Written by, Lisa Holz
Photography by Dan Holz Media
Did you see this article in the NYT a few weeks ago??
I’m feeling it.
Just below the surface, all the time: maintain, maintain, maintain, and then BOOM.
Switch is flipped. Between nursing and caring for a rapidly changing baby 24/7,
managing a 4-year old’s emotional swings and shifts between imagination and reality,
holding space for my husband to navigate working from home with 2 little kids playing/screaming around,
maintaining school and friendships virtually,
trying to keep us all healthy,
maybe squeezing in some physical activity for my own health and sanity,
tending to my own growing business whenever I can fit it in,
taking less frequent trips to the grocery store (this is waaaay more meal planning/food management than I typically do),
running errands that carry their own new sense of risk and relief (my only ‘break’ from kids),
changing/cancelling summer plans,
and now navigating all the back to school decisions…phew.
I’m carrying a LOT. In different ways, we all are. Add in the profound uncertainty…well, it almost feels like I’m being suffocated by the weight of it all.
Recently, my line between ‘all is good’ and ‘all hell is breaking loose’ has been growing finer and finer.
Creating balance when you’re barely holding on
For most of my life, I’ve been in an ongoing relationship with anxiety. For over a decade, I have explored natural health: working in naturopathic and chiropractic clinics, studying, practicing and teaching yoga and Thai massage, tuning into the energetic realm through Reiki and taking a personal dive into holistic nutrition, aromatherapy and herbs. I have learned a lot about managing my own emotional experience along the way!
As things have intensified this year, I’ve been relying on a few techniques to shift my mood, ease the tension and release the pressure. Here is a short list of what I call ‘My Non-Negotiables’:
This is probably obvious. Our bodies need to move and especially when it comes to our mental/emotional experience, physically moving energy is one direct way to shift our mood. Walk, run, bike, swim, paddle, yoga, living room dance party, handstand against the wall (great perspective changer) – it doesn’t matter. JUST MOVE!
Another basic. I’ve noticed more than once that when I’ve erupted in anger, it’s at least partially because I’m dehydrated and my body is literally yelling at me (and apparently, my children) to satiate.
EAT WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS
I know, it can be hard. Stress leads to cravings, cravings lead to sugar/salt/caffeine intake, sugar/salt/caffeine lead to even more physical, mental and emotional stress.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but our bodies don’t actually need caffeine, sugar or salt. We might *think* we do – or rather, the little parasite/microbial buddies in our guts might need those things – but that’s a post for another day. Feeding our cravings adds fuel to the mental/emotional fire.
I’m not saying to *never* have those things – but if you find yourself relying on them to get through the day or your body, like clockwork, wants them at a certain time of day – and especially if you are struggling with any level of stress, anxiety, rage (you name it) – it *might* be a good time to consider shifting your habits. Most of us aren’t going out and socializing in tempting situations right now, anyway!
The truth is our bodies need healthy fats, protein, some carbs and tons of fruits and veggies. I’m a busy mom – and I still haven’t quite figured out meal prep (or perhaps I’m a bit lazy / haven’t really tried) – so I found an incredible line of ‘just add water’ superfoods that fuels me with exactly what my cells need all day long. (My kids love them too! #momhack #winning)
I started with a simple Purium 30-day health ‘reset’ and my cravings vanished. I also slept better, had amazing energy, improved my gut health and digestion, strengthened my immune system and generally stabilized my moods. Turns out gut health influences almost every other system in our bodies!
It feels good to wake up with the feeling that – at least – I have what I need to fuel my body and brain. Even on the days I realize at lunchtime that I haven’t eaten anything yet!
Shameless plug: I love them so much I became an affiliate and have provided a gift card code for you right here – if you’d like to check them out, let’s connect!
TALK TO PEOPLE
Actual people. Social media is a beautiful means of staying connected in these times. And…there is no substitute for actually talking to each other. My life lines have been: phone a friend, hop on a video chat, or social distance in person. (Yes, that’s a lame ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ reference – talking to an old friend got me waxing nostalgic for the ‘00s.)
I use this sweet little Two Minute Mornings journal (or you can make your own!) and it’s CHANGING. MY. LIFE. Taking literally 2 minutes to reflect on a few things helps bring me into the present and shifts my focus from what I’m missing or worrying about to the gifts that are present and what I’m creating.
Here’s the basic outline:
- ‘I am letting go of ____.’
- ‘I am grateful for ____.’
- ‘I will focus on _____.’
Honestly, it’s making me a better person, partner and mom.
We’ll get through this together
Like I said, these are the basics. If you’re interested in ways to manage information overload anxiety – we have that for you here too. It seems, if anything, the silver lining of this wild time might be that we are getting back to what we really need, what is truly important. Perhaps we strayed a bit from basic self-care in pre-COVID times – and now we can’t ignore it.
Take good care, my fellow ragers. We were built for these times and we’ll get through it together. But socially distanced.
About Lisa Holz:
Lisa Holz is on a mission to optimize personal and public health, detoxify and regenerate our planet, financially empower herself and others through economic permaculture – all from her hammock. She has a big vision for her family and loves supporting other women to explore their own visions – then sharing tools for aligning with and moving towards them. She is mama to two magical little monsters – savoring every sweet and challenging moment and longing for the day she has time to herself again – all at the same time. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.