(illustrated by Sanna Thijs @fulloffreckles)
BBA 2.0, Let's Get Woo, takes the last 18 months of life changes/new experiences/self-care and adds a layer of, well, WOO.
My kid climbed up on the island in the kitchen last week. He fell backwards and broke his fall with his head. I barked a loud “no!” as he fell, unable to reach him fast enough, unable to keep him from causing potentially bodily harm. I swept him up off the ground a breath too late and held him close as his ear piercing screamed echoed through our little bungalow, my heart pounding hard. His heart kept a wild beat with mine, confirming to both of us that what he just experienced was indeed terrifying and painful.
My palms sweat as I held his gangly four year-old frame in my arms and I tried to stop my own ragged breaths to help him regulate his own.
I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins, cortisol spiking in my bloodstream, and my empathic spidey senses felt his adrenaline spike, too. 10 minutes later, we were both holding each other on the couch, focusing on breathing, me trying to get him to show me that he could move his head in all directions and him stubbornly refusing.
We both experienced a major adrenaline dump, making us cold and numb, then weepy and shaking. All of us, all of our bodies, do a version of this anytime our limbic brain tells us that our lives are in danger. For empaths, like myself and nearly every woman I know, we feel these reptilian responses for everyone in our direct path in addition to ourselves. It’s not a conscious decision. It’s instinctual, just like a snake strikes anything it considers threatening, or a mouse flees when it sees a snake approaching.
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Chronic stress secretes a hormonal cocktail that wreaks havoc on that amazing body you have. It tells your body that it is in a constant state of fight, flight, or freeze, hoarding everything you put in it and devouring your hard-earned equilibrium.
We can help our bodies come out of the fight, flight, or freeze response more quickly, thereby lessening the impact of our uncontrollable stress response.
How to lessen your Triple F response in general:
1. Get good sleep.
Wonder how? Check this article out for specific ways to support the most important thing you can do for your health.
It’s more than just an autonomic response. You can breathe with intention and help your body process stress as it arises.
3. Go outside.
Take a walk. A stressful email from work hits your inbox, you have to fire that person that you care about, or your boss is asking more than you can possibly deliver on.
4. Take a timeout.
It takes 20-30 minutes for the cortisol pump to subside. Don’t even try to make sense of anything for a good 10 minutes. Put down your phone, step away from your email, go to the bathroom, take a long drink of water. Don’t try to solve the problem or respond for a good half-hour.
Specific dosha things you can do to support the adrenal hormone shit storm:
You’re going to want to fly away. Don’t do it. Take off your shoes, feel the ground beneath your feet. Breathe in deep and imagine your feet growing roots, and sink them deep into the floor. Drink something warm. Maybe do a little savasana.
You will fight so fiercely that nobody will be left standing at the end, even you. Put down your gloves and go outside. Walk that adrenaline rush right off. A steady-paced stroll around the block is enough to start the process of cooling your jets, and a drink of cool water will expedite the process.
If you are having an especially hard time finding your chill, Immerse all of your senses. Blast some pop music, shake your booty, douse yourself in lavender oil, take a few bites of ice cream from the carton, and look up your friend’s new baby pictures on Insta. If you have access to water, take a plunge, even if it’s just running cool water over your wrists.
You will want to freeze. You will be stuck in the quagmire of emotions. The very best thing that you can do is to move your body. One step in front of the other, preferably outside. Do some jumping jacks, make a cup of tea. Activity and warmth will provide the help you need to get out of your frozen moment.
Those adrenals are important. Probably almost as important as your sleep. Take good care of them, babes. You need them to keep doing the amazing work you’re doing on this planet.
Want to see how these suggestions panned out in real life? Check out our editor-in-chief and human experiment, Joni and her progress vlog.