If you’re exhausted, stressed, anxious, irritated or agitated, hang in there because we’ve got 50 ways to help soothe your nervous system.
Even before Coronavirus, many of us were spending our waking hours oscillating between fight, flight, freeze and please. Despite advances in science and technology, our primitive brains are still, very much, in charge (read more over here).
50 ways to soothe your nervous system
- PRIORITISE SLEEP Sleep is absolutely critical (it’s #1 for a reason) and the list could really stop here. But, in the interest of variety, here are a few more ideas to try.
- Do a braindump– morning, noon or night
- Start a ‘Morning Pages’ practice
- Make an appointment with your doctor or allied health professional to discuss your concerns
- Get a relaxing massage
- Book a float or sauna
- Give yourself permission to rest: 10-minutes in savasana really is the ultimate tonic
- Reduce stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sugar
- Reduce high-intensity exercise or balance it out with something more gentle
- Take your shoes off and feel your bare feet on the grass, soil or sand
- Journal as a way to understand and process your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and feelings
- Turn off notifications or, better yet, consciously take a break from technology
- Sit and meditate using one of my free guided meditations
- Stay hydrated (check out this blog post if you’re not sure how much you should be drinking
- Practise slow, deep breathing
- Massage your skin with grounding and calming essential oils such as lavender, cedarwood or vetiver
- Savour a cup of herbal tea or creamy cacao
- Take a long, warm bath with Epsom Salts or magnesium sulphate
- Incorporate adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and reishi into your routine. Consult a naturopath or acupuncturist to determine which herbs are right for you
- Take a high-quality magnesium supplement
- Practise restorative yoga or do some gentle stretching, including a stretch to pacify the psoas which is intimately connected to your fight or flight response
- Read something completely unrelated to your work
- Say no without guilt
- Go for a walk alone, and leave your phone and headphones at home
- Listen to relaxing music, like this playlist. It seems the sweet spot for relaxation is a tempo of around 60 beats per minute
- Relax with Yoga Nidra which, in my experience, even people who claim they can’t or don’t like to meditate find Yoga Nidra enjoyable and beneficial!
- Reduce your exposure to blue light, especially in the hour before bedtime
- Limit exposure to violent or suspenseful films and TV shows because your brain has difficulty differentiating between what is real and what is not
- Get your hands dirty in the garden and enjoy the slow process of watching something grow
- Do something creative: draw, knit, paint, cook, dance, rearrange a room… experiment with how you express your creativity!
- Chaos breeds chaos so, take some time to tidy a drawer, organise a cupboard or deal with that mountain of filing
- Watch cute animal videos on YouTube
- Share your feelings with a good friend
- Give someone a 20-second hug
- Play with your pet
- Edit your to-do list
- Cook or bake something comforting and enjoy every bite
- Buy yourself flowers for no reason
- Dress in your most comfortable clothes
- Do one thing at a time
- Spend an hour absorbed in a fictitious world. Harry Potter is the perfect escape for trying times… even better if it’s the audio version which gives your eyes a break from visual stimulus
- Spend time in silence
- Buy or borrow a large or complicated puzzle
- Limit your exposure to news and media
- Give your neck and shoulders some relief with this short yoga sequence
- Listen to the sound of rain falling (not raining right now? There’s an app for that!)
- Limit the time you spend – in person and online – with people who make you feel stressed, angry, impatient etc.
- Create your own self care instructions
It takes conscious effort to bring the nervous system back into balance but with 50 ways soothe your nervous system, you’re bound to find something that works for you.
Try one or try them all and let me know how you go! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Georgina –