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Ep #248: Functional Freeze (Part 3): The Remedies

Feminist Wellness with Victoria Albina | Functional Freeze (Part 3): The Solutions

Functional freeze is a very painful nervous system experience familiar to those of us living in emotional outsourcing. In the first two episodes of this series, we’ve looked at the how and why of functional freeze, as well as real-life experiences that can lead to functional freeze.

Even though the mixed nervous system state of functional freeze can feel extremely isolating, it’s a common collective experience. My goal with this series has been to show you that you’re not alone if you’ve resonated with the descriptions I’ve offered, and now, it’s time to dig into the remedies.

Join me on this episode to hear what you can do to reclaim your one and only precious life from functional freeze. I’m showing you where to start in working with your body, the power of mindfulness when it comes to understanding somatic experiencing, and the potential outcomes of re-establishing a connection with yourself.


Are you interested in learning more about somatics? Check out my free webinar all about it here!

What You’ll Learn:

Why the goal of nervous system work isn’t to always be in ventral vagal.

The potential outcomes of stepping back into alignment with yourself.

What being mindfully connected to yourself looks like.

The difference between calming the nervous system and healing the nervous system.

How practicing mindfulness cuts out needless stress.

The remedies for reclaiming your life from functional freeze.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Ep #2: Be Your Own Watcher

Ep #81: The Science Behind Feeling Stuck

Ep #84: Living with Intention

Ep #103: Meditation Doesn’t Work for Everyone

Ep #107: Thought Work 101

Ep #203: Getting Anchored: Inner Child Science

Ep #206: Healthy Anger (Part 1)

Ep #207: Healthy Anger (Part 2)

Ep #208: Fawn Response and Healthy Anger

Ep #209: Overcoming Fawning

Ep #246: Functional Freeze (Part 1)

Ep #247: Functional Freeze (Part 2): Real-Life Stories of How It Came to Be This Way

Full Episode Transcript:

This is Feminist Wellness, and I’m your host, Nurse Practitioner, Functional Medicine expert, and life coach, Victoria Albina. I’ll show you how to get unstuck, drop the anxiety, perfectionism, and codependency so you can live from your beautiful heart. Welcome, my love, let’s get started.

Hello, hello, my love. I hope this finds you doing so well. So very, very, very well. I hope you've been enjoying this wee series we've been doing all about the functional freeze or somatic self-disconnection. Now, as I've been sharing, it's a topic near and dear to my heart. It is the very painful, challenging, cluster cuss of a nervous system experience that I lived most of my life in.

I daresay that most folks living in emotional outsourcing, where that is your nervous system habit, are also living in a functional freeze, disconnected somatically through the body to oneself. Yeah, to your perfect self.

And so, this week, having talked about the hows and the whys and how it shows up, and having looked at some examples of folks who came to live in functional freeze, I hope that you, first of all, are getting something from this. That it’s supportive, and that it is helping you to see either yourself or someone you love in these descriptions.

Because I know that the most painful part of living this way, for me… and I'll say I've coached thousands of people around their codependency, perfectionism and people pleasing, so I think I can fairly say it is a very common collective experience, but we think we are the one and only, right? That we are the only one who is living in these wicked painful ways.

I want to share my story, and the story of folks who've been through Anchored, folks who I've coached who have also been living this way, so that you know it's not just you. You're not perma-effed, you're not broken. If this is your partner, your parent, your friend, your colleague, your whomever, hopefully, this little series can give you some more empathy. Can help you to see just exactly what they're going through and how painful it really can be.

We will be talking that in a future episode, because I want to keep this miniseries really to the point around this issue. It's really important for us to talk about the physiologic, biological experiences that come with living in a functional freeze. From thyroid issues, to GI issues, to chronic migraines, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, I mean, on and on.

So, if you are a clinician or healthcare provider, it behooves you my darling, to get wise to functional freeze and to be able to start to spot it in your patients and your clients so you can refer them to folks like me. I am both a clinician, and a functional medicine nurse practitioner, UCSF trained; did the whole board certified thing. And a Master Certified Somatic Life Coach, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner; I'm in that process.

