5 self-care hacks for alleviating stress-induced pain
Are you suffering from physical pain? Is there discomfort or dis-ease in your life, mind or body? Are your muscles tense, jaw clenched or perhaps bloating or fatigue? Read on…
Emotional angst and internalizing stress are like little demons to the body. They’re determined and they manifest in the body as physical pain. Without healthy outlets, release, forgiveness, confrontation(the good kind – think FACING your issues) and acceptance, the angst and stress multiplies; eventually leading to physical pain and illness. Sometimes it takes years for these little internal demons to catch up with the body and then they strike with a vengeance.
If you’ve been following me for some time you know that I overcame a back injury. In additional to physical therapy, I turned to an anti-inflammatory diet, many lifestyle changes and a slow and steady emotional recovery including combating stress management and finding healthy emotional outlets.
As a deep feeler and highly compassionate person I tend to take on emotions from not only my inner thoughts and feelings but the outside world too. This means I tend to “take-on” an emotional load much bigger than myself and that has had a way of trickling into my physical being and showing up as headaches, poor digestion and back pain.
This past summer I was diagnosed with Vertigo and TMJ – very painful and knock-you-on-your-a** kinda symptoms. Dizziness, nausea, the spins coupled with jaw aches, severe ear pain and just overall not fun. To understand the root of the symptoms, I looked past the physical into imbalances in my life, emotional wellness and areas of tension in my life. When researching holistic remedies for both ailments I was repeatedly pointed back to simple stress management practices such as sleep, self-care, writing, talking out my feelings, being in nature and creating rituals for calm and joy.
I’ve learned through the years how important these SELF-CARE practices are to my overall health and well being and that if I don’t take good care, my body will physically stop me. It’s not ideal to wait for our bodies to slow us down through various ailments, our bodies are smart and they know what we need and will go to great lengths to correct imbalances.
Here are a few of the SELF-CARE practices that have dramatically improved my symptoms of physical pain either in the moment or for on-going health and pain relief:
- A CONSISTENT WRITING PRACTICE: developing a writing practice has helped me work through the thought clutter in my mind whether it’s good, struggle, ideas, conflict resolution, next steps, business ideas or just jumbled feelings. Getting the thoughts to paper helps me obtain a physical release instead of bottling the feelings and thoughts inside and them showing up as tension in my muscles or a headache.
- ESPSOM SALT BATHS: soaking in a warm tub is my time to create a boundary between me and the outside world. Soaking in a warm bath helps relieve muscle tension which contributes to some physical ailments such as back pain. I have my own personal “no technology” rule that I abide by and instead I will light a candle and take a book, magazine or just sit there with my thoughts and breathe. Epsom salt baths have been proven to lower stress hormones and increase levels of magnesium in the body which are vital to good health. I’ve found that the nights I take a bath before bed I sleep more soundly.
- TIME IN NATURE: living in a city like New York it can be difficult to escape the lights, sounds and hustle-n-bustle which contributes to sensory overload on your body. Lucky for me living very close to Prospect Park in Brooklyn I make it a point to take Harlow for long walks or light jogs to get in fresh air and a moderate heart rate. Moving your body, especially while in nature can have a calming effect and help alleviate anxiety that contributes to physical pain.
- LETTING PERFECTION GO: as an entrepreneur, coach and overall passionate person I am always striving for excellence for myself, my clients and those around me. However, nothing in life is “perfect” so letting go has been a tremendous part of the journey for me. Part of the ways I implement that is by continuing to blog and create and put myself out there among fear or doubt that I’m not perfect. Another way I work out “letting go” is through my writing practice, #1 above.
- COLORING: since my symptoms are stress-related finding activities that alleviate stress are important to my well being. About a year ago my brother introduced me to “adult coloring books,” and now they are everywhere on Instragram to large sections at the book store. Coloring is a fun, playful activity that also helps focus the brain in a mindful way. I find the colors soothing and if I’m feeling anxious, nothing gets me out of that feeling quicker than a fun activity.
I hope you find some of these outlets helpful as you embark on your own quest for more joy, less chaos and calm in your life.
I’d love to know which tip resonated the most or which one you have tried or if you have another healthy hack for physical pain that helps you! Tweet me @DeeLynn