3 Necessary Nutrients To Get Over Sandy Aftermath
If you were watching the news or if you live on the East coast, you know that the past few days have been very rough for many people. Fortunately, most of my friends and clients were not harmed but many of them are left without water, heat, and power.
Our home was no exception. This was the first time my boyfriend and I were not that happy about living on the 40th floor. On Wednesday after we found out that our building was not expected to have power or water for the next 8-10 days, we walked down 40 floors with bags and our dog to start our post-Sandy adventure. Friends’ apartments, air beds, trying to find a hotel, checking in with loved ones, rescheduling business appointments, horrible traffic, no routine whatsoever!
It was definitely a humbling experience that forced us to let go of all expectations, regular schedule, and certain comforts. But considering how many people are left without homes, we are very lucky and grateful to be alive and safe.
Nevertheless, there is no point to pretend that life is back to normal and that we are not stressed out to the point of anxiety. For many people life is still far from the peaceful day to day existence of regular work days.
Making difficult decisions, dealing with rescheduling, while living on somebody’s couch or in the house with no power, spending hours in traffic and trying to support those who need it most is no easy endeavor!
These are usually the times when we fall off the wagon with healthy eating, regular exercise routine, meditation or prayer habit and get into a comfort food stuffing mode sitting in front of the tv.
While it is a normal desire to feel at least some control and pleasure during the tough time full of uncertainty, it won’t help you in the long run to recover.
A few things can help you recover though. In this weeks article I share what those things are and how to use them to stay balanced and strong in these trying times.
Stressful times can inflame the issues that seemed healed. Emotional eating, mindless overeating, binging on chocolate and cookies, nail biting, hair pulling, you name it, if it’s related to stress it can appear. The key to resolving the issue is to recognize it at its roots and acknowledge it. Don’t get upset if you catch yourself going to the old habits. Keep in mind that your body is going through a stressful time and is using old coping mechanisms. Instead of going into a negative self-talk rut and hating your body, show some compassion. Press a PAUSE button and ask yourself to describe the emotions that you are feeling. Recognizing the emotions that you are going through will help you find a better way of dealing with them. You might be wondering how do you press a pause button in the heat of the moment. Here is where the 2nd tip comes in.
When we are stressed our breath changes. It becomes shallow, faster, and incomplete. If you consciously make your breath deeper and slower, your nervous system and your body will calm down. It never fails to work! It does take commitment though. You have to remind yourself to breathe deeply as often as you can. Put a timer on your phone for every 60mins and take 10 slow deep breaths. Or at least breathe deeply before and after every meal.
If you feel frazzled and anxious, then do a mental mantra with every breath saying mentally: inhale – SO, exhale HUM. It is a very grounding calming mantra. If you feel angry and agitated, do Sitali: inhale through a tube with you tongue (or lips) and exhale slowly through your nose. If you feel sluggish and depressed, do Bhastrika 30-50 rounds. Breath has to be a part of your regular routine and it will make you feel better. Speaking about the routine and getting things on schedule brings us to the next point.
Create a Comforting Routine
Uncertainty creates a frazzled vata mind. When we don’t have the luxury of living at home and having access to our kitchen and favorite foods, when you sleep in a new place, and have to get to work in a different way (my heart goes out to everyone in NYC going through the crazy traffic), your body perceives it as stress. Stress can mess with our immune system, breath, nervous system, physical and mental health. In no-regular-routine times we can experience digestive issues, emotional eating, crankiness, feeling spacey and ungrounded. It is difficult to make good decisions and be productive without a good structure or a routine. Since we don’t have control of the circumstances, weather, or traffic, we need to create a comforting routine using the elements that we do have control of: food, self-care, and physical activity.
Stressful times call for simple nourishing food. The more stressed you are, the simpler your fare should be. Easy to digest vegetable soups, stews, porridge, and stewed fruits are on the menu. Limit meat, nuts, cheese, gluten, and meals with many ingredients to avoid gas, bloating, irregularity. Self-care routine should include tongue scraping, breathing, and at least a short foot massage with oil before bedtime. Keep it simple and doable so following it doesn’t make you feel even more stressed out.
Physical activity is important, too! Most New Yorkers walk a lot these days. Many people walk to work from Brooklyn or allover Manhattan since the traffic situation is horrible. If you didn’t have a chance to walk and don’t have access to your favorite yoga studio or gym, find another way to move. Do a few youtube videos, try online yoga classes, or go for a stroll with a friend. When we are stressed our body naturally sends lots of blood flow to the extremities in an expectation that we are going to run. It was a natural response to a danger for our ancestors. Our nervous system reacts to mental and physical stressors in the same way. When
we sit still and work during highly stressful times our nervous system may get very fatigued. To reduce adrenalin and cortisol, it is a good idea to engage in a mild to moderate exercise that you enjoy.
No matter what you are going through right now, remember that everything is temporary. This too will pass. Things will get better. You are still alive, breathing, and can smile no matter what! You have the power to make it through. You will withstand. You will pull it off! I believe in you!
How do you deal with stress?