Are we slowly but surely all going bonkers?
Is the C-virus lockdown getting to you? Do you find yourself doing one or more of the following?
- constantly refreshing news sites to check on the latest casualities and epidemic related news
- worrying that you will run out of food and essentials
- wanting to stay in bed all day in your PJs, with little motivation to be productive
- desperation that you can’t go places, meet people and generally exercise free will.
- an unshakeable discomfort deep in your being.
- inner restlessness that no exercise, food or binge watching Netflix can cure.
- laughing immoderately at things you noramlly don’t find funny
- losing yourself in tears because your internet is slow today
- getting mad at a family member for refusing to play a game with you
- wanting to eat all the time
Are we all going mad? Absoultely not. These concerns are legitimate and even normal. They can even be understood by a little trip down to your gray matter. Say, what?!
The Almond shaped organ shouting WOLF!
I’m talking about that almond shaped mass of tissue deep in your brain called the Amygdala. This little bit of ancient (remember this word) brain tissue is the one conducting your orchestra right now. It’s in charge. The amygdala takes centre stage when we are experiencing fear. God knows there’s a tonne of fear doing the rounds now.
Fear is not all bad. It is in fact what has honed our survival instincts over the centuries and kept us safe from hungry animals and dangerous situations. Imagine our cave roots from eons ago. Say a big bad wolf lurks at the door. Your every instinct tells you to run!!! Or if you’re a brave one, to fight it. Because let’s face it, your life literally depended on these two reactions- fight or flight. It’s the amygdala that sets off the blaring sirens causing you to jump into action.
Recall, how I called the amygdala ancient? Well, it is basically set to two options- WOLF! or No Wolf. Now the threat of the C-virus is very real and gaining momentum. Even if you are not directly affected, you are picking up on the anxiety that any pandemic brings with it. The fear is palpable. The amygdala senses this danger and is screaming WOLF WOLF WOLF to your entire being! In response, the body is flooded with stress hormones- cortisol and adrenaline. Your nerves fire up, your heart starts to race, your breath quickens and all your muscles tense so you can fight or flee.
Now, wait a minute. What is the advice blaring from every communication device you own? STAY HOME!
Your body is conflicted. Staying home, according to our amygdala, amounts to doing nothing; hence putting us in very “anciently perceived” danger. You want to run, fight, do something. But all the advice out there, and the best, might I add, tells you to stay home. It does indeed save lives. That and basic hygiene. Wash those hands with soap for 20 seconds!!!!!
Anxiety can cause all sorts of symptoms from palpitations and sleeplessness to rage and diarrhoea. So whatever you are experiencing right now, know that it is ok. Of course, if you are worried, please get in touch with your doctor.
Turning off the WOLF siren
So what can we do to stay calm despite the Amygdala blaring alarm bells in our head? There is a way to hack into it. Ancient, remember? This also means the amygdala has no recent updates and can easily fall prey to the following tricks:
- Pranayama or Mindful breathing: sounds oversimplified? It’s not, trust me. All you have to do is breathe deeply, slowly and mindfully. Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4, exhale for 6. There are various combinations, look them up. This method of breathing slows down that crazy, fast respiration caused by the stress hormones; ndirectly, communicating that the threat is over, you can breathe slower. Ultimately, leading your body to calm down.
- Get your hands dirty: create art, cook, clean, plant something in pots or the garden. Engage in an activity that is literally hands-on. Bonus- this will keep you from obsessively checking the news.
- Connect to people: if there ever was a time to find your tribe, it is now. Everybody is home and reachable. Connect with those that lift you up, help you stay positive and are truly interested in you as a person. Stay away from the toxic ones who drain you or increase your anxiety. There’s so much love out there, go find your people.
- Move: it doesn’t matter whether you walk like an egyptian, twerk like Miley Cyrus or just wobble like a loose doorknob. Movement and exercise help the brain release Endorphins aka the happy hormones. Couple movement with music and you the whole ambience changes!
- Digital Detox: hard as this one is, now more than ever, we need to regulate how we use technology. Stop drowning yourself in social media and chasing virus stats. Screens are mesmerizing no doubt, but they are also depressing and addictive. Allow yourself a limited, daily amount of time to check the news and to engage in mindless browsing. Use technology wisely- perhaps to learn a new skill, listen to an inspiring podcast or to connect to like-minded humans.
- Treat your temple well: namely your body. Be kind to it, nourish it with plenty of water, nourishing, fresh (if possible) foods, vitamins. Take a long bath, wear makeup, dress up like you would if you were going out. Take your family members on a date to the dining room.
- Go with the slow flow: this is an unexpected sabaticcal that has thrown all of us off course. Take advantage of the reduced pace of life to do things that you normally wouldn’t. Get out pen, paper, envelope and stamp- send someone snail mail. Slow cook- make a meal from scratch. Indulge in that (indoor) hobby you never have time for. Meditate. Sleep. Be kind to yourself.
Please know that should you need any assistance- homoeopathic or otherwise, the team and I are here for you. We’re only a call or a message away.