For those of us with trauma histories this is a hugely triggering time.
If we have ever experienced home as an unsafe place, being in lockdown at home can bring to the surface old fears and feelings of being unsafe, anxious, fearful, and perhaps even terrified.
This can, and will, trigger our fight/flight/freeze response and our nervous system may start to go in to overdrive. And once again we may find ourselves stuck and unable to flee, zoning out and dissociating, or becoming increasingly irritable as a result of needing to stay home.
If this is happening for you, try these strategies:
REFRAME AND CHANGE THE LANGUAGE
• Social distancing = Physical distancing
• Lockdown = retreating into our own sanctuary
• Isolating = protecting the health of ourselves and others
MOVE YOUR BODY 💃🏻🕺🏻🚶🏻♂️🏃🏻♀️
Movement helps the body to discharge the stress hormones released by our fight/flight/freeze system. If you don’t want to go outside for half an hour, there’s plenty of online offerings to choose from. My personal favourite is Yoga with Adrienne 🙌🏼🌟
GET SUNSHINE AND FRESH AIR ☀️
You are still a living organism that needs daylight and fresh air for optimal functioning. If you’re not comfortable going outside, stand on your balcony or at your back door and breathe it in
CREATE A SELF SOOTHING/DISTRACTION BOX
Find a box that can hold all the items and activities that help you feel safe and grounded. If the items are too big for the box, write the name of the item on a note and leave that in the box. Often when we are triggered it is hard to remember and problem solve what makes us feel better. This way, if you have it all collected into one space, all you need to remember is to go to it.
Some ideas include: sensory items eg playdough, bubbles, kinetic sand, stress balls, colouring in, puzzles, craft, photos of loved ones, your favourite toy, a reminder to have a sing/dance/move your body, headphones to listen to music or an audiobook, love notes from friends and family that remind you are loved (if you don’t have any of these, now is a great time to ask), photos or trinkets of positive memories and past experiences, essential oils, hand or body cream, bubble bath, a reminder of who your trusted/safe people are and to reach out and ask for help, the phone numbers for the crisis services 💕
CREATE A SAFE SPACE
If you’re not used to being around your family/friends/people this much, find a way to create space for yourself and a gentle way of letting your loved ones know that you need space. Perhaps you can use your daily shower as your alone time. Maybe you need to create an inside cubby house to hide in. Or you can rotate alone time in the bedroom/loungeroom etc. Focus on the aspects that make you feel safe – having a room/space to yourself, feeling the spaciousness and freedom and being able to breathe in that particular space, or maybe it’s feeling safely tucked away, hidden and protected. Find what works for you 💕
REASSURE YOUR INNER CHILD
This is especially important if you have childhood trauma. Connect with your small self and let them know that they/you are safe now. That you, as your grown up self, will look after and protect them. Ask your small self what will help them to feel better – and then make a conscious effort to do this 👩👧👨👦
LIMIT YOUR CONSUMPTION OF NEWS
By all means stay informed of what’s happening in the world and your local community, but there is no need to bombard your nervous system with the 24/7 news coverage. Be selective about your consumption and engagement on social media. If you are going to consume the news coverage, be mindful that it’s factual reporting, not sensationalist fear mongering
CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Despite social distancing and isolation requirements, we are all more connected than ever before. Use technology as your ally to stay connected with friends and loved ones. Use this time to reach out and reconnect with people you may not have spoken to for a while. Aim for at least one 30 minutes of social connection a day 👭👫👬
Hope this helps!!
May we all hold hope in our hearts and faith in each other at this time