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Resources To Overcome Stress And Burnout (S3E10)

Permission to be Enchanting | Overcome Stress

 

Life can be pretty hectic that we unknowingly accumulate stress because we are too busy to acknowledge ourselves and our emotions. Then one day, we just burn out. How do we pick ourselves up from this crash? What resources can we reach to help? Join us for an intimate exploration of vulnerability and emotional resilience on this episode of our podcast. Clare Sente and Rachel Watson dive deep into personal experiences of burnout, stress cycles, and societal expectations, navigating the complex terrain of emotional struggles with raw honesty. From coping mechanisms and cultural perspectives on grief to the importance of self-compassion and setting aside time for emotional processing, Clare and Rachel share insights, reflections, and practical advice for embracing authenticity and living a fulfilling life aligned with our true selves. Tune in as we unpack the journey towards self-awareness and empowerment, reminding ourselves of the power of vulnerability in our pursuit of emotional well-being.

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Resources To Overcome Stress And Burnout

Welcome back to another episode of the show. In this episode, we get a bit vulnerable, a bit real, and a bit intimate with you. We cannot wait to have you tune in and share with us some of your resources as we share ours with you. Come on in. I’ve finished reading the book that Emily and Amelia Nagoski wrote together, Burnout. Honestly, as I read it, I cried the whole way through. I don’t know what it was. It was my body and my brain saying, “This is true,” and I cried. It was a lot of things. I immediately wanted to go and read it again, honestly. I feel like I need to go back and take it in again to understand it some more.

I was telling you before we started recording about going to see the doctor and being completely dismissed. Living in that place, even as a White woman, because I’m a woman, never mind any other kind of physical difference, but if I was a Black woman, it would be even worse if I had a disability. Going to the doctor and being dismissed because you’re a silly woman. It’s all the time these little things that happen. No wonder we’re burnt out and exhausted.

We both were trying to decide whether to record or not because we were both feeling so drained. It does remind me of what we called it in the first season, the messy middle. I don’t know if it’s middle or if it’s whatever. It’s freaking life. It is that you can have a bunch of good things happen. I have some really nice things.

This is the episode where I get to say I’m a grandma. She’s on the outside. Taylor, my daughter, is doing well. It was so amazing. She was born on Thursday, but on Friday, it finally kicked in about how much stress I’m holding and was holding because I was so scared that everything would be okay for the delivery and that my daughter would be okay because you don’t know. You don’t want to go down that route, but that’s part of that stress or that burnout. It’s completing the stress cycle.

It was building. I could go ahead and pretend it’s not there because I’m focusing on the good things, but it was so evidently there. On Friday, I was like, “I feel like someone ran over me with a truck,” because I finally can let my defenses down. That’s how you have to finish the stress cycle. You have to cry,  sleep a long time, or whatever it is that someone needs to feel resourced again.

It’s so interesting how we hold all these things in the background and continue functioning. That is such an extreme worry to be worried about your daughter. We’re all very glib about childbirth. We’re all very like, “Women do it every day. It’s such a normal thing.” Once you’ve done it, you know that it’s not that. You know that mothers don’t make it, babies don’t make it, and mothers’ mental health doesn’t make it.

All of the things that happen that will affect you for the rest of your life happen. It’s not this, “Women do it every day. It’s fine.” For you in a place of knowing that, as a mother yourself and somebody who’s held the wounds of your own birth experiences, having that as your background program while you try and be a normal human, what a thing for you to hold. You’re exhausted.

You even saying that and reflecting to me what my heart is saying, I’m going, “She understands me. That’s exactly it.” We don’t give voice to some of these things.

That’s one of the things that I got from the book. It was this dichotomy that we’re stuck between 1 of 2 things has to be true. It was either, “The world is seriously fucked up,” or, “I’m seriously fucked up.” It is incomprehensible to us that the world would not be right. The systems of justice, healthcare, and our government are not right. It’s so much easier for us to believe that we are not right.

When those two things war, we fill the job of invalidating our own experiences. Nobody else has to do it for us. There are so many times I’ll be upset about something and I’ll be like, “I’m probably hormonal.” I’ll invalidate my own emotions in order to fit in. It’s the fact that all it takes is for a friend to say that they understand you. Have you been doing a bit of invalidating your own emotions about this or are you more experienced than that?

It was a surprise that Friday to be like, “Where is this coming from?” It caught me by surprise that I didn’t even think that that was something I’d have to deal with. It’s an awakening of exactly everything you said two minutes ago. I didn’t give myself that grace of like, “That’s something I was worried about Natalie.” I’m so used to suppressing that because I can’t function very well on a day-to-day basis that I sit there and roll around in those feelings. It’s scary. They have to get to a certain point where they’re not going to be dismissed anymore and they rise up into my body and say, “It’s time.”

