Surviving Exhaustion - Tools & Resources
This blog is full of free resources and tools to hopefully bring comfort, rest and inspiration. You may be experiencing what is being called "survivor exhaustion". This is a fatigue or overwhelm that comes with our nervous systems constantly being on guard for danger whether it's seeing the covid19 numbers rise, the tigthening of our social bubbles, the political climate, social injustice, and whatever personal issues we might be dealing with. It's a lot! It's more important then ever to have practices that help to not only calm, but nourish the nervous system.
What is Resourcing?
I use the word resourcing a lot! What does it mean? Resourcing is a term used in Somatic Experiencing and other body-based counseling. It points towards anything in our life that helps us feel present and connected. It can include internal resources like our sense of humour, intellect, kindness, hopefulness, strength, courage, ability to pick ourselves up again, self compassion, ability to self soothe etc. It also includes external resources like good friends, pets, family, nature, garden centers, art, poetry, music, warm baths, etc. There are also spiritual resources, a belief in the divine, angels, allies, ancestral guides, spirtual guides, archetypal thinking, etc. There are intellectual resources like knowing that this too shall pass, understanding the working of our nervous system or knowing the steps to take when we feel overwhelmed. And my favourite, there are also somatic resources! These include movements or body based practices that help us to feel more connected inwards, like grounding, yoga, dance, exercise, humming, hugging, touch, massage, wrapping ourselves in a blanket, shaking, crying, keening or wailing, to name a few. One of the biggest reasons we've lost contact with alot of our somatic resources is because we haven't thought it socially acceptable to do what our body needs to do in front of others, and so we've shut it down, but shutting it down is very stressful for our bodies!
We are more resourced then we think but we often forget that when we need it most.
Invitation: Take a few minutes to journal about your resources, try to think of at least one resource in each category; internal, external, spiritual, intellectual, and somatic. Don't let me stop you there! There's also resources that are creative, psychological, emotional, relational, and material. Please add to the list
Coming Out of Shutdown - A Yin Yoga Practice
This 70 minute yoga practice offers practices to begin to shift out of shutdown. By shutdown I mean a state in our nervous system where we have very little energy. We might feel frozen or stuck, unable to get out of bed, feeling hopeless or helpless or overwhelmed to the point of being unable to move. Chronic shutdown might feel like burnout, depression or exhaustion. In this video we explore becoming unstuck through gentle movement, warming the system with breath and sound, and ways to connect even when connection feels hard.
You might also be interested in my blog post How to Shift Out of Freeze
Meditations (Audio only)
Meditating is a great way to truly rest the nervous system. When we are present, which is the goal of meditation our nervous system can relax. Usually in the present we notice that at least at this moment I'm okay, maybe not perfect, but ok.
Contact Points Meditation - This meditation stays on the periphery of the body. I think anyone could enjoy it but it's especially useful for people who tend to dissociate or have trouble being in the body
Mapping the Heart Space Meditation - This meditation is inspired by John Prendergast. It is a body based meditation.
There's many practices and people that we can turn to for inspiration and I'm going to share one of my favourite inspirational persons...Sia! I know I'm going out of the box a little here, I could've chosen a spiritual teacher or the amazing Brene Brown but I love Sia! I think she is so talented and truly an inspiration. She has her own complex trauma history and like all of us, she's not just her history but a unique human being. She's been through hard times and not in spite of it, but rather because of it, she has unique insight.
Listen Here to Tim Ferris interviewing Sia on his show
And check out Sia's album This is Acting if you want to get up and dance. Movement is great for a dysregulated nervous system. If you're feeling frustrated, irritated or anxious try dancing to your favourite fun music and see if you feel different after. It may not remove the feeling but it might give you more space. We aren't trying to get rid of feelings but rather give them room to move.
Finally, as always, remember we are all in this together! I'd love to hear from you, let me know if you tried out any of the resources here, or if you have a resource you'd like to share that really works for you.