Refer to folks like me, who know how to work with the complexity of this experience. When you see that your patients have, particularly, multiple chronic overlapping symptoms, syndromes, complex experiences. Especially if they are not responding to pharmacologic, nutritional, other treatments and modalities. Working with the somas is a really smart place to go.

I don't believe in regret, it's not a part of my worldview, but if I did, I'd be like, aw, man, I wish that someone had made me wise to Somatic Experiencing, I don't know, 25 years ago, when my digestive system was a hot mess. Before I had to spend 20 years sick and suffering; that would have been cute. Also, sidenote, I recognize that I am where I am, and I do the work I do because I made my way through it.

I lived for so long in functional freezer with all those bodily… Well, somatizing, with all the symptoms and experiences that I had. And yeah, here we are. Would I change it if I could? I mean, yes and no. It’s complicated. Because I don't know what else would change if I didn't have IBS. Wow, I'm going off on a tangent. But it's an interesting tangent, and one I'll dig into. I'm going to think a little bit more about that, and we'll come back to it. All right? Cool.

Okay, so you came here for the remedies. Let's give them to you. I'm going to share several remedies for overcoming functional freeze, and they all serve the central goal of reclaiming and restoring a grounded and regulated relationship with yourself, your authenticity, and your nervous system.

What that means is, at the end of the day, you know you, and you trust you, right? Like, if you say you're going to do it, you do it. You show up for you, you have your own back, you know who you are, what you like, what you want, what you need, and you're voicing it. Right?

You're setting boundaries, you're setting limits, you're saying yes, and no, you're saying maybe, you're speaking your truth because you believe in your truth, you believe in your right to your truth.

When I say ‘a regulated relationship with yourself and your nervous system,’ what I mean is, you are able, once again, to pause and breathe, to ground yourself; we're going to get into that in more detail.

To pause, to ground, to orient, to be here and now, so that you don't have to fly off the handle the way you always used to out of habit. You don't have to collapse and disassociate the way you always used to out of habit.

Instead, you have choicefulness. Which means you can pause, and you can decide, do I want to get all worked up about this? Because sometimes yes, we do want to get angry. Right? We talked about this in Episode 206 and 207 about healthy sacred anger.

Yes, sometimes, we want to get angry. We also talked about it in Episode 208, the fawn response and healthy anger. Episode 209 was about overcoming fawning. So if you're working with anger, that's a thing you want to get into, Episodes 206-209. That's for you. Go check that out.

God, I love sacred anger. I love that I can now decide, I can pause and be like, “Do I want to be angry? Oh, yes, I do. That was not cool. I do not like that. No, thank you.” Instead of just dissociating or going into functional freeze or checking out. Or staying quiet and then seething later. Instead, I can choose, yes, I feel angry.

So, as we go into this, I want to say it very clearly, there is no one silver bullet. No magical mantra that will restore you to some perfect state of ventral vagal. Nor do we want that. Ventral vagal isn't like the golden promised land, right? The safe and social, calm part of the nervous system.

Okay, I mean, it feels really nice to be chill most of the time. But sympathetic activation helps you put your pants on. You can't get up and live a human life without sympathetic. You can't live a life where you relax and have shavasana; the chill time at the end of yoga. Relaxing on the couch and in a thoughtful, intentional way. Deeply resting and connecting with a friend or a pet or a tree, that's available in dorsal. Right?

So, what we need, I'm going to be bold, what we need is a regulatable nervous system. We thrive as humans when we are able to largely stay in ventral vagal, and to stay with ourselves. Stay present as we head up into sympathetic, “I'm in a little bit of sympathetic, I feel pretty jazzed. This feels pretty great.”

And as we head into dorsal we're like, “Oh, this is making me sad. Whew, I need to take a little break. I need to pause, slow down, rest, chill.” But we can stay with it. We don't check out, we don't disassociate, we don't shoot up into rage, we don't collapse and leave ourselves.

So, the goal is not to be Zen and chill all the time. The goal of nervous system work is not to rest in ventral vagal all the time; you would be a potato, my angel. We need all three states, we need mixed states. And what is most supportive to a balanced life, is to have the capacity to meet yourself and stay in presence as your nervous system does its beautiful thing. That's the work. Oh, what beautiful work.