It’s fascinating to me because I’ve come off reading that book by the Nagoski sisters. Do you think that it would have been different had you scheduled or taken time along the way to feel those feelings? Would that have been a help or a hindrance, do you think?

This is from my experience of working with some other healers. One of them is Michaela Boehm who talks to her clients and was teaching us in our teacher training that she uses the analogy where she works with some clients. When you’re on the plane and you’re having a full-blown panic attack, your cup has overflowed. If you throughout the day had done things to take that level down, maybe you wouldn’t have the full-blown freak out on the plane.

That’s what’s coming into my mind when you’re asking me that. I was overflowing and there was too much for my body to handle. It feels like this time has been more of that. I keep wondering, “What’s different?” The coaching session you’re giving me is I need to do more of the things. That’s what I wanted to bring in, and we can weave it into the rest of this episode. What are the resources that people have? I’m writing them out probably before I need to be using them to make sure that I have and I’m doing more of those throughout the day.?

Before this call, I desperately needed to have the sun on my face. It’s almost our warmest day here in February 2024. It was 49 degrees. I don’t know what it is if it is Celsius. With the sun on my face, I had to lean up against a tree, put my head against the tree, hold the tree, and be like, “I can’t do this alone anymore. I need some resourcing. Let me figure out how to energetically feel my roots, connect to this tree, and feel it.” I feel too ungrounded. It’s interesting because I keep thinking, “It’s all good things,” but it’s me not admitting that there was all that worry that was there.

Sometimes, I think about how I know I waited too long and I know I do that. A lot of the reason that I wait until I get punched in the face and my legs taken out from under me is usually illness. It’s almost always illness with me. I go and deny, hide, and then get sick. If that first sickness doesn’t stop me, because I can power through an illness, I’ll get another one and then another one until I’m crippled or until I have to stop.

I’ve been really sick this whole 2024. We’re recording this in February. This 2024, I’ve had bronchitis, which I’m on week 6 and it’s still not altogether better, a sickness bug, and an ear infection that was, in both years, horrible. I completely lost my hearing. It’s February 2024. What’s happening? That’s what happens with me, but then, I know why I got to that point. Have you watched Encanto?

Yes. A while ago. You told me to watch it. It took me a while, but yes. To remind the audience about it, it’s about a family member.

She shows no magical gift. All the family members are given this magical gift and she has shown none. That’s about her journey to think, “Where do I fit in in this family? Where do I fit in this world? What is family?” It’s really beautiful. It’s one of those new Disney movies like Frozen where the baddie is generational trauma and all that stuff that. It’s so good.

The sister, Luisa, if you have seen me, you’ll know why it was that I went, “Okay.” She’s so tall, so big, and so strong. She has this voice and sings this song. She talks about, “If I can’t serve my purpose, then I don’t know what my worth is,” and about how she has to carry everything and keep going and how she has to be the strong one.

I so identify with those themes of, “If I can’t prove my purpose, then I am worthless.” If I’m not doing something, if I’m not helping the people around me, or if I’m not lightening their load, I don’t know who I am, and I feel in crisis about that. That’s why I don’t stop, I don’t rest, and I don’t take breaks. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

I’ve finished reading this book, so I’m going to talk about it again. The Nagoskis call it the human giver syndrome. Generally, it’s females who are the human givers. They’re raised to give and make other people’s lives easier. I really identify with that, and that’s why I get so sick. Sometimes, I’m torn. I asked you the question of whether you thought that taking small chunks of time to feel your feelings along the way would’ve been better because I’m not sure that I believe it would be. That terrifies me a little bit. Do you know what I’m saying?

Permission to be Enchanting | Overcome Stress
Overcome Stress: The Human Giver Syndrome is about females who are raised to give and make other people’s lives easier.

 

No. Why does it terrify you if you take time to feel it? Is that what you’re saying you feel terrified about?

Yeah.

Do you have to feel your feelings?

Yeah. They’re your feelings. They’re angry, sad, and lonely. Sometimes, looking at them, I think, “That’s really inconvenient. I don’t have the time for that.”

That sums it up so well. It’s like, “That’s really inconvenient. I don’t have the time for that right now. Can we put it in the closet right now or in this little box? I promise I’ll get to it later, but I got a job to do,” or, “I have kids to take care of, a husband, or a wife,” or, “I’m trying to finish school,” or, “I’m dealing with a chronic illness. I can’t deal with this other thing right now.” We aren’t great at supporting as a system and allowing someone to recognize those things and feel them.

I still remember what my sister told me. This was many decades ago. When our other sister passed, she went back to work. It was a week later. A coworker said, “It’s been a week. Get over it.” I believe we’ve come forward over the years, but is there a limit? Is there a limit that someone’s like, “You had a miscarriage. Time to get over it. You had a divorce. Time to get over it.” Whatever it is, how do you know what the timeline is?

