Self care in times of turmoil

What do you write when as war has started in Europe, Putin’s tanks roll into a neighbouring democracy, and missiles rain down on civillians?
My heart goes out to the Ukrainians, under attack from Russia, now for 10 days. It’s wrong. There are no winners in war. Just human and material cost. I can’t see how Putin withdraws without losing face, and that seems to be more important than the lives of his own people, as well as the Ukrainians. It feels like Russia is in Orwell’s book 1984, where only propaganda is allowed, but despite that, Russians are taking to the streets to protest, even though protest has been deemed treason, and can land them in jail.

As a child I wondered how the Roman and Greek civilisations could fail, they were such massive endeavours, built on clear philosophies and concepts: pinnacles of modern thinking in their age.
In this last decade with Brexit, Covid-19, the rise of populist leaders across the world, decision-making at the top based on greed or popularity surveys, it no longer seems so crazy. 

Most of us imagined that with Covid-19 winding down a little, that life would feel a little more normal. It’s certainly been nice to see people’s faces once more. But with the invasion of Ukraine, it certainly feels less cIear what the future holds. I don’t think any of us imagined that there would be a war on our doorstep in our generation.

I can’t imagine what it is like to suddenly have your world turned upside down, nor to be in the midst of war. From our safe vantage in the UK, it has certainly made me feel a little powerless to do much, other than write to my MP to ask for kinder refugee rules for people escaping war, and to donate to the humanitarian effort.

A feeling of powerlessness, or inability to be in control of our decisions is at the heart of many forms of anxiety, or depression. It’s something I used to feel often in an earlier stage of my life. So much of the beginnings of life is down to luck. Which country we’re born in, the parents we have, whether the area we live is peaceful or not. The opportunities or limitations that face us.  I realise how fortunate we are to be in a place that hasn’t felt the fist of war in half a century, whatever else may be swirling around us, with the pandemic, or anything else that we have to face in life.

One of my students commented this week that it was difficult to focus inwards when so much was happening around us. I agree, it is. There is so much outside of our realm of influence. There are so many situations we can’t do much about.
But there is one sphere where we can have autonomy and control, and that’s ourself. We have choices of how we treat ourselves and those around us, to create conflict, or to create more peaceful connections. We have an influence in our circles- home, work, social life. That’s where we can also make a difference.

It’s not selfish to think of ourselves- we need to have energy in order to give. We don’t think anything of buying new batteries for the remote, or filling up our cars with fuel, but often, we don’t give ourselves the same attention. If we want to give, we have to take in, and refill our batteries. Especially when the world is in turmoil.

When we have inner composure, it can be easier for others to be with us, trust us, calm themselves. We all have mirror neurons, working under the surface constantly. Meaning that we take on the physical tensions of those around us- unless we’re able to have enough self-knowledge to self-regulate well. Then others can regulate to us- we can be the ones that others mirror. 
That’s what we work on in every Feldenkrais lesson. To become a little more of ourselves, to be able to stay in our own values – hold our ground when necessary- to give when needed.

What to do when the world seems to lose its head around us? What can we do to navigate the relentless bad news? Or the sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety that might accompany it?

In our lessons, we learn neuroscience based strategies to reduce stress or anxiety. Concepts that you can bring into your every day, for more peace from the inside. A lesson offers an hour away from the outside world, to find less conflict in yourself. To calm down our highly stimulated nervous systems, and find repose – building in space to help us respond, rather than react. Do join us for one of our sessions this week. 

If you’d like more information on how I can help navigate through anxiety or stress in this physically based practice, do get in touch.

I usually offer my mailing list a free audio lesson each month. I’d like to offer it to all my readers too. (It will only be available for a week from today).

This audio lesson is an opportunity for you to give yourself an hour looking inwards. An hour to learn a little more about your habits, your potential, and limitations. Self-knowledge is at the base of self-esteem. Being able to accept, like and love ourselves is paramount for us to be able to give others those same gifts of acceptance and love. 

If you don’t have an hour, do the lesson in 15 minute chunks over a few days instead. 
The lesson is from my series on Freeing up the Back – no. 1: Spine like a Chain – a way of feeling more of yourself, easing tension in your back, resetting your nervous system, so you can stay calmer, ready for whatever life may throw at you next:
https://we.tl/t-dRDCNuQfs3


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