Everyone deals with extreme stress in a different way. There is no right or wrong. During the “circuit breaker” period I have seen that those people who have a steady job/cashflow or could move in with family members to save costs tend to enjoy the confinement more than the average person. Same goes for business owners or freelancers who managed to fully jump on their online business and took that to the next level. Well done!
However, I have also seen those who suffer from anxiety, are afraid to leave the house out of fear to contract the virus, and therefore, haven’t felt the sun on their skin for weeks or even months, there are those who face existential fears and may have problems sleeping through the night.
Here some clues or warning signs whether you or your partner are suffering from the confinement more than you previously thought and whether you should take action about it:
You feel more fearful or negative about the future. You became a “worrier” and have lost trust that you will come out of this stronger. Try to focus on something positive every day. Write them down to remind yourself of the positive aspects in your life.
You feel very lonely, whether you live with someone or not. You really miss being hugged and feel the need for physical proximity of another human being. You could try self-massage on your feet with your elbow and hands. This will help to relieve stress as well. Ideally, you could use some lavender essential oil with it.
You are not taking care of yourself anymore. That could be a poorer diet, less or no exercise, neglecting your physical appearance. You lack the energy or ambition or don’t see the point why you should get pretty for just yourself. Try to dress up for your zoom calls or your cat. Wear lipstick at home or put on a nice shirt.
You haven’t been out during the past few weeks or months at all, even though you were stilled allowed to. You lost interest in being in nature or exercise outdoors. Having no sun on the skin can cause a lack of vitamin D. Go for a walk in shorts and T-shirt in the sun or stand by your window to get some sun rays or do sun tanning on the balcony.
You have trouble sleeping, whether falling asleep, wake up during the night, or wake up more than 2 hours earlier than usual. This is often connected with anxiety or if the nervous system is not able to rebalance itself anymore, which is common when experiencing extreme stress. Bodywork may help with this.
You feel even a small tiny thing can havoc your nerves or you feel numb, unable to move. Try following a self-care ritual every day. Do something nice. Sing a song, do some yoga, listen to some uplifting music and dance to it.
You feel you need a drink to keep sane or finish off the day, as there is no more clear cut between going to work and relaxing at home. Men and women consume alcohol differently. If the alcohol fills a need for you on a daily basis, you get digestive issues, and/or regularly wake up at night, it’s time to look at this more seriously.
You become overly controlling over small details, such as creating strict rules for yourself or others. Living in an environment where you can’t control anything anymore as your freedom and some basic rights have been taken away from you, makes some people react with creating even more rules to get back a sense of control. It may help to do some relaxation exercises and distract yourself with some pleasant activities such as being creative to find another outlet.
All of the above are some common reactions to extreme stress and trauma. They should be addressed by a qualified therapist. Help is available and you don’t need to suffer alone! This is a very trying period for most people, even though you may have previously felt emotionally steady and healthy!
Bodywork can be an effective tool in helping you let go of unresolved sensations such as anxiety, fear, and sleep problems due to the current experience with confinement. Using the body to access these emotions can work very well, as emotions are processed by the limbic system, which is a very old part of the brain. Logical thinking, however, is processed by a newer part of the brain. The skin and nervous system developed at the same time during the womb, which explains why touch can be so beneficial at rebalancing the nervous system. Want to know more?
Jennifer Eisenecker is an ex-banker, German-certified naturopath, and business owner. Knowing how limited time and mind space often are, her recommendations are practical, easy to follow, and as simple as possible.
Jennifer’s multi-disciplinary approach involves going back to basics, looking at health from a trauma-aware perspective, and achieving health by calming down the nervous system to optimize your body’s innate ability to rebalance itself. She loves herbs and natural remedies.