We don’t have these clear things of, “Here. Go have a good cry. Feel this,” but you know it, like me, when I was hearing you describing these feelings, and my body’s going, “She gets me.” Sometimes, it has to be perhaps reflected. Sometimes, it has to be tuning in to this show and feeling your own body’s reaction of like, “I’m one of those. Hands up.”

That’s why your question is so great. I wanted to admit all of that before we got to the resources. We need to admit sometimes that feelings are quite inconvenient or whatever.  You didn’t have to decide which one of your resources to pick out. You saw the sun and knew you needed the sun on your face. You went outside and stood by that tree. That’s something that you have practiced and have done before. It’s not new to you.

We’ve talked about this before about practicing things not in times of crisis. It’s easier to practice them when you’re not in that crisis place. You’ve practiced that before, so you know which of your resources to pull on. Sometimes, it is having something established like the book that I read, lots of other books, and things that I’ve listened to. The number of resources that I could pick from my brain to help me is so many, but it’s almost overwhelming.

What I would like to commit to in this episode is that we’re going to talk about resources. I’m going to pick one and start practicing it. It’s so that in times of crisis, it’s easy for me to go, “I know what I do because this is what I do. I do this.” It doesn’t become, “I’m going to have to sift through the 50 options from the 50 different gurus, leaders, spiritual advisors, or whatever that I’ve ever listened to and the books I’ve ever read and pick which one applies in this situation.” That is overwhelming to scroll through your Rolodex of, “Which resource am I going to pick?” That’s my commitment. Let’s talk about some resources. I’m going to commit to pick one to practice.

That sounds great. What’s a number? Should it be pick 3, pick 2, or pick 5, and try them on days that you don’t need them? I’ve been lucky that one of the resources that I’ve been practicing, because I’m teaching it to some other women in some women’s groups that I’m involved with, is the three steps that Kristin Neff, who is the self-compassion main researcher guru, did. She did a TED Talk many years ago about the difference between self-compassion and self-esteem, and that stuck with me.

One of the things that I’ve been committed to is putting my hand over my chest a lot. I like it better when it’s skin-to-skin. The last couple of months, not on a daily basis but multiple times a week, before I get up, I put a hand on my chest and one hand on my belly and give myself enough time to really feel that connection because it feels calmer. I feel connected to myself.

It’s supposed to release oxytocin, but I can’t tell you it’s the same feeling I have after sex, which releases a lot of oxytocin and dopamine. I can feel that physical reaction in my body. This one, when I do it in the morning from waking up and have my hand over my heart and 1 hand on my belly, if I give myself 5 minutes, it’s a calming, grounding, something feeling that feels good. It’s not on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s a one, but it’s so grounding. It feels good.

That isn’t even her step one, but she adds it as an actual thing. I love doing that because you can do that in the car. You can do that in the morning. You can do that while someone’s telling you something really hard to listen to or whatever and have it be a self-soothing technique. She has three steps. I want to get this clear. I’m doing it from memory. The first one is to admit that something’s hard and to say it out loud. We’re saying it out loud, and I may not say it in front of a person. I may have to walk away and put my hand over my chest. It’s saying, “This is really hard. It’s the stuff you’d say to a good friend, like, “That’s heavy. That’s tough.”

Admit that something's hard and actually say it out loud. Click To Tweet

From a different brain researcher, I’m putting the two together. She says, “The more you can say your name when you say these things, it builds a connection between the part that’s stressing and the part that’s calming you down.” It’s like, “Clare, this is really hard. You are struggling right now.” It’s having my name and hearing my name. You would say, “That’s really hard.” For the second step, I’m blanking. I’ll get there. It will come to me in a minute, but it helps me to make a connection.

The thing that I remember the most is when we’re being self-critical and we are dismissing ourselves, we are in that fight or flight mode. We’re being mean to ourselves. We have the cortisol coursing through our body. We have the adrenaline going on. The act of admitting, “This is hard,” touching ourselves, and saying our name does switch and give us that ability to turn off the fight or flight and get into the rest, repair, kindness, and parasympathetic. That’s the start.

I have resourced myself. I was not resourced when we got on this call because I was in the thick of dysregulation. It is so emotionally intelligent to at least realize you’re in a dysregulated mode. There are so many reasons in this world. Throughout the day 24/7, you watch the news. You’re a human going through life. You are going to be dysregulated so often. What regulates us is getting in this rest, relax, and repair mode and parasympathetic. What we’re saying ties all into what are some things that we can resource ourselves, which also means that we can regulate ourselves.

Since our brain doesn’t think about logical things, it turns it off. I’ve been studying a lot with Kristin Neff’s workbook and book on self-compassion. She said, “When someone does something nice for you when you’re dysregulated, you have a tendency not to notice those things. You tilt things more in a negative manner. With what your partner might say or what your children might say, you’re going to err on the side of it being more negative than when you’re regulated.” You could see how that would be a bad cycle or a bad feedback loop. You’re already in a bad mood. You think everyone’s being mean to you. You’re never, for days or weeks, getting out of that.

