steam up around me. You do you, boo.
Big Emotions Roller - add 15 drops each of Bergamot, Frankincense, Stress Away, and Valor essential oils to a 10 ml roller bottle. Top off with a carrier oil (like jojoba) and shake well. Apply to the wrists or behind the ears and breathe in. Appropriate for both kids and adults!
Breath-work - you can do this throughout the day or just before bedtime to deeply soothe the nervous system. Incorporating aromatherapy takes it to another level. If you’re already feeling a little out of control right now, holding your breath may not appeal to you, so here are two variations to try.
Breathe in normally and gently for six seconds and then out for six seconds - rhythmically like an ocean wave - over one minute, five times in and out.
Breathe in for four seconds while imagining you’re breathing in healing and nourishing energy. Hold for four seconds while that energy cycles through your body. Breathe out for eight seconds and imagine the energy that no longer serves you being absorbed by the loving and nurturing universe. Repeat this several times.
For more holistic self-care ideas, join me over on IG @kimvorberger.
Love to you and yours!