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Feel All Your Feels – Give It All Equal Air Time (COVID-19 quarantine bonus)

Feeling all your feelings

 

Hello hello my love. Welcome to another special COVID-19 episode.

 

Today we’re going to be talking about a simple strategy for managing all the feelings that are up right now – the pressure to DO and Accomplish and Produce right now, the pressure to deep clean your closet while working from home while parenting or grocery shopping for your elders, the stress of being a clinician on the front lines, the codependency that may be coming up while you’re locked in with your partner or other humans in your life.

And this is the concept of Equal Air Time.

A lot of us are struggling with finding balance right now.

Not just the usual work/life balance, but the balance of energy and emotions: grief and fear and freakout and panic and sadness and shut-down.

From what I hear from my clients, from your emails and DMs, a lot of you are judging yourselves for complaining about your situation since “others have it worse.” And then you feel guilty about complaining. You judge yourself for complaining or being sad or angry or weirded out. For doing all the things right now and not “feeling enough” or feeling so much you’re “not being productive”….

A podcast fan recently shared with me on Insta that she is feeling guilty for not being able to give her 6 yo her full-time attention while she and her husband are both working from home full time and set their life up around having childcare/school that is no longer available. She called herself a bad mom and was swirling around trying to do it all while having to Literally do it all for the first time while all these global energies are swirling in our heads and hearts.

I want to share the concept of Equal Air Time with you, as a way to support you in finding that emotional balance, and most importantly, I want to invite you NOT to hold a darn thing in.

But first I want to say: This concept works best and will bring you freedom and peace when you’re coaching yourself on the daily, which I do, and am dedicated to doing.

I do this work of being a life coach for codependents, perfectionists and those raised by them because this work saved my life. I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t know how to manage my mind. And now more than ever, I am so immensely grateful for life coaching. That I have been coached consistently by an expert coach and by myself for the last decade. That I have the Thought Work protocol that I teach my clients.

Every morning I wake up, make my yerba mate. Stretch. Do a little breathwork. And then get to work to manage the swirl of thoughts in my mind. I get clarity and am able to choose the thoughts I want to practice thinking on the daily.

Because think about it. You’re either practicing your old habitual thoughts or you’re choosing the thoughts you want to think and then practicing them. You’re strengthening your beliefs, which are the thoughts you think over and over again, every day. And you get to choose the thoughts you want to focus your energy and your nervous system on.

So, I choose my next right thought.

The belief I want to strengthen. By writing my thoughts and feelings down and by having a Protocol to run them through to ask questions like:

  1. Is this a thought or a fact that my brain is offering me? (and note it’s usually just a thought, a sentence in your mind, masquerading as a fact – like: she’s a jerk, he’s so selfish, this is the worst, everything is lost – none of those are facts, just thoughts)
  2. Does this thought, feeling or action serve me right now? (usually my first thought/feeling doesn’t serve me, it’s from way back when and is usually based in a false story about myself based in someone else’s story about me)
  3. What am I making this thought mean – about me, my partner, that stranger, the universe…? (And it’s usually not anything helpful – for example: he didn’t return my text and I’m making it mean I’m not worthy of a reply. She’s in a bad mood, and I’m making it mean that I did something wrong, and my inner child is making it mean I’m not worthy of love or kindness, that I always mess up…)
  4. How can I feel into this feeling more right now so I can process it through my body? (I’ll do a whole show on this soon)
  5. What does my body need? What does my inner child need? What does my nervous system need right now? How can I give it to myself with love and gentleness?
  6. How do I want to show up right now? That is: what actions do I want to take in this moment to make my life better? To live with intention, not from my habitual thoughts, because the thoughts that you and I and everyone have always thought, unexamined, are likely not truthful – that is, they are shaped by our families thoughts, society, culture, the systems of oppression we live in, and the varying ways those systems impact us differently on the daily. How do I want to show up right now?

These kinds of questions are important, especially now, because they help reveal what’s really going on and the themes that are emerging for you right now.

And a consistent theme I’ve been seeing in my own daily thought work and in conversation with all of you via email, DM, in session with my one-on-one life coaching clients, and with other coaches and healthcare providers in my communities is this:

I’ve been struggling with the at-times competing-seeming stories about being productive and needing to rest. To process. To grieve. To send metta, loving kindness, to all those sick, suffering, vulnerable, scared, worried…. And to complain that this sucks and is so decentering and annoying and frustrating. To do that vital and all important NOTHING that my nervous system is begging for and also, shouldn’t I be getting so much done? I have all this time on my hands and shouldn’t I be writing content, or reading the great novels or learning to make sourdough? But i”m so exhausted by it alllllll…..

