- work with a therapist
- daily meditation
- find meaning and purpose
- connect with nature and natural light
- correct your nutrition and supplement
- correct your nutrition and supplement for detoxification and anti-inflammation
- heal your gut
- practice “radical acceptance”
- use mantras
- practice gratitude
- keep a journal
- manage your technology and social media use
- balance your hormones
- sleep better
- change your lifestyle habits
I do a combination of these eighteen things a minimum of four times a week. On the weekends, I rest, and call it balance.
You may be wondering the following: if these eighteen habits are already a part of my daily life, then how did Stressed in the Netherlands occur, and why was there some residual when I was De-Stressed in Croatia?
Well, apparently, there’s a difference between avoiding stress and managing stress.
Dr. Linear Passaler (the person with the dysregulated nervous system quiz) said that a lot of the narrative around sensitivity is built on the idea that in order to honor it, we need to reduce stressors.
Exactly, Dr. Passaler, exactly, I thought as I listened to her.
In addition to the eighteen above practices, my husband and I have designed a peaceful home.
Our walls are creamy white. Our gray, wraparound couch is soft to the touch, and easy to fall asleep on. When we open the blinds to our Florida room, otherwise known as an enclosed patio, the sun lights up the entire kitchen, dining, and living room. It is spacious and light. Each of these was an intentional choice to create calm.
Aside from the eighteen habits and a peaceful home, I block stress with a tight schedule. I have two agendas: written and electronic, so I will never be caught off-guard. Lunch with friends, editing clients’ books and dissertations, and posting to social media are logged onto both to maintain a sense of control in my life. There is no room for a surprise-something-or-another. Unless it is a death situation, I do not and probably will not make time for your “emergency.” People who know me accept this.
I’ve spent the last thirty-three years developing and perfecting a system to avoid stress, which works in the States when I adhere to it. But when I’m somewhere else and don’t? Stressed in the Netherlands creeps up.
It’s easy for me to become dysregulated, because I’ve never really learned to be regulated in the moment. However, learning to manage stress is important because stressful events will always occur, and for someone like me, whose set point is stressed, events will always appear more stressful than they may actually be.
REBALANCING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM AND MANAGING STRESS
Instead of eliminating stressors, Dr. Passaler says, deliberate stress exposure trains us to expand our capacity. It teaches our nervous system that we have some control over external circumstances. This is one way to learn how to rebalance your nervous system. She also says moderate stressors can help us be more resilient, adaptable, and successful.
I haven’t found more information about deliberate stress exposure; however, I do know one thing I can practice to include moderate stressors—not having an airtight agenda.
One example is before Dwight and I left, he asked me if I could drop him off to get an oil change. This wasn’t on either of my to-do lists, so the answer, without blinking, was no. Moving forward, I plan to take baby steps toward saying yes to some unscheduled requests…not all, but some.
I developed the above list from MindHealth360, a site that describes how complex this issue is and lists ways to rebalance your nervous system, depending on your specific issue (e.g., hormonal or cognitive).
As it turns out, I’ve already been working on rebalancing my nervous system. However, when I’m out of the country again, I have to not only prioritize things like finding fresh fruits and vegetables and exercising, but also making time to meditate and using pranayama breath when unexpected stressors appear.
WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE
That’s the lesson. Wherever I am, there I will be—sensitive nervous system and all. In addition to my hair care supplies and jacket, I must pack my eighteen strategies for avoiding or managing stress, especially if I am planning to live somewhere with unknown stressors for eight weeks. On some trips, like Central America, I may only need five. On others, like Europe, I may need more. Either way, next time I’ll be prepared.
Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting.