Written by: Jennifer Duranczyk, 16 year Bodyworker, Somatic Educator and owner of Fusion Whole Body Recovery
Let’s have an honest conversation here, if you are reading this you feel like crap. The last 2 years have beaten you down emotionally, physically and spiritually. If NOT, congrats! You are the few of many. You may or may not know I own a holistic recovery center for pain and injury, Fusion Whole Body Recovery in Colleyville Texas. Over the last 2 years we have seen a huge influx in dis EASE coming into our office. Whether physically, functionally or in mental health. These years have been HARD. I would like to discuss two subjects on the matter. ONE – How we got here. And TWO – What do we do now to find peace in these areas again. And let’s go ahead and dump the word COVID right here. Say it now whether it’s in your head or out loud… COVID COVID COVID. Dump it out and clear your mind because yes it was a major catalyst to the communitive stress, we have been experiencing, but not the main reason we are here now. The main reasons are: Mind Body Awareness and Accountability for our own health.
How did we get here?
Okay people let me start with our hard wiring. Whether you may or may not believe it, we are animals. We have DEEP ingrained responses to stress. This response is NECESSARY for survival. The definition of stress is –
the body’s reaction to harmful situations — whether they’re real or perceived.
When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent injury. This reaction is known as “fight-or-flight,” or the stress response. During stress response, your brain triggers a hormone response that leads your heart rate increasing, breathing quickens, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises. You’ve got to be ready to act. It is how you protect yourself.
So pretty much sounds like every day the last 2 years, right? Now let’s add another level. Something called collective stress. Collective stress is defined as stress that results when members of a particular organizational culture as a group perceive a certain event as stressful. The last 2 years the WHOLE WORLD has been stressed. I personally HAD to get a counselor during quarantine in 2020 and one of the most profound things he told me was “This is unprecedented times because we are dealing not only with personal stressors but the collective stress of the world.” This was so enlightening to me because it made me realize I was not alone in my stress BUT….I WAS ALONE in my recovery. The WORLD was stressed. What we NEED to understand is that we are all connected. We can literally feel others stress and we take it on as our own unless we learn mindfulness.
What happens to our bodies under long term stress?
Chronic stress = chronic inflammation
Chronic Stress (which is stress lasting over a 3-month period) has been shown to take a real physical and mental toll on your health. Research has shown a connection between stress and chronic problems like high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and more. This is because chronic stress threatens our homeostasis and as a result chronic inflammation is triggered.
Chronic inflammation is a breeding ground for disease. It has shown to cause
- Body pain, arthralgia, myalgia.
- Chronic fatigue and insomnia.
- Depression, anxiety and mood disorders.
- Gastrointestinal complications like constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux.
- Weight gain or weight loss.
- Frequent infections.
What to do about it?
The 3-pronged attack
Okay where to go now. Stress is a state of threatened homeostasis provoked by a psychological, environmental, or physiological stressor. So let’s take these 3 areas of stress and re-train them to reduce the stress thus reducing the inflammation. Now these WILL take time! Some results are instantaneous but to get LONG LASTING life change you have to create new habits.
- TURN OFF THE NEWS – The strongest human response is fear. So what do you think the media focuses on? Limit your news intake to a time limit and a time-of-day limit. Preferably before you can do a meditation practice or something enjoyable. You may laugh but it helps to get a dopamine boost after.
- BECOME MINDFUL – Mindfulness is when we pay full attention to our being, activity and state of mind in the present moment. This “shuts out the noise” and allows you to quiet your mind and to be able to see the joy and feel fullness in the present moment. By doing yourself this small favor you are telling your mind and body “I am safe, I am here and I am present”. Which switches your flight your flight response and your body can then go into “recovery” mode.
- HELP YOUR COMMUNITY – Pay a compliment, give someone grace, sign up for (AND ACTUALLY DO) some community volunteer work or just even take out your neighbor’s trash to the curb. Remember that “Collective Stress” thing I mentioned? You are changing the world and your being by helping your fellow earth dwellers.
- CREATE YOUR HEALING PLACE – To some this may be their whole home. To others it may be their place of worship. You can even create this within yourself. Mine is my apartment patio with quiet music, dim lighting and some funny tik toks. You want somewhere that is YOURS. That means the smells, colors, sounds and touch of what creates relaxation in your individual body and heart.
- GO OUTSIDE – One of my personal favorites is Forest Bathing. The goal of forest bathing is to live in the present moment while immersing your senses in the sights and sounds of a natural setting. No forest required. As long as you are outside you can practice. Hike, walk through streams, walk bare foot on the cold grass. Become a child again. It will induce deep peace and mindfulness.
- LET GO OF NEGATIVE RELATIONSHIPS – One movement I have adored recently is the releasing the guilt associated with separating ourselves from toxic family relationships. You can do this with any relationship. It is YOUR life. If someone is damaging it. LET IT GO. It doesn’t mean it has to be forever. But caring and loving someone fully also means showing them how their toxic behavior affects the people around them. Its quality of relationships that matter. NOT quantity.
- GET MOVING – walk 30 minutes day, do yoga, WALK IN THE GYM and workout for 10 minutes. If you don’t use it your lose it. And heads up functional disorders ( lack of range of motion and habitual tension patterns) leads to 80% of chronic pain and turns into major injuries over time.
- PRACTICE SOMATICS – Somatics is a rapidly effective form of neuromuscular (mind-body training) movement re-education that goes directly to the root cause of most chronic muscular pain: the brain and the way in which it senses and organizes the muscles and movement. By learning to regain both awareness, sensation, and motor control of muscles – an educational process that can only be achieved through movement – the brain can remember how to relax and move the muscles properly. This process of sensory motor training creates improved muscle function and enhanced sensory awareness. In Lamens terms – its mindfulness for your body. If you need help learning the moves check out my YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1L1T1n7keylLzOB3lF0-WA
- CALL IN THE ARSENAL –
- Nutrition – Focus on nutrition that decrease inflammation. To simplify it CUT OUT SUGAR and EAT WHOLE FOODS. Discuss with your nutritionist the best options for your individual needs.
- Contrast Therapy – Infrared sauna and cryo therapy sessions are the elite in this field. It increases circulation, decreases inflammation, helps the lymphatic system and much more.
- Get some help– Massage, Chiropractic, acupuncture, functional medicine doctors etc. You only see 2 perspectives of yourself. Allow someone work with you to discover what you may be body blind to. This will not only speed up recovery but will catch small issues before they become big ones.
- Now you have the starter pack to stop feeling like crap. You may see a trend as well…..Personal accountability. These steps require ACTION. Start small and build up. Remember habits compound to lifelong change. If you need more help starting your journey, go to www.fusionwbrecovery.com and we are here to help.
Happy healing and much Love, Jen