I bet this resonates for you. It does for me for sure.

I’m hearing a lot of judgement of ourselves and those we love for the choices we’re making right now, whether so much is so different in so many ways or if you’ve been WFH for years.

And if you’re on a healing path, a spiritual path, you may be bringing your awareness to your judgmental habits and so… maybe you judge yourself for judging yourself, or you judge yourself for judging others.

And all of that judging of the judging, the labeling yourself, ourselves, with adjectives like Lazy or Productive or  Successful just leads you back into being mean to you. Beating yourself up. And doesn’t even serve any kind of goal because while you’re actively judging yourself, you are neither working efficiently nor are you resting.

The thing you are accomplishing is punishing yourself.

And that, my love, never ever serves you.

And so I’d like to invite you to decide that you’re going to rest, to cry, to complain, perhaps to judge, to worry and maybe to get one thing done, or two things done. And most importantly, that you’re going to give both options and thoughts equal air time. I am now going to work and I am now going to rest I am being productive and I am being “lazy” if that’s a term you’re using for yourself that doesn’t feel mean or judging.

Don’t resist it.

Don’t fight it.

Don’t push your thoughts or feelings away.

Focus on accepting what your mind and your inner child are offering you FIRST, and then see if you want to shift.

And we don’t push our thoughts or feels away in this family because:

A#1 – that doesn’t work.

The thoughts and feelings you resist, persist

So my darling: don’t bs yourself

Instead: Give the struggle and the peace equal air time

Equal space

I want to recommend that you complain right now, if that energy is swirling inside you.

I want to recommend that you mash your fists and stomp about it, if that energy is swirling inside you.

I want to recommend that you cry about it, if that energy is swirling inside you.

I also want to recommend that you pause and name everything you’re doing right now that does serve you, understanding that brains have a natural, normal evolutionary bias towards seeing the negative as a way to protect you from certain doom… So your brain is likely picking up on and magnifying the time you’re spending resting and maybe is judging it. And you get to notice it. And pause to also notice the other side of it all: The ways you’re taking care of yourself and your loved ones and your pets and your cousin across the globe, your community or your friends on social…

Give it all the space it deserves.

Let it all out.

Show up for your feelings and your needs.

You may be judging some things. But you’re also likely accepting others.

You may be complaining. But you’re also likely celebrating and having gratitude.

You may be watching a ton of TV or youtube. But you’re also likely making meals, cleaning up, showering here and there.

And what is true is that you are doing the best you can under unprecedented and challenging circumstances and giving yourself some love around that is only going to help.

So I invite you to meet statements like:

I’m lazy.

By recognizing that in some other moment, you’re also not and both are okay.

I’m worrying so much.

By recognizing that in some other moment, you’re also not and both are okay.

I’m writing and creating and being of service.

By recognizing that in some other moment, you’re also not and both are okay.

I’m showing up for my loved ones and my community.

By recognizing that in some other moment, you’re also not and both are okay.

I’m taking time to rest and relax and breathe and move and just BE.

By recognizing that in some other moment, you’re also not and both are okay.

And all of it is okay.

It’s not what you’re doing or not doing that is causing you pain or grief or stress right now.

It’s your thoughts about it all.

Find the energy and balance between “this is the worst” and” it will eventually be okay.”

“Everyone will die” and “today I am healthy.”

“I need to produce 473 new blogs, emails, articles, social media posts, podcasts, news alerts, whatever it may be for you.” And “I need rest. space. Peace. A break.”

Because you are likely doing some degree of both extremes. And maybe the balance is off in one direction or the other and the first step my love, before trying to change anything by forcing yourself to rest or to get things done is to get real with it.

It’s okay to be activated right now.

It’s okay to be distracted right now.

It’s okay to be low energy or checked out right now.

It’s okay to want to rest right now.

It’s also okay to be super productive right now.

It’s okay to just BE right now.

As always.

The most important thing is to check in with your body. To learn to trust your body, your intuition, your gut feeling.

Your brain may offer you false stories. Lies it has learned to think about your worth and value being tied to your productivity. These are the lies of late-stage capitalism. You are sooo worthy of rest and care and feeling your feelings, right now. Just as you are. No reason needed. AND. There is a pretty big global stressor going on right now. so heed your body’s signals to get into balance, to recognize when and where you may not be in balance, and to recognize that that too is okay.

