Have you noticed yourself being just a little bit bitely lately? Is the dog running away from you or the cat not as cuddly? Might your huband or your children be gaining weight, having skin problems or just not feeling like engaging in activities? If you are answering no to these questions, you may not be in touch with your surroundings or perhaps you don't have a dog or a cat!
Dealing with Covid out here in Phoenix, Arizona is admittedly getting difficult. We have been quarantining since early March and our numbers are supposedly some of the highest in the country for the coronavirus presently. Additionally, some of us have been sick and the rest of us are trying not to get sick. We are all unable to relax as we navigate through our new norm.
In order to further understand what our brain is going through right now, I find it interesting to understand how our brain processes information on a daily basis. Did you know that the conscious mind is only able to process about 10% of our thoughts at a time? This leaves the other 90% of our thoughts to be processed in our subconscious mind. When the amount of thoughts needing to be processed is increased, this leaves alot of unconscious processing for the brain.
Have you ever tried to make a decision when you have alot on your mind? If you have ever moved, lost a loved one or started a new job, these are times when you have alot on your mind. This may not be the best time to be making other important lifetime decisions until you have been able to best process the daily decisions and get in to a routine.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we are being forced to think out of the box. If I had a nickel for every time a patient discussed anxiety with me since March 2020, I would be a wealthy nurse practitioner. In my primary care practice, we have developed a stress management program that is helping to address anxiety without chemicals and by also developing a deeper sense of community. This program is called Yoga Nidra. Truth be told, before the pandemic, I had never heard of this. Fortunately for social media, I learned that this type of "stillness practice" has been helping people with active minds to relax and restore.
In our practice, individual providers talk with individual patients and make recommendations for consideration as well as provide the education that a patient needs in order to participate. The Yoga Nidra facilitator and the provider join together with a group of patients on a weekly zoom call. Through guided words and self recognition, patients participate in this non-movement activity to develope calmness, more rested sleep, a more interactive presence rather than a reactive presence and a sense of relaxation. Sometimes this feeling lasts for a few weeks and other times it lasts for only a few days. Our experience has shown, that the more consistent the participation, the more lasting are the results. In other words, those who intitially engaged in the program weekly for 3 weeks, had stronger results than those who only participated once or twice.
If you or a loved one are recognizing difficulty in relaxing and this is not a comfortable feeling for you, consider the power of Yoga Nidra. Consider helping your brain sort through and process our new norm by using this ancient practice instead of pharmaceuticals. There is a free app called "Insight Timer," that is a good place to start. Simply download on your phone and decide how often your body appreciates getting relaxed.