Sleep in: OK, not always possible. I know. But there are options. Take a nap. Again, not always possible, but 5 minutes in your parked car (anything other than at your desk or in the break room) with your eyes closed, breathing (being mindful), can have a restorative effect. Go to bed ridiculously early, maybe with a cup of tea (decaf!) or warm milk. Take a warm shower or bath first. This will help to bring your body to a quieter, more relaxed and peaceful place. Don't watch TV or read before you go to sleep. You take some of that stimulus with you when you fall asleep and the last thing you need right now is stimulus. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against TV before bed... I'm certainly a culprit. Sometimes there is nothing like a grisly Criminal Minds episode just as I'm dozing off. But in times of "stress with a capital O," we have to be particularly gentle and mindful with ourselves. Play music or ambient sounds as you fall asleep. Nothing with lyrics... again, beware the stimulus. I'm partial to rain sounds or Tibetan bells. But you have to find the sounds that work to soothe you. And don't worry if you don't fall asleep immediately. Just the process of putting your body into this state of peace has a restful and restorative effect.
Talk about it: Talking about it begins with assessing your emotional support system. Who do you turn to in your life when the s*&t hits the fan? If you were to make a list, who would make the cut for those you trust most with your inner vulnerabilities: your BFF, your significant other, your roommate, your mom, a sibling, your boss, a teacher? If anyone on the list is the kind of person who can listen without judgment or advice (there are no "shoulds" in this scenario, only possibilities), and instead offer plenty of brainstorming and cheerleading, go for it. When the support system starts adding to the "stress with a capital O" factor, consider professional help.
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If you're having physiological symptoms, it's time to see your medical doctor. But also find a good therapist in your area. We're good at navigating the layers of distress that come with "stress with a capital O."
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(Special thanks to my good friend, colleague and writer, Lorin Shields Michel for her editing and creative advice.)