Beloveds— there are *so* many difficult hardships, stressors, wars, inequities happening around the world….our central nervous systems were not designed to be dealing with so many on-going stressors for so long, all at once. As a former trauma therapist, I am noticing signs of vicarious trauma in myself as well as friends and loved ones.
Make sure to be VERY proactive in your self-care. The cumulative effects of seeing, hearing, viscerally yet vicariously experiencing the violence and tragedies of the world can leave us feeling numb and less effective.
While we insidiously and vicariously absorb the negative effects of media, neutralizing vicarious traumatization requires intention and commitment. Here’s my top 10 go-to tips for restoring equilibrium:
- Take time outs from media, social and otherwise; better yet, focus on select times when you allow media *in* to your field of awareness.
- Take a nice deep breath and let out and exaggerated exhale while shaking your hands and moving your body, releasing any tensions you are carrying; repeat several times.
- Feel the cool air on your skin, the warmth of the sun on your face, the earth beneath your feet, mindfully run some water over your hands; become aware of the support these elements provide in many contexts
- Take nice hot baths with at least 2 cups of epsom salts for maximum detox effect. Try adding some essential oils 20-30 drops for a tub full- I find lavender and cedar are nice for grounding, lavender and peppermint, for a relaxer-energizer and tangerine or lemongrass for upliftment of the heart. Make sure to give the water a good stir and avoid essential oils if you are sensitive.
- Touch the earth and remember that is what you are made of. Look up at the stars and remember that is where you came from.
- Nourish your body with fresh vegetables and fruits and nuts.
- Pet your cat or dog, water your plants
- Use adaptogenics such as Reishi mushroom, Ashwaganda, Rhodiola and Tulsi to help you metabolize stress, as well as liver and blood cleansers to detox, such as dandelion leaves and roots, milk thistle, cilantro and parsley. Try licorice extract 1 week per month.
- Honor your body and spirit’s need for rest, especially as winter comes on (if you are in the Northern Hemisphere). Reflect on what “downtime” activities leave you feeling nourished and restored rather than drained.
- Practice doing 1 thing mindfully- so, if you are on Facebook, don’t be cooking or flipping through other pages. If you are reading a book, put down your phone, etc.
Take Home Practice:
- Commit to engaging with 3 of these to practice for the next week.
- Journal about any shifts you notice
- Consider adopting 1 practice for a month
- Explore what other habits or practices would feel truly nourishing to you and try those out.