This is the slow and steady work. It's not the silver bullet. It's a slow and steady work of remembering who you are. Reclaiming yourself, your connection to your truest self from the systems that taught you it was smarter, better, safer to disconnect from you than to actually be present in your body and the world.

Systems like our families of origin. Systems like our cultural legacy. Systems like the patriarchy, white settler colonialism, late-stage capitalism and Neo-feudalism. Systems like folks who meant really well, but taught you through their actions or their words or what they modeled for you, that being you, not so smart.

That you were too loud, too quiet, too fat, too thin, too tall, too small, too much of a nerd, too much of a jock, too much of a thespian. That you are too much of something and not enough, by their own standard for the world.

They may have thought well, they may have meant well, they may have thought that they were protecting you from the world. But alas, they were part and parcel of all of these systems that shunt us into functional freeze and keep us disconnected from ourselves.

With that said, before we proceed, it's important to note that one of the potential outcomes of stepping back into alignment with yourself is that your relationship is likely to change, in regards to the things, people, careers, and interests that you've been kind of just accepting. Really just kind of dealing with, getting through, or that you've been tolerating, ignoring the annoyance, or even actively disliking, but haven't been able to step away from.

Because you didn't have the capacity in your nervous system to make that kind of choice, to actually step away. Until you did, or until you do, at some point future. So, yeah, the more able we are to actually be ourselves, the more friction we are quite likely to feel with the life we've been living from within a functional freeze.

Even for all the friction, all the discomfort, all the relationships lost, all the changes that needed being made, I'm so completely beyond happy for the changes that came when I reclaimed myself. I'm deeply present in my body, my heart, my life now.

I trust myself to make intentional choices for me, in a way that is just so powerful and beautiful. And this, this is what I want so much for you, my darling; should you want it for yourself, that is. Because, you know, feminism and consent. You can want anything you want for you.

It's also important to put into context, that the nervous system hacks and tricks that are so common on social media these days… I'm talking about those magical movements that are proclaimed to be the answer to dysregulation issues, they have their place. Right? I'm not going to add to that conversation right here.

I have been thinking about sharing some of those on Instagram. I've been really working on how to frame it. Because I want to say, that all those tools can be a helpful part of a holistic approach to rebalancing and regulating your nervous system, and that it's a holistic approach that's needed to help us to reconnect with ourselves in ways that can change our lives.

That is, it's not just a series of one-off movements and hacks. There's a difference between calming the nervous system and healing the nervous system. And that, I'm going to put that there as foreshadowing. We're going to talk all about healing versus calming the nervous system soon enough.

But my point is, that just doing the movement and calming your nervous system, it's not enough to really heal it in the long term. What we need is a movement from practice. “Okay, it's Monday at 4:00, it's time for me to do my somatic practices.” Super important, right?

We need movement from that. “I am doing somatics. I am doing nervous system regulating skills and tools and things,” to praxis. To really living in a way that allows us to be deeply connected with ourselves somatically, in and through our bodies, if we are not only to step out a functional freeze, but to live lives aligned with what we truly want for ourselves, for those we love, and the world around us.

Because a somatic praxis, a life based on the worldview in the framework of living deeply connected with your body, or being connected with yourself and others, is your way of being, your steady state, then it's way harder to be mean or short with people. Because a pause gets built in.

That pause we've been talking about, it shows up in your life right before you freak out, or yell or get passive aggressive or claim to be’ just fine, thank you.’ That pause is you being mindfully connected to you and the world.

So, let's look at how to grow that pause. And so, of course, mindfulness, orienting, grounding, this is the place to start as you seek to reestablish a connection with your body and emotions, by remembering how to be with yourself. That's also one of the most important goals of this work, to remember how to be with you. To listen to your own voice, to stay with your own feels, to not buffer numb, or distract yourself when life gets lifey.

In my life, and in Anchored, we do that through a number of modalities. We do breathwork meditation each and every month. Lately, we've been doing shorter sessions, twice a month, that's been super fun. Breathwork meditation can be a beautiful way to experience the breadth and depth of your nervous system responsiveness, from within the safe container of the practice.