Permission to be Enchanting | Overcome Stress
Overcome Stress: Even when someone does something nice for you, when you’re dysregulated you have a tendency not to notice those things.

 

I feel like we’ve named two resources already. You’re getting outside, feeling the sun, and putting your feet in the grass is one of my favorites, that grounding. I love an easy way to remember something. I love little things like this. When we did our workshop in Scotland when Clare came over, it was an epic workshop. It was about Embodiment, Pleasure, our Inner child, and Confidence.

Acronym for EPIC.

That made me think when we talked about grounding and then you talked about breathing. They’re so easy to access and so simple and make such a profound difference. All that is the four elements. Breathing is air. Earth is the grounding. I caught on, and my brain was like, “I love this. What can we find for fire and water?”

Immediately, fire made me think that sometimes, the resource that we need to complete a stress cycle is something a bit more fiery. There’s some shaking, some moving, some sweating, and some dancing. It’s something fiery. That’s what we need to complete the stress cycle. It’s not always a breath and a sit on the ground. Sometimes, it’s a shake, a scream, and something like that. We have to come up with something for water and I’ll be the happiest little girl with my four elements.

It's not always a breath and a sit on the ground. Sometimes, it's a shake and a scream. Click To Tweet

We freaking love being in a hot shower to wash away things.

I t’s being in or near any kind of body of water. I have ADHD. The thought of getting in the shower is very stressful to me sometimes because there are a lot of steps to get there. In times of mental crisis, I have gone without washing for weeks if I’m going to be really honest. Every time I have to get in the shower, I’ve repeated that so often like, “This is overwhelming, but you will be so delighted once you’re there.” I set up these little steps to help me get to that point. It’s any water. It could be a shower or a bath. Those are so accessible. At home, if you don’t live near a body of water, it could be even listening to the water, like ocean sounds. If you can’t get in the water if there’s not a lake or an ocean nearby, can you see one? That’s all I need, is to hear some waves.

When you said water, it can be allowing yourself to cry because you are shedding. It’s been proven that the chemicals in happy tears versus sad tears are different. It’s a healthy thing. It will complete a stress cycle as well. I haven’t said this on our show, at least I don’t think I have, but after my sister died many years ago, I learned because different family members fell apart.

I felt like there was no one left but me, which was very unusual because my dad had never cried up to that point and he completely fell apart. I was like, “I can’t fall apart. We can’t have the whole family fall apart.” I made that pact with myself. It took a few years before I could then grieve. Yet, I didn’t really cry a lot.

It wasn’t until 2015, which is a couple of years ago so that’s 30 years after my sister died, I got Bell’s palsy. When I looked in the mirror and saw this half side of my face paralyzed, I was always telling myself, “You can’t go out of the house. You look like a monster.” I have cried like I never cried before. I still remember I wailed. there was wailing. I was like, “This is what wailing is.” I needed to get that stuff out. For some of you who can’t cry and it’s not a normal thing, sometimes, I’ve heard people tell me they’ll watch a really sad movie as a way to be like, “I’m crying at the movie.”

Can I say on this water theme as well for all my fellow chronically dehydrated friends out there to drink some fucking water? That should be one of your other resources because that’s also very good for you here. I sat down at lunch, poured myself a big glass of water, and tanked it. I was like, “I must have been thirsty. My poor body was probably telling me that I was thirsty for hours, probably for days.” I gave it this water and it was like, “Please, more.” Cry, drink, be near water, and be in water.

Have a cup of warm tea. I know that’s a very more UK thing, but it can be a ritual too. You make a cup of tea. You hold the warmth in your hand and drink it. I don’t know if that’s the water theme, but that could be the heat theme.

That’s in the water. That stays. This is a complete aside, but as somebody who was raised a Mormon and who never had tea or coffee in my house growing up, it still baffles my brain that my children come through, my teenagers, and make themselves a cup of tea. My children make themselves a cup of tea. It’s so alien to me. It’s funny.

I learned something new about you.

No tea, no coffee. My kids love a cup of tea. All of them love a cup of tea. Elizabeth loves coffee. The ten-year-old is not allowed, but she loves it. I have gotten really into my herbal teas and things. I do drink a cup of tea. I have coffee every morning. I love that you used the word ritual. This is what I was going to say. When you said the word wail, I remember watching a TV program that was by Louis Theroux. It was this documentary. He was talking about grief and the way that people deal with grief and death all over the world.

I don’t recall the country that he was in, but they had the body of the deceased loved one live with them in the house, and it was for quite an extended period of time. The body was embalmed and had a space. I’m not talking days. I’m talking months. At a certain point that was designated and set aside and set as for religious and cultural standards, the body would be taken away to be buried. It was a middle-aged man. He had children. His mother was still alive. It was his body. The mother and his wife followed his body out as he was taken away. They wailed.

I, on one side, went, “What a show of emotion. What are they doing?” On the other side, a part of me went, “That’s real. That’s how you really feel when you lose somebody. That’s how you feel when somebody that you love goes.” That wailing, what did it do for you? What did it do to you? What was it like to do that?

I know it moved something through. It was a portal to move. I’m still thinking, “Where is this all coming from?” I do believe it was decades of pushing stuff down. My sister and I were very close. We reacted differently when our oldest sister passed. I would always tell her, “I’m afraid if I start crying, Carol, I’ll  never stop.” That was a fear. That’s ridiculous, but I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to that have said that same thing. There’s this irrational fear that if I start crying, I will never stop because there’s so much pain I could tap into.

I felt like I tapped into a well of despair that was there for me. I was walking up and down the hallways thinking, “My neighbors are going to think, “What is happening in there?” I don’t know. It was a mixture of so much grief and sadness. I could feel like it was a portal moving it through. It would’ve been nicer if there was someone around because it was quite terrifying.

I did have my family come over at times because I was like, “I’m never going to be leaving my house, so you’re going to have to come visit me.” It’s that whole beauty complex, like, “I’m not worthwhile and can leave a house if I have my face paralyzed.” Live and learn. It moved things through. Not a wail, but a good cry helps where you feel like you somehow have moved something through. That’s what emotions are.

It makes me think about what I talked about with Michael Boehm when we were learning her non-linear movement method. You get on all fours. You put on wordless music that has a beat that might help you move what you’re feeling is what she says. If I feel grief, I’m going to move as grief. If I feel anger, I’m going to move as anger. If I feel sadness, I’m going to move as sadness. It flows because you’re not thinking. You’re moving. You try not to feel like, “Am I doing this right or wrong?” I do believe the moving of the energy through us is what is part of the healing process.

I get what you say. You said, “It’s irrational,” or whatever. That’s a little bit of what I was trying to say, “If I start crying, I’ll never stop.” I have that similar fear that if I look at the feelings that I’m having, I will never be able to stop looking. I will become overwhelmed and they will be too much because I feel them back there. They’re a presence. They’re heavy, and I feel their weight on me. If I look or shine a light, that weight will consume me.

Saying that out loud is important and pulling on those resources to say, “How different would it feel if I set aside some time, if I had my feet in the earth first, if I made myself a beautiful cup of tea to hug as I journaled or did whatever it was I needed to do to look at those feelings?” Writing is a really good tool for looking at feelings. It could also be talking out loud in the car maybe or something, whatever your form of expression is. How lovely to cushion that with some of these beautiful resources with some ground, some water, or whatever it is that you need because they’re scary otherwise? We fear that they will be scary.

One, I want to reflect back that when you were talking, the empathic me went, “I feel what you’re saying there.” I could feel your fear even when you said that. I was like, “I feel it too.” It’s like the Jurassic Park movie. It’s opening those doors. They’re big. What the hell is going to come through if I open up that door? They’re ginormous. How do you close that? It’d be too scary. What’s going to come out? It is years of process of working with people who are more trauma-informed. This taught me that there’s a thing called titrating and a thing called pendulation that deals with your dark feelings or big overwhelming feelings.

With titrating, I don’t know if that word is something that someone might be reading for the first time, but titrating is a chemical term when you’re trying to make a chemical reaction. If you put a bunch of it in, it would create an explosion or whatever those things. An acid in a base, if you put it in at a big amount of time, is going to blow up your beaker or blow up your whatever.

A titrate means I let one drop of the acid that goes into the base or whatever it is the base that goes into the acid. You see a little bit of a fizz. It works its way in, and then you let another drop in. You can take an acid, add a base, and get water that’s seven neutral. If you would’ve done it as a big load, it would’ve blown up. That’s titrating.

I’ll say pendulation and then you tell me what you feel like when you hear that. For pendulation, what they told us is that you’re finding your resource. For me, I already feel more resourced with you. We’re talking. We’re bonding. Our nervous systems are co-regulating. We’re both feeling more grounded. That’s why you have more resources to pendulate. It’s like a pendulum that swings to the left and then swings to the right.

I’m on the one side where I’m feeling more resourced. I can open a little bit of my scary door and look at some of these feelings that were a little bit too big to look at. I can then say, “That’s enough,” and I’m coming back to resource some more. They would do that with us, like, “Hug yourself. Let’s do that for five minutes. Let’s take a look at something scary again. Now, come back. What’s your resource?”

