In my July post, I talked about my struggle with anxiety/panic attacks, and what I had done to address the problem. At the time of that post, I was feeling much better and have been since then…until about three weeks ago.
I was coming home from TN with my mom, and we got caught in a HUGE amount of fog and some rain on a curvy mountain road. All of a sudden, WHAM! I couldn’t breathe, I felt like I was being choked, I got dizzy. Between then and now, I’ve had them quite a bit, though most are not horrible…but I have had a couple more doozies during that time.
(This is what I think I must look like when I’m having an attack…it’s certainly how I feel on the inside.)
The difference between before and now is that THIS time, I know I am not having a heart attack. I’m not dying. And even though I feel like I’m going to pass out, it’s physically impossible to pass out when having a panic/anxiety attack (the EMT who helped me back in May told me that amazing factoid).
As you can imagine, I’ve been frustrated during these past few weeks. Why the sudden backslide? I was doing so good, so what gives?
Well, like I always do, I had to analyze the situation and try to find some answers. And I realized something. Something very important. Something I’ve always known, but apparently needed to be reminded of. And that is, if you want to stay healthy and happy, YOU GOTTA WORK at it!
At first, I told myself that I had been working at it, so what the heck? But when I really dug into my analysis, I knew I had been slacking off. I haven’t been doing the practices I’d established on a regular basis (meditating, gentle yoga, dog park, reading for fun). Though my work stress is fine, I realized I’ve been overcommitting to other things.
You know, when someone asks you to do something, and it’s something you really enjoy, it’s so easy to say “YES! Of course I’ll do it!” But saying yes to too many things – even things you love – can be detrimental to some people. Especially people like me, who are dealing with a chronic illness.
Thankfully, I’ve got some people out there who really care about my well-being, and they’ve offered me some wonderful advice over this past week. I want them to know that I am listening, and I’ve been working this week on getting back to my regular practices, as well as incorporating some new ones that I think will help me with my stress.
One of those things is yoga nidra. If you’ve never tried a yoga nidra, I highly recommend it! Sometimes referred to as “yogic sleep”, it is a conscious relaxation practice that is intended to induce total physical, mental, and emotional relaxation….you literally just lay there and let the voice guide you through the total body relaxation…it’s amazing! I really love these versions, by James Jewell. Since yoga nidra involves you simply laying there and really listening to the guided relaxation, it’s critical for me to like the voice I’m listening to. James Jewell has a wonderful British accent, and a tone to his voice that just simply relaxes me through and through. You can choose the short one (which is about 20 minutes), or a longer one.
If you’ve never tried a yoga nidra before, I encourage you to do so. There are a variety of them out there for free…you can search on iTunes or Spotify, or any other place where podcasts and music can be found. A variety of yoga studios also offer yoga nidra, though I find that I can’t find them being offered on a regular basis here in my area of the world (local peeps, if you know of a place in the greater Charlotte, NC area that offers this regularly, let me know…I wanna go!).
Along with my other go-to tools and techniques, I’ll get this anxiety/panic back under control. I just have to remember that even when I’m feeling good, I’ve gotta keep working at it. I need to ensure that I do whatever I have to in order for yoga and meditation to become something I never push to the side and ignore.
How do you deal with stress in YOUR life? I’d love to hear the things that work for you. If you already have a regular yoga practice, what style do you practice? Do you practice for stress management or for the workout?
If you are local to me (I am in Fort Mill, SC), come practice with me. My classes focus more on relaxation and flexibility and are practiced at a soothing pace…perfect for stress management. Come join me! I’ll be teaching two sample classes this Sunday (10/29) at Body By Brady, located at 2132 Carolina Place Drive. One will be from 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. (this will be focused on strength and flexibility) and the other will be from 4:00 – 4:30 p.m. (this will be focused on stretching and breathing). Each are $10, and the proceeds go to the Fort Mill Fitness Initiative, a local charity.
I hope to see you Sunday. But above all else, I hope you are doing the things you need to do in order to stay happy and healthy. If you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up. Remember…you gotta WORK to have the life you deserve! Let’s do this together!