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Write 28 Days – Nervous System Regulation

Write 28 Days – Nervous System Regulation

Tomorrow, the first day of February (can you believe it?), I will be joining in the #write28days blog challenge being hosted at Anita Ojeda’s. We will be posting every day of February on our topic of choice, guided, if we wish, by Anita’s selected daily prompts.

My main focus for the month will be the basics of nervous system regulation, and also retraining after dysregulation — you know, things like feeling anxious, shutting down, or being triggered. The more I learn and experience it, the more I feel nervous system regulation is an essential topic to learn. These practices help us to not just survive but to thrive as highly sensitive people.

As the month progresses, I will come back to this page to post updated links to each days writing. Feel free to bookmark this page for easy access!

Day 1 – Wonderful

Day 2 – Broken

Day 3 – on February 3rd

All that and a bag of chips

All that and a bag of chips

Late last week my son came home from school sick – turns out it was THE virus. He’s handling it well, but we worry due to the immune suppressive drug he is on. His fever is gone now, and today he woke up and was like, “Can I have a sandwich? Make it filling!” He was finally really hungry after not eating much for days. Yay!

So even though I had little energy and I had just sat down with a hot cup of tea, to kill off whatever germs might be lurking in my own throat, I happily went downstairs and made him a sandwich with all the fixings, cut up an apple, and even found one of those little bags of chips he takes to school and put it on his plate. I was so relieved he was feeling better and that made it easier to ignore my own tiredness and desire for my tea, and serve my son with joy.

I brought it back upstairs to him and realized just how hungry I was at that point. I also remembered my now cold tea. “I spent my last bit energy on my family, as usual,” I thought, a little dejected. “All those stairs. Oh well, I’ll just drink the cold tea and grab something easy.” (And most probably not good for me, I’ll add here.)

*Record Scratch* Wait! Let’s back this truck up. This ^^ above is not the person I want to be, and I am working hard toward right thinking and true self care.

To me right thinking is gearing my thoughts towards ultimate truth, as far as I can see it. Like the truth that I am as worthy of my own care as my son is, even if I’m tired. I was tired when I made HIM his meal, wasn’t I?

There were two main problems with my thinking, as I see it.

First, when I began trying to turn my thoughts around, I initially thought, “OK, stop feeling sorry for yourself” — I got to the “you” and stopped myself. Am I really feeling “sorry for myself”? Or am I just having feelings?? Ladies and gentlemen, it is OK to have emotions, and to feel them. When people tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself, usually they are just *uncomfortable* with your feelings and want you to move on. I don’t want to be one of those people, to myself or others.

Instead I thought, “What am I actually feeling — what are the individual emotions?” Today I was feeling tired, lonely, a bit frustrated and sad about some things, along with great relief and joy for my son. I realized those feelings were valid considering my situation, and allowed myself to feel them.

Second, I noticed that I always default to “I’m too tired to do anything good for myself, I’ll just do the easy thing.” But when my son said, “I’m hungry!” I immediately had enough energy do complete the task and helped him happily. Am I so worthless that I can’t muster some joy for myself to get me through some lunch making? NO! If it was another family member I would have gone down and made them a nice lunch as well. I am not healthy, and the truth is I deserve at least as good a diet as I make for my loved ones.

So I questioned myself, am I really *too* tired, or am I my usual tired, but also sad and a little lonely, and struggle with self worth? It was the latter, and so I realized I *could* make myself a sandwich, with joy. And I did! A nice one just like my son’s. I also reheated my tea so I could enjoy it.

I didn’t give myself a bag of chips though.

I opted for a cookie. 😉

………………………………………

Are you learning to care for yourself too? What do you find easiest to do for yourself? Hardest? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Feel your feelings

Feel your feelings

For me, the last few years held a lot of illness, but more than a few silver linings.

One of those benefits was learning more about trauma and its effects on the body.

A life changing idea I came across (I believe it was in the Primal Trust community) was that I was most likely not feeling my feelings, I was *thinking* my feelings.

It is important to your physical and mental health to feel your emotions to their resolution, in which they dissipate and you return to baseline. But if you are “thinking your feelings”, this doesn’t happen as easily.

Let me give you an example of what thinking your feelings is vs. feeling your feelings: let’s say a driver cuts you off and you are put in a momentary dangerous situation. Thinking your feelings is how you say, “What an idiot! He almost caused an accident! He could have killed me! I’m so mad! I can’t believe he did that! Bleepin, bleep bleep!” In the past, had any one asked me if I had felt my feelings in that situation, I would have said yes! See I was mad and scared and I said (or thought) so!

But in the same situation, *feeling* your feelings looks like: the guy cuts you off, and you realize your heart is pounding, you are hot, your stomach is tense, your feet hurt, your hands are tight on the steering wheel, maybe you are shaking. You take some moments or longer to experience those feelings to their fullest. Accept and notice the feelings, without judgment.

The difference is, feeling the sensations of your emotions, and sort of “leaning in” to the feeling of them, while quieting the mind of the chatter about them, helps them to be processed and released faster. In my experience, thinking about my feelings tends to rile me up to continue to be hyper aroused, as I have trouble letting go of the negative thoughts I’m having.

While I have not tried using this technique of feeling my feelings in the direct aftermath of a big ticket trauma like a recent death or accident, I have used it often in the day to day stresses of raising a family, dealing with old trauma, and living with chronic illnesses, and it has worked almost every time to bring the feelings of the moment to some kind of resolution. It feels like they “flow through me” and out. My body usually prompts me to yawn or take a deep breath, both signals that my nervous system is processing and shifting into a healthier state. My mind may bring up the stressful event multiple times, but each time I try to get out of my head and into my body and work on dissipating that feeling again and again. This is OK, and to be expected.

As highly sensitive individuals, we often stay up in our own head. We think about everything, and sometimes don’t really have a sense of what is going on in our bodies in terms of emotions, in a real and embodied way. If this is true for you, it might take some practice and some embodiment work to learn how to have a felt sense of your body in any given moment.

Try not to distract yourself from the smaller, handleable stresses, and feel those feelings. As your body learns to do this, you will be one step closer to being able to deal with the bigger things.

The usual disclaimer: This is not professional advice. If you find the actions I described too overwhelming please do not do them without medical/professional counseling advice.

Photo by Jason Tran on Unsplash

Surviving the Holidays as a Highly Sensitive Homschooler – Parting Thoughts

Surviving the Holidays as a Highly Sensitive Homschooler – Parting Thoughts

 

 

How is everyone holding up?  For many of you the holidays are beginning to reach a crescendo, with Christmas a few days away.  Maybe others of you are done for the most part – enjoy watching the rest of us run around like crazy people. 😉

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New School Year

New School Year

You’d think, after 13+ “first days of school,”  I’d know better than to expect a lot out of today.

I even made it a short day, with few expectations. At least few stated expectations. Apparently what my mouth says and what my mind wants are two totally different things.

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For Low Energy Homeschoolers

For Low Energy Homeschoolers

Melody over at Blossoming Joy has written a helpful piece on homeschooling, and living in general, with low energy:

How a Low Energy Mama Can Thrive

Are any of you HSPs also low energy? I know I am.  Sometimes I think having my defenses up most of the time to ward off a high energy world is tiring in itself, but now I know I’m also anemic, have low blood pressure, and I have all the symptoms of low thyroid (although I test normal.) Most days are like dragging myself through hot mud.  Which is why this blog has like 3 posts, LOL.  If this sounds like you, too, go over to Melody’s and read all about it. 🙂

Curious

Curious

A quick question while I’m working on my next post in the Homeschooling Styles vs. HSP series…if you know your Myers-Briggs personality type, what is it?  Do you know any other personality “styles” you fit into from other tests and descriptions?

I’m an INFP, and I must be one through and through, because no matter how I try to answer the various Myers-Briggs surveys (you know, trying to be *more* honest, or answering how I was as a child versus now, or getting someone to help me) I always come out INFP.

Feel free to tell me anything else you’d like to about your personality and your mind in the comments. 🙂

 

 

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