Have you ever had an experience where you brain turns off? When your mind cannot process information?
Recently, I realized that I was having trouble thinking. I couldn’t form sentences.
I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I was tired, exhausted.
These seem to be the long term effects of COVID-19. I cannot handle extended interpersonal interactions. At night I am restless.
It it a big ol’ clusterfuck for our minds and bodies. It happens when we are too stressed.
What you need is to chill the f* out.
Finding energy during these times is difficult. Even if you’re eating right and exercising, you might still be feeling off your game.
Sometimes your brain is turned off and going a mile a minute. You experience a strange mix of exhaustion and high energy.
When your brain seems to be closed for business and your body is telling you both that you need rest and that you need to expend energy, what do you do?
There are many strategies to dealing with this blend of feelings.
Meditation is not necessarily the stereotype we think of when we think of meditation. Relax and breathe is a great exercise to practice.
In this exercise, you breath to the rhythm of a box that grows and shrinks. Getting in turn with the box helps bring focus and balance to you in this time of need.
As you follow the box, put all your attention on what you are doing. Release yourself from other thoughts. This might be difficult at first, but your brain should eventually gain the focus you need to find relaxation.
Below is my favorite video for the relax and breathe meditation technique:
Focus on how you feel
This is another technique that might be considered meditation. Here, you want to get in touch with how you are physically feeling. You do not want to think about why you are feeling a certain way.
Just focus on your body. This technique works best when you are laying down on a flat surface. If that is not an option, recline in your chair or slump over your desk and rest your head
In focus on how you feel, you might imagine a flame positioned in the center of your head. Focus on that flame as you slowly and methodically breathe in and out. Your brain should begin to relax. You should start to feel the tenseness in your head and readjust your muscles in ways that feel more comfortable.
Proceeding to the rest of your body, you want to redirect your attention to your shoulders, then stomach, then hips and legs. Imagine yourself melting into the bed.
Take a hot bath or shower
Relaxing your muscles helps to relax your brain.
If your mind is going a mile a minute, an extended exposure of the body to high temperatures can work wonders.
Warning: DO NOT BURN YOURSELF.
Yes, you want a hot water temperature but you do not want to cause yourself more stress and pain.
When you’re in the bath close your eyes, hold your breath, and sink below the surface of the water and listen to the nothing.
What you need is silence. Don’t listen to music or the news. Don’t try to read. Just sit in the warmth of the water.
If it moves you, tense and relax your muscles. Start with your hands, then your feet, your bottom, your legs, your bottom again, and your stomach.
Head to a sauna
Some people think of a hot tub when they hear sauna. In this case, we are talking about a steam room sauna.
A sauna constructed of a nice cedar, with hot steam, and maybe even some eucalyptus is a great way to relax the body.
What you are doing is releasing the pent up toxins through heat therapy.
Note that when I write about toxins I am not talking about the pseudoscience of heat therapy. Rather, I am talking about the traditional health benefits that people across many cultures have practices for thousands of years.
Saunas relieve sore muscles, help you relax, and get better sleep.
They are not to be used daily, but as a sort of medical tool to supplement your more regular relaxation practices. Once a week should be sufficient.
Saunas can dehydrate so, as we say here at Hangover Throat, stay hydrated!
If you live in a city, this might not be as simple as sitting outside. What you need is to go to a place where you can hear the birds chirping, the squirrels cackling, the foxes screaming, or the frogs chirping.
In other words, you need to hear the sounds of nature and feel the sun on your skin.
My favorite place to sit outside is in my backyard, which draws in a lot of birds especially during seasonal migrations. I set up my hammock and swing from side to side.
Most important for this technique is not being on your phone or any other screen. Concentrate on what is going on around you, observe the animals and insects.
Sit in a pool of water
Find a lake or a pool or even a hot tub to sit in, alone, with yourself. This can do wonders for getting you to relax.
Sometimes relaxation can be difficult. We are in such a hurry and want quick results, but relaxation requires that we slow down.
There are many ways to use a pool of water to relax. Floating is one of them.
When I started writing this article, I referenced exercise not getting the job of relaxation done. Thus, when I say sit in a pool of water I mean do not exercise in it.
Sit in it. Float in it. Go under the water and hold your breath for a moment. Take the time you are in the water to really feel your body. No, not like masturbation. Feel your body’s feelings, feel your body float in the weightlessness of the water.
Focusing on how your body feels is a method to relax by taking your mind off of other things and redirecting it to life in the moment.
Take it easy. Slow down. You will get there when you get there.
It is ok to be late. It is ok to take longer than others. It is ok to reject the idea of lateness when it is arbitrary.
Slow your brain down with any of these techniques. Relaxation is unfortunately a skill we now need to make our way through life. We are no longer privileged with the right to relax. Even relaxation has become work.
Hangover Throat is about rejecting that notion of relaxation as work. We want your to do you on your own terms. Not the terms dictated by an employer who knows you need the paycheck. Finding ways to make it through this life with dignity and maintaining respect for others is not as challenging as we might think.
Focus on your body to relieve your brain of the everyday stresses that accumulate to the point of your body and mind getting out of sync. Bring them back into balance.