Yeah, so translated from those words to a little more plain, when you do breathwork, you're doing this deep, deep breathing, and it can be actually really activating in your nervous system. What's cool, is you can experience that activation on purpose, with agency, right?

So, if it used to be that X-Y-Z would happen, I would get activated, I would get triggered by that, the agency’s outside of you. In breathwork, the agency’s within you.

I'm going to do this practice, and it's going to raise my heart rate. I'm going to feel the activation experience, but I'm going to stay chill. Or I'm going to let myself ride the activation wave, surf it like a little emotion surfer, nervous system state surfer, because I'm choosing it. Because it is supportive of my growth, and widening the window of capacity or tolerance in my nervous system.

So, breathwork is a beautiful way to connect in with ourselves and to start to step out of functional freeze. Daily mindfulness is the praxis part, right? It's the all day, every day… Well, okay, I'm going to put a caveat on ‘all day.’ I actually want to come back to that at the end of our conversation. But it's, the throughout the day connect with self.

Now, this could look like meditation for sure, if that's your thing. And if meditation doesn't work for you check out Episode 103 for some validation and some science. Meditation has been life changing for me, for my family. My wife is a Tibetan Buddhist, so meditation, it's what we do around here.

It's been life changing for the folks in Anchored. We meditate together in there, and it's been outstanding. Mindfulness does not equal meditation. It's the ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we're doing, without being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us.

It's being your own watcher. Mindfulness is a balanced present state, and is a basic human capacity that we do all possess, I promise. Remember, I'm Captain ADHD over here. My brain goes, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing; live tape from my brain. I have cultivated a lot of connection with mindfulness.

Meanwhile, those of us living in functional freeze have generally lost touch with our mindfulness. It's part of the whole deal with functional freeze. But luckily, mindfulness is something that we can reconnect with and can allow and support, to grow in our lives.

Mindfulness offers us moment by moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, feels, bodily sensations and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. It allows us to look at ourselves in the world in a neutral way, so we can step into acceptance of our thoughts and the facts in the world that we can't change currently. Without judging them or getting fixated on changing the unchangeable.

Quick sidenote, acceptance is super different from condoning, I accept that there are neo-Nazis in the world. I'm 10 out of 10, not a fan. I don't condone that. I don't think that's great or even okay, that's horrifying. But I'm not wasting my time and energy, fighting the fact that there are folks who believe in Nazism. That's a fact. It's a lousy fat, but it's a fact. Right?

So, moment to moment mindfulness… That was a pretty extreme example, but I think it's useful one. Acceptance is not condoning, it's accepting. Once you have accepted, you can make change. When you're out of acceptance, you're just fighting reality tooth and nail. So, mindfulness, for me, has helped me to step into a bodily, a somatic, acceptance of what is, that then allows me to take steps to make change when and where I can. Which is pretty friggin’ rad.

Yeah, meditation is one lovely way to cultivate mindfulness. There are a lot of others that aren't seated meditation. Moving meditation like mindful movement, or dancing, doing slow and steady body scans, those can all be super helpful.

Yoga, breathwork, and other movement practices can all support our mindful experience of life when we make the time and space for them. When we set the intention to gently bring our mind back when it naturally wonders, which it 127.43% will do; because, science.

Important note here, for those of us whose bodies were the site of trauma, particularly shock trauma, scanning inside our bodies is often not a good idea. It's a great way to trigger yourself. So, if you know that ‘go inside and feel your body’ doesn't work for you, that's cool, baby, I got you.

What I would recommend, is that you scan the outside of your body from your toes up to the crown of your head. Where your skin makes contact with the air, right? So, you're not feeling into your legs, you're feeling the top of the skin of your legs and feeling what it's like to have your clothing resting on it, have the air resting on it, have the shower touching, right? Stay outside the body, my love.

The more you bring awareness and care, and attention and love, to that liminal space between body and world… Which granted, in a non-dualistic framework there is no space between body and world, but just stay with me for the practicality… It opens up, and it definitely has for me, opens up the possibility of moving into the body being ever safer.

As your body and your nervous system begin to understand and trust that you aren't going to push yourself, or push these processes, you're going to slowly be with them for your own growth. It's pretty rad.

