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Change and Stress: Finding Energy and Clarity Again

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Change and Stress: Finding Energy and Clarity Again

I haven’t written a blog in three months’ time. Every time I sat down to write, I had nothing, my mind blank and creative energy gone. What happened? 

Change happened. 

On April 3rd, my mother, who just turned 85, fell backwards off a rail-less porch and broke her shoulder – and the change clock began ticking. Although I had planned a move to be closer to my mother, it was under the stress of her need for immediate care because she was suffering. 

Everything changed. For a lot of people.

My business changed to a primarily remote service. I had to learn to work in a home office. My clients had to mostly see me behind a camera. 

My residence changed: I left my home, my husband, my friends, and my community. As always, my husband understood the value of family and encouraged me. “Of course, you’ve got to go…”

My role changed. I had to think about someone else besides myself. This was the most significant adjustment. Caring for someone is tricky. I was all in, and when the person you’re caring for has been completely independent, this shift can cause mixed emotions. I tried to take over someone’s life who didn’t want or necessarily need it. She certainly needed my assistance and was grateful for my being there, but she didn’t need me to do everything

I got bossy. Fear does that; the “fight energy” does that. We had to make critical decisions.  We had to consider the risk and reward surrounding pain management and shoulder replacement surgery. Fear was high, and your thinking goes offline a bit. My mental energy was focused on caring for my mother and my clients. Honestly, I didn’t have much bandwidth left. 

I was aware of studies regarding change and stress.

There is even something called moving depression, but I usually don’t think “that stuff” applies to me…until it does. 

I felt myself sinking in an inertia spiral that began to suck me down. The collapse. The sitting and staring. A “friend” dropped off some Hershey’s Kisses and flowers for my mother, and my brain got hooked by the shiny objects. One night, I found myself binge watching Netflix, and I watched myself (it’s like a slow-motion movie) with a pile of foil wrappers in my lap, approaching a sugar coma. I thought to myself, “This is old behavior. I never thought I’d find myself here again.” Fear, loneliness, and a role crisis were trying to take hold. I tell you this, because it can happen to anyone. No shame – it’s how we respond that makes all the difference.

And now, I’m rebounding well. Here are the steps I took.

I had to talk about it. My mother and I renegotiated my role, and I’m letting her do more. I’m happy to report the shoulder replacement surgery went well, and she is on the mend. 

Additionally, I had to tell people I wasn’t doing well. I shared with my support people in Scottsdale, and I reached out to some local health professionals to network. Plus, I began attending a local church. I had to connect with other people and shed light on what was happening. 

One thing I never quit doing was moving. When you stop moving, you freeze up. I think what really saved me from falling too deep was joining a local gym and yoga studio as well as buying a pickleball membership to a local club. Movement is the way through. When you are falling into the dorsal vagal collapse, you have to activate play through a sympathetic/ventral vagal hybrid state to bring back safety in the body. I have written about yoga for years as a healing practice, but I didn’t experience it myself until now. I’m lucky that I have safe and beautiful surroundings to walk on these long summer days. 

Depression and inflammation go together, so I was very aware that the increase in sugar intake was also not my friend, even though my seeking brain saw it as the answer. I dug deep and increased my fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, beans, nut, and seed intake with reducing inflammation in mind. I had to think better and gain more clarity. Mindset is everything. I had to shift toward hope and visualize being in a better position in order to rise above the fear.

Lastly, I had to rest. I worked on my schedule to get more sleep. The days are long in Washington State in the summer, so the birds start singing before 5 am. Nothing productive happens after 9 pm for me, so I started a routine of winding down a couple hours earlier. I take a walk down to the lake and then back up to water the garden before I take a cool bath and get to bed.

I know not everyone who becomes a caretaker has the environment, resources, and time to pull together what I’ve put in place. 

After all, some loved ones truly need 24-7 care. But, as I ease back into my writing and creative work, I thought it was worth mentioning what can happen to any one of us, even those who teach and help others to do this for a living. 

As some of you know, my mantra goes, “Will this bring me clarity of mind, energy of body, and self confidence in order to do what I am called to do on this earth?” Sometimes, though, I must dig deeper than other times to climb out of the miry pit. Life is hard and does throw you curveballs at times. Be well.

 

Visit my website to learn more about my counseling, consulting, and coaching services as well as my current courses and recent Safe and Sound Protocol certification. 




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