I love that so much. I’m sure I’ve mentioned on the show before that Steve has OCD. It’s not that, “I’m so OCD,” but the real kind. A part of OCD is having intrusive thoughts. You become obsessive. You cannot stop them. You cannot help them. One of the techniques that he has been given which can help anybody who deals with anxieties or any of these kinds of worries is to schedule time to worry about the thing.

You get the thought or have the thing and say, “I am going to worry about you at 6:00 tonight.” When you said that when you use your name, it links to both sides of your brain, I thought about me being at the GP and feeling not seen. Much of our sadness and our anger stems from loneliness in a way and or feeling not seen or not seeing ourselves. It may be both of those things.

So much of our sadness and anger stem from loneliness or feeling not seen or not seeing ourselves. Click To Tweet

When you said, “Clare, I see this as hard for you,” I was like, “How beautiful to say, “I see you. I’m here for you.” I’m scheduling saying, “I can look at that. I’m going to do it at 6:00 tonight or 9:00 tomorrow morning, or whenever it is.” It feels like a beautiful way, whether it’s that titration or whether it’s waiting for a time when you feel resourced. To see all the parts of me, I see all of you. I’m not going to ignore you. I’m not going to pretend that you’re not there. I see that sadness. I see you and I will give you time. I will love you and ask you what you need. It’s like, “I can’t do it right now, but I can do it later. I promise you I will.” It’s then keeping that promise with yourself.

How many of us have broken our promises to ourselves as we put everyone else first and we’re not keeping promises to take care of ourselves that way? That feels good.

I’m going to try that one. That’s it. That’s going on the list. You don’t have to feel powerless. You can feel more resourced. You’re like, “I’ll go out and do some grounding first. I’ll make my tea,” or, “I’ll have a shower,” or, “I’ll run a bath afterward.” It can be whatever it is that works for you, whether it’s some of the things that we’ve said or something completely different that fills your cup up. Maybe it’s time with friends. Maybe it’s a connection. That’s what you need to resource.

It could be getting a massage.

I’ve booked a massage. I’m so excited about it. It’s not for weeks. She’s so good and popular that I have to wait for weeks for my appointment, but I’m so excited. To be able to pull on those resources safely. Those little increments that you were talking about are safe when you feel resourced. To be able to look feels better than, “I have to look at my sadness. Let’s throw the door wide open and see which monsters come raging out.”

That’s terrifying. Who would want to do that? That makes sense. It’s not there. It’s not the way it should. This reminds me of hearing about how when someone has a true phobia, there are two ways to deal with it. One is exposure therapy and it’s in small increments. I’ll use the example of a spider. People have arachnophobia. One version is you put them face-to-face with a spider or a spider is put on them. That would be with a therapist. I have no idea who does that.

The other version is that small version, like the titration, where we might be talking and I’ll say, “Do you know that thing that has a body and has eight legs?” You’re like, “No. I don’t want to talk about it,” but we said that. You might think of a picture of that and then you move it along. It’s over there, but it’s twenty feet away. It’s one of those. That’s called exposure therapy.

Your amygdala, that alarm system in your brain that has us thinking, “Are we safe or not?” is the one that’s going off. Each of those things with titration or exposure therapy is that you live through it because you think you’re going to die. That’s why you’re afraid of lots of these things. The body has somehow been convinced, “Something really bad will happen if I look at my feelings, I touch a spider, or whatever it is.”

The kindest way is to accept all parts with a warm and open curiosity of like, “I wonder why this happened.” It’s not judgmental like, “You big baby. It’s a spider. It’s not even a biting spider.” None of that helps because we’ve already learned that criticism isn’t what we need. We need warm open curiosity. That comes from Emily Nagoski’s latest book which we will be talking about in another few episodes, Come Together. I love how Emily breaks things down with things.

Permission to be Enchanting | Overcome Stress
Overcome Stress: The criticism isn’t what we need. We need the warm, open curiosity.

 

This goes back. A theme I’ve been learning too and coaching is that if we take all parts of ourselves and we don’t try and close off a part of ourselves, that’s how we help to heal things. The numbness is there for a reason. We may not know it, but it’s a good reason that keeps us safe. If we don’t criticize it but have this open, welcoming, and warm curiosity towards it, it will show itself. It’s the same thing with these scary parts or these emotions that you said.

W e’ve talked about this briefly here and in other episodes that you don’t do something new when you’re in a point of crisis. You practice it when you’re resourced or when you feel safe. When you have that conversation, that’s when you try that new thing, not when you’re in crisis. We have a bit of a pattern of communication with our eldest child who doesn’t love to communicate with us. That is something that they find quite challenging and quite difficult to talk about emotions and feelings with their parents, which is so understandable.

What happens is that we get to this point of non-communication where we’re all really frustrated with each other because none of us understands what the other one is doing, thinking, or believing in. We clash at this crisis point where we then have to have this huge two-hour conversation where everybody cries.

It happened again not long ago. We were saying to him, “This is the pattern of our communication. Let’s name it. We can practice a new kind of communication. It will be scary and it will feel uncomfortable, but we’ll do it a little bit at a time. Each time we do that a little bit, you’ll learn that it’s safe and you’re not going to die. A t the end of the day, you’re going to come home and we’re going to say, “How was college?” You’re going to say, “It was great. For a little bit of today, I felt excited,” or, “I was overwhelmed about this.”

We’ll have a little tiny conversation and drop in a feeling that you might have had that day and you’ll see it was fine. You’ll learn that we can talk about feelings with each other and it will be okay in that titration or that little drip along the way. I forgot where I was going with this, so I’m going to trust that that was enough and it will come back to me later. I’ll see how you feel about that.

I don’t know what drove it, but I like that it’s added to this conversation. It is about if you have a pattern of not communicating your needs so then you don’t, and then your partner, your parents, your friend, or your coworkers don’t know what’s going on. There will be a misunderstanding. Chances are it will go to a not-best way of doing it. We’re talking about a new skill. You try something new in a more titrating way as opposed to trying to jump in. Each time, your brain will see that you didn’t die and nobody got hurt.

That’s all that I meant to say. It’s not about communication necessarily, although it is in that circumstance. If you feel overwhelmed about the possibility of looking at those big things, like worrying about your daughter or whatever our big things are, it is knowing that it can either be looked at a little bit and maybe some of these resources, we can practice. We’d love to hear if you have any other resources or ideas. If they work on the earth, wind, and water thing, I would especially love that. Tell us any resources that you practice, especially if they’re really achievable.

I’m going to go firmly on track and say when we talk about these resources and things that you can do, and I know I speak for you when I say this, the last thing that we want to do is for you to use these resources as another stick to beat yourself with if you do not do them. You do not have to meditate every day or whatever it is that you’ve told yourself that good people and successful people do. They set their alarm for 5:00 and exercise for 1 hour before the children wake up and do all these stupid things. The resources are wonderful. They are not a stick to beat ourselves with if we don’t do them. They’re a tool for loving ourselves.

What I’m saying is if it’s a tool for loving ourselves, when we feel safe and when we feel like that is accessible to us, first, we practice it. In the moments of crisis, we know them. We feel comfortable with them. We feel safe with them. They’re easy to call on because they’ve been part of our lives for a little while now. It’s never a tool. Please don’t write in your journal that you are going to do 1 of each of the 4 elemental resources every day for the next year and never miss a day. Please don’t do that.

Have you decided what you’re going to incorporate as a resourcing tool for yourself?

Always, I start with a breath. My favorite breath is a heart breath. You and I have done this before when we did our very first woman’s circle. I led the group in a heart breath. We imagined a connection between all of our hearts. A heart breath is when you breathe in, what you are imagining is that air that flows into your heart and your heart fills with breath, expands, and releases. It’s your heart that gets that flow that goes through it. That is my favorite kind, especially when combined with a, “Ha,” on the outbreath.

You do an inhale usually through your nose, but whatever is comfortable with you, honestly, if you ask me, and in the outbreath, it’s that releasing and dropping off shoulders, but it’s into the heart. We spend so much of our time in this cognitive, “I’m going to solve all my problems up in my brain.” It’s always with the heart breath to me, down into my heart.

When I was saying I’ll tell my worry, my sadness, or my loneliness but it’s going to be later, the idea of addressing that part of me felt so nice. It’s acknowledging all the bits that are me. What I might do is acknowledge that part and ask her or them, whatever they are, “What do you want? Do you want water? Do you want fire? Do you want Earth? Tell me what you want.” Sometimes, maybe they’ll say, “Water. Take me for a bath,” or, “Give me some water.” Sometimes, they might say, “Fire,” and I’ll go and scream and shake. I might ask, “What would you like today?”

I love that. That has reminded me of coming back to the three steps of Kristin Neff’s self-compassion. It’s to say, “Clare, this is really hard right now. I can feel how you’re struggling.” The second step is to realize that I am not alone and that I am in a shared humanity. The next thing I’d say is, “I am not the only person who’s struggling right now. There are so many other people. Think about my conversation with Rachel. If I do this later, I’ll be like, “We’re all struggling.”

Remember, you're not the only one who has these overwhelmed feelings. There are millions of humans out there that are struggling right now. Click To Tweet

The third one is what you said. It’s asking myself, “What do you need, Clare? What do you need, honey? What do you need right now?” I’ll freaking listen. What do I want? I then try to give that or a piece of that, or what is capable. There might be something, like, “‘What do you need?” It could be a cup of tea. It could be, “I need to go for a walk around the block.” I’ll still do that thing you said that I will deal with it later. If you could ask, “What do I need right now?” That’s addressing it.

I love how she said that once you get into these three things, you’re like, “While this is hard, Clare, I want you to remember you’re not the only one who has these overwhelming feelings. There are millions of women, men, and humans out there that are struggling right now. What do you need?” That could be not that much longer than giving yourself a self-criticism mean talk in your head that says, “You screwed up,” or, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Stop being so emotional. Natalie’s fine. Why are you worrying?” There’s so much data that that’s not how you’re going to have less anxiety, more happiness, and more self-compassion. Thanks for helping me remember, “What do I need right now?”

I love that that helped you remember because that was so perfect. Back to the, “We have to do all the things and be all the things for all the people,” if your body says, “I need a nap,” and you say, “I don’t have time,” you can have a nap. Even if you can’t have one now, then you say, “I can have a nap tomorrow.” If your body says to you, “What I want to do now is watch Netflix for an hour,” that’s valid too. Your body doesn’t have to ask for meditation and exercise every time or a green smoothie. Netflix is a completely valid way to regulate yourself and allow your background system to come back to itself. If it’s a nap, Netflix, a donut, or whatever it is, you’re allowed to ask for those things.

That’s because your body asked for that. You then realize that it would be good to have a couple of things. What’s your basket? What’s your toolkit? Maybe what you do for a while is, “I want to hug,” if you live alone, or, “I want to pet my dog.” If you try something and that works for a while, then you might after a while also see that you need something else. Don’t judge what you need right then, especially if you’re getting used to trying to set up this communication with your body and your body is trusting, “Can we trust Clare? Is she going to listen to us or is she going to hold the rug out when we are getting vulnerable all over again?” Do give your body some time because it takes time to build trust, especially if you’ve had trauma.

I have a thing about my emotions being too much for the people around me. I probably am specifically talking about my husband because he’s the one who is in the position to see them if you know what I mean. He and I express ourselves very differently. We feel differently. I have an insecurity because I feel big. I said to him, “You don’t come there with me. I don’t need you to feel the same feelings, but I feel you shy away. I feel you try to bring in order when my chaotic feelings come forward. That makes me feel not seen, not heard, and not loved.”

You were saying that and I thought, “What do I do to my big emotions? Do I reign them in, control them, and try to impose order?” Those are the messages that I’m telling myself. If I’m being honest, I do that because I judge my own big emotions. It’s very rare that I allow myself to feel the fullness of them without trying to judge them, reign them in, or control them.

We all know that relationships of all kinds are mended. When we mend our relationship with ourselves, that’s the way to start. I’ll stop talking and say thank you because I had never appreciated that thing. I held Steven responsible for something that I was doing to myself. Maybe that’s the injury that I’m feeling. Thank you.

Relationships of all kinds are mended when we mend our relationship with ourselves. Click To Tweet

That’s big. It’s a great epiphany. Someone else could call it something else, your big emotions. What we can circle back on is how you work when you’re resourced at allowing your big feelings to be and not shut them down. Let’s be honest. That was a conditioning from when you were a child. All of these things stem from what we learned as a child.

In the Mormon religion or even as Emily Nagoski says, “If you’re raised as a female,” if that’s what the gender that they gave you, “You’re a giver.” Part of that is you don’t overwhelm people with your big emotions. You’re a pleaser. I love that that was something that gave you a new insight into how you can do that more for yourself.

What will be interesting is you won’t have to have Steven as your only person to do that because you’re going to be working on doing that. It’s not a perfect ten. It’s not like you’re the only one. I’ll use myself as an example. I, for so long, wanted a man to care for me, but I was so good at being self-sufficient. My own thing is like, “I need him to care for me.” Things got better when I took that responsibility for myself. What is it that I was expecting from someone else that I could be doing for myself? How am I not caring for myself and expecting someone else to fill that void for me? It’s similar. Things will already change by that.

We can do some other fun things offline, you and me, about ways to have a conversation with your big feelings and have them be brought in. We can put a chair down or a pillow down and have them see what they want to tell you and listen to that. That already will shift some things. We got some cool stuff.

To let you behind the curtain, reader, we almost didn’t record this episode.

We both were feeling so shitty.

I hope it’s been good for you because then, it’ll be for us. I  checked in with my feelings and they said they want both water and fire after this. I’m going to complete the stress cycle. I’m going to do some shaking, some dancing, and then I’m going to have some water. That’s what I want. I’m going to keep that promise to myself.

Thank you, Rachel. Thank you, dear audience. We love sharing our real life with you and the journey that we are on of becoming more empowered, stepping into our permission to be enchanting, and being like you. We live life. We have shitty days. We have great days. I want to get to the end of my life. I know that I have constantly improved and felt more like my authentic self. It’s what I was brought here to do, which is not to live small and not to live a life someone else predetermined for me because that doesn’t feel fulfilling. I love that we get this vehicle to do it.

I love you so much. Thank you.

Bye.

 

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