Gently, with love, I’ll invite you to ask:

  • Are you buffering in any direction?
  • Are you using productivity or tv or naps or whatever to try NOT to feel right now?
  • It’s okay not to do anything, but please don’t lie to yourself and call it “rest” when you’re lying on the couch refreshing twitter or torturing yourself reading the latest mortality and morbidity numbers, frantically refreshing the feed of how many new cases there are, the number of deaths, etc. That’s not REST, that’s buffering.

And listen, my darling – it’s perfectly fine and necessary and healing and amazing to watch tv or listen to music or nap or complain or worry or be super productive or whatever if it’s a conscious choice.

That is, if you choose a break or a focused few hours of work or whatever it may be on purpose….

I just want to gently and lovingly ask you to make sure that you’re checking in with you. That you’re setting aside the time and energy in your day to feel all the feels.

To give it all equal air time, to not attempt to stuff anything down. Not the complaining nor the gratitude.

Don’t use one to attempt to cancel out the other. Get real about what you feel. Your healing lies there my angel.

There is no right thing to be doing right now, no right way to be feeling other than what you are feeling in your body. So own it, be with it, and give it all equal airtime.

And i get it.  Feelings can seem scary or overwhelming. But remember, they are just energy moving through your body. They rarely last long and no one ever died from feelings. And… the science shows, my nerds, that attempting to push away, deny or buffer away challenging feelings, can lead to significant mental and physical health problems. So let them out, give them love, connect with your glimmers, and have some compassion for yourself.

This came up for me recently in a conversation with my coach Lauren. She’s amazing, and every coach needs a coach. So I told Lauren the other day that I felt distracted during my calendared focus time. And she asked me a phenomenal question: are you setting time apart to grieve, to feel this on purpose? If not, it’s going to leak into every area of your life, and will catch you unaware. Last week I took her advice and scheduled a cryfest every morning, after my daily Thought Work self-coaching session. And it was soooo helpful! I cried it all out, got all the worry out, and after a few days, I felt more in touch with my feelings and less overwhelmed by them.

So my recommendation is this: calendar it out. I mean it. Block 15 minutes or an hour or 12 hours of time every morning or noon or night to think about what’s going on. To allow yourself to have all of your feelings. To actively give it space and time. To cry on the bathroom floor. To process it and let it out. To tell your brain that you’re safe. It’s safe. It doesn’t have to spin or swirl or throw you into overwhelm.

You can remind yourself, your brain, when it starts to spin that you have time set aside for that. You will be attended to – all of you and your magnificent self and feelings. Make that promise, that commitment to yourself. Do it for you, and for all of humanity. We don’t do this thing of life alone. We are interdependent animals. Wired for social connection, to lean on each other. And the more you can attend to your own mind, heart, body, nervous system, inner child, the more you can show up for yourself and for the people you love, and the people you don’t even know yet.

Give it all equal airtime, my darling.

Don’t tell a feeling no.

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Make sure to click here to download your free mediations to help you connect in deeply with yourself and to support yourself on your healing journey. I’ll also be doing more extra episodes, breathwork sessions, free live coaching and so much more, so get yourself on my email list so you don’t miss a thing.

I want to thank you, as always, for taking the time to focus on your own health and healing.

You are giving yourself such a beautiful gift by tuning in and reading each week to learn a little something that you can apply immediately to help make your own life, and the lives of the people you love, a little bit better. Be well, my beautiful love, and remember, you are safe, you are held, you are loved. And when one of us heals, we help heal the world. Until next time, and thank you so much for being here.

Thank you for taking the time to read Feminist Wellness. I’m excited to be here and to help you take back your health!

I know not everyone is into podcasts, so I wanted to provide digestible blogs to go along with the episodes! If you’re curious about the podcast and haven’t checked them out yet, click here.  

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VictoriaAlbina

Victoria Albina

Victoria Albina, NP, MPH is a licensed and board certified Family Nurse Practitioner, herbalist and life coach, with 20 years experience in health and wellness. She trained at the University of California, San Francisco, and holds a Masters in Public Health from Boston University and a bachelors from Oberlin College. She comes to this work having been a patient herself, and having healed from a lifetime of IBS, GERD, SIBO, fatigue, depression and anxiety.

She is passionate about her work, and loves supporting patients in a truly holistic way - body, mind, heart and spirit. A native of Mar del Plata, Argentina, she grew up in the great state of Rhode Island, and lives in NYC with her partner. A brown dog named Frankie Bacon has her heart, and she lives for steak and a good dark chocolate.

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