Okay, so through a dedication to coming back into presence in our lives, we can start to engage in mindful moment practices. Like, taking time to pause and breathe when we get a text, or when the phone rings, instead of rushing to answer it. Sort of reacting from habit or our societal training.

In that pause, we can ask ourselves what we actually want to do next. For example, if it's a parent calling, that voice in your head might say, “It’s parent, answer immediately,” when talking to them, explaining what's going on to them, or listening to them monologue is the last thing you want to do. So, you can pause and check in.

So too, in the other direction, you could be having a really terrible, challenging moment. And when “It’s parent calling,” and you can pause to let yourself breathe into, “Oh, what a delight. Oh, my goodness. Oh, how magical Oh, how wonderful that parent is calling, caregiver’s calling, Auntie, abuela, tia, somebody I love heard me through the universe, and is reaching out.”

Whether it's to shut it down to say, “Oop, limit boundary, nope,” or to say, “Oh, wow, gratitude, beautiful,” or the million grays in between, what's really in that pause, that is based in presence and breath, is that we can start to hear ourselves our true desire, instead of the habit and training.

My nerds, the evidence base is clear. I must say it, when we practice mindfulness and build more choicefulness and presence into our days and lives, we not only reduce stress, improve our physical health and cognitive function, we also take a deeper seat as our own watcher; Episode 2. And can gain such a beautiful insight and awareness into who we really are by observing our own minds.

Mindfulness meditation gives us a time in our lives, and not just mindfulness meditation, but mindfully holding a cup of tea, mindfully walking to the loo, mindfully eating a cracker, gives us a time in our lives when we can suspend judgment. Can unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of our mind. Can approach our experience of life with warmth and kindness, not just to ourselves but to others.

Mindfulness looks more than just a practice, like somatic awareness and alignment, it's a way of living; a praxis. It brings awareness and caring into everything we do, and cuts down needless stress as we spend time practicing mindfulness.

Well, I have very much found myself feeling kinder, calmer, more patient, more likely to make a joke instead of getting annoyed. I went to the supermarket today and I remembered the cashier’s name, Miss Paula; she's fantastic; because I was aware and present the last time we talked. She's also a Leo. This magical, little, short but important, community-based conversation where we are connecting as people. That is so much more available to me when I'm mindful.

So, let's talk about the “watcher” part of it all. One of the biggest things I hear from folks who are considering joining Anchored, my six-month program to reconnect somatically with ourselves and to overcome our codependent, perfectionist and people-pleasing habits, is that they're scared of exactly what they will find when they step into mindfulness.

I get it, especially if you've been hiding from yourself. The thought of looking at you right in the snout can be intimidating or scary or worrisome. “What if I don't like myself,” is a worry I hear often. “What if I hear that I need to leave my marriage or job or whatever,” is also a common concern.

Listen, come on. I get it that that is scary, for sure. I also want to say this, from over here I find it way scarier to think that I could have gone through my whole life without meeting myself in a real way. Without learning exactly who I am and what I really want. That I could have gone through the rest of what I hope will be a very long and healthy life chained to an abusive spouse, or in a career that was killing me. Unable to connect with my ability to liberate myself.

Stuck settling for and tolerating a life that, quite frankly, was not great to be in. But it looked really shiny on the outside, right? That's the rub. That's the bind. I find it way scarier to think of everything I tolerated and put up with from my functional freeze, and that I could have stayed in that. Yeah, it was a whole friggin’ thing to get out of it. It was not easy, but then I couldn't be happier.

Sure, maybe you're like, “Yeah, but my situation is wicked different.” I mean, it probably is. I'll just ask you this, I'm curious what you're tolerating. What systems in your life you're maintaining out of inertia, a lack of mindfulness? What roles you are playing without even realizing?

What I'm saying here, is that you might, darling love, have the capacity to wake up in your life. To start to really see the causes and conditions of your suffering. To see the proverbial forest, and also all of those glorious trees in all their glorious glory. By cultivating mindfulness, presence, awareness, intentionality, new world, new possibilities, new outcomes open up in your life.

