I want to talk about the things in our life that make us scream - either feel like screaming or maybe actually screaming, on the inside OR the outside!
And I want to talk about that right now because with all the gut wrenching news that has been happening lately, I think I speak for the collective, that we are on edge and much more likely to break into panicked screams at any moment.
Because you may not understand why, say, the dirty dishes in the sink are related to the destruction of paradise by the warming ocean's more powerful hurricanes.
You may not see it as connected to the aftermath of the Mexico City earthquake when the pile of papers on the corner of your desk or table is giving you nausea.
You may wonder if you have a slight stomach bug because you just don't feel right, when it actually could be the warming climate and drought fueled wildfires.
It may not make sense that the increase in violent hate groups is the cause of your headache or the feeling in your gut that just won't go away.
The level of embarrassment and shame I feel as a US Citizen for how our President behaves in public gives me near instant spikes of this hard to identify anxiety. I've decided that Trump has a new meaning - to me the word Trump means the taste of vomit in my mouth, because that is how his actions make me feel, dirty like I have the aftertaste of vomit in my mouth. This in turn causes low grade stress whenever I turn on the news.
We are in a heavy time. We are in an unstable time, both socially and environmentally. And these kinds of global changes cause anxiety. The thing is that anxiety can be expressed in our bodies as MANY DIFFERENT SYMPTOMS.
So poor sleep, neck pain, ache joints, stomach ache, diarrhea, super tired, exhaustion, anger, resentment, depression, or just generally wanting to SCREAM can all be results of our widespread anxiety-inducing time to be alive.
And, of course, as someone who focuses specifically on helping overcome emotional eating, ALL of these symptoms, and any kind of stress or anxiety can trigger reactions in how we eat.
For me personally, this anxiety has been giving me nausea, and so it actually diminishes my overall appetite, but then I find myself wanting to eat things that seem "Simple" in my mind, but usually that means SWEET.
For some of my clients, the anxiety can be quelled by eating throughout that day. However, this only sends you on your own personally cycle of guilt, which further adds to the stress and anxiety.
So what can you do to survive without turning to bad food habits?
1. Recognize that you are being affected by the global level of stress. It is honorable to have feelings that reflect the state of the world, understand you are empathetic and take steps to protect yourself (see step 3).
2. Identify what in your day to day makes you want to scream (dishes, messy bedroom, stacks of paper, whatever); you don't have to necessarily do anything about it if that's too overwhelming, but just recognize that it's symbolic of outside influences.
3. Make your personal self care a huge priority - it's not petty to take time to take care of yourself; limit exposure to news and media; get extra sleep; create a safe space for yourself to be nourished, which can be as simple as time alone or making a cup of tea.
4. Take action that aligns with your hope - whether this is giving money to causes you care about, joining as a volunteer, calling your elected representatives, or all of the above; identify ways to move your own personal agenda forward for things you care about.
All of these steps can take minimal time. Phoning your representatives can take 10-20 minutes per week, but is a POWERFUL way to feel empowered AND make change.
These are the steps I've found that help me have compassion for myself in a difficult time. Let me know what you've tried and what has helped you!!