I can’t create more time for you but I can help you identify simple ways to improve your quality of life slipping into the time you have!
Around May of 2020 I went to an online wellness event and one of the teacher suggested running cold water on the back of the neck as a way to soothe our nervous system.
At the time I was a little over six months living down the street from my mother for the first time since I was 17. I truly never thought I would live near her. As I reconnect with old friends a lot of them check in about how it’s going living so near to my mom with trepidation–my relationship with my mother has not always been harmonious.
I consider my current relationship with her one of my greatest life successes. We’ve both grown a lot and know how to communicate in a way that doesn’t devolve into fights. I have a great therapist and I have a considerable amount of tools to deal with being triggered.
There’s something special about parents who installed all of our buttons and then push them later in life without being conscious of it. When I first moved up here she triggered me frequently! I had my tools, so I could go regulate myself, but I noticed that once I got intentional about the cold water on the back of my neck every morning for 20-30 seconds I stopped getting triggered by her. (With a couple exceptions this has remained true!)
You hear rich people talk about cold plunges all the time on social media because cold water therapy has numerous benefits and now they sell rich people cold plunge pools!
A cold shower has lots of overlapping benefits, and I started taking cold showers in 2017 after being influenced by Shaman Durek, a teacher I adore. Summer is a great time to start this practice!
It wasn’t the cold showers, it was the intentional exposure of my vagus nerve that was the game changer.
The vagus nerve is a major player in your parasympathetic nervous system. It’s how your heart pumps, you digest, your immune system functions and you don’t have to think about it. (THE BODY IS A MIRACLE.) When you’re a traumatized kid your body wants to keep you safe. Nerd out more about the body keeping you safe on my podcast episode (#143) with Jes Baker.
I now perceive triggers as opportunities to heal old wounds in the present moment when I am SAFE and HAVE CHOICES unlike when the original trauma happened. The trigger train now makes final stops in my life because I can regulate my nervous system, get curious, get under the hood and investigate what is seeking to be healed.
In the Winter I jump into the shower before turning on the water, using the cold water that rolls out on the back of my neck and by the time the water is warm my vagus nerve has had her 20-30 seconds of cold exposure. (Be mindful of taking cold showers in the winter or you’ll be like me and have no water outflow til the snow thaws because it all froze in the pipes after a cold shower. When I know better I do better! Haha!)
My understanding of why this works is just teaching your nervous system that you’re safe no matter what. I also do a five minute tapping video first thing in the morning. It’s way easier for me to stay emotionally regulated when I’m resourcing myself with nourishing habits!
Anyway, I hope this simple self care helps you! Click here to read more simple self care posts! You deserve to feel awesome!
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