Sure, you may face limitations in your external world, many a human doth. Still, you can reclaim your connection to the poetry of being, to the complex beauty of your inner world, your thoughts and feels, your experience of yourself and the world around you.

You can choose new thoughts, new stories, new narratives for yourself and your life using the thought work protocol; which if you're new to it, it's detailed now a dozen times, in a dozen shows here. You can find it; I believe in you.

You can expand the capacity you have in your nervous system to show up, and to experience a Technicolor life, which is pretty darn spectacular I’ll say, especially coming from the black and white and gray tones of functional freeze.

So, you get to choose. Understanding that, as the old saying goes, our nervous system will attempt to choose a familiar hell versus an unfamiliar heaven. Now, I added “attempt” here, because the nervous system always… I mean, it’s path of least resistance. It's like osmosis, right? Water will always run high to low, right? We can talk about high and low pressure gradients. Wow, I'm nerding.

But our nervous system will always choose what's familiar, even if that familiar sucks, right? Our nervous system will always try to choose the old neural groove, because it hasn't killed you yet. Why eat a new kind of berry on the savanna of evolution? It might murder you. You don't know, yet.

And so, I added the word “attempt” here, because I strongly and firmly believe, and have not insignificant evidence to back up, that we have the capacity to intervene on our own behalf and improve our lives dramatically. To show up for ourselves in new ways, and to hold our own hand, to be our own BFFs when things get scary, because that's how we grow.

This is how we step back into our power, by taking the teeniest, tiniest of kitten steps. Remember, we take kitten steps towards change because baby steps are enormous, and I'm not having it. So, we take kitten steps towards change.

We use tools like minimum baseline thinking; Episode 78. We studied the science behind feeling stuck; Episode 81. We think about living with intention; Episode 84. And we cultivate mindfulness of mind, body, breath, habit, spirit, thought patterns. Yes, we are straying quite a bit through the Buddhist Four Foundations of Mindfulness, for sure.

We cultivate mindfulness for the times and places and peoples who activate the urge within us to check out, the habit of going blank, of crumbling, dissociating, leaving presence. So, we can start to map it. We can start to see, “Ah, when I am with that relative and the topic of that thing comes up, I leave me. Oh, when I'm with that friend group and the topic of what llamas and alpacas comes, I shut down.”

So, we can start to map it, we can start to understand, we can start to bring awareness and mindfulness to it, so we can have our own backs in a new way. We can also bring mindfulness to the relationships or moments where we go nuclear, into full-on sympathetic fight-or-flight. And with that, the moments that lead our nervous system, like we were saying, down the well-worn groove of functional freeze.

It's only once we have that mindfulness that we can begin to make change. And true, embodied, mindfulness and presence are also the greatest agent of change. Awareness is, in and of itself, deeply healing. It awakens us to what we are doing on autopilot, which, my darling, tender ravioli, sparks a change by definition. Noticing is, in fact, different than not noticing, right?

From there we have so many choices we can make to support ourselves in living life differently. My beauty, there are so many things that you can do to help your nervous system to come back from functional freeze: Yoga, dancing, journaling, movement, cultivating self-compassion.

Building your social network; supporting yourself with a supportive community that understands and respects your journey. Which, by the way, is why I switched from doing one-on-one coaching to groups. Building that interdependence is profoundly healing to the nervous system, and helps us to come out of functional freeze.

Just being part of a group creates a sense of belonging, a safer space for expression, and to work it all out, and build a support network that can help us to stay connected to others when things feel lousy. Social support is also vital for healing the social engagement system in our nervous system, that gets thrown off by the circumstances that led us to live in functional freeze in the first place.

Grounding can help us anchor back into the present moment, time and place, by diverting attention back to the now, away from intrusive thoughts, memories, future tripping, time traveling, or flashbacks from the numbness of functional freeze. Anything that activates the prefrontal cortex can help us ground, because it brings us back from limbic system control; Episode 203.

Doing things like reciting a poem, playing a memory game, describing your surroundings in detail, and a practice known as “orienting” can help us come back to the here and now. Sidenote, if you go to, there's a toolbar at the top of the page, click it, put your info in, and you can get my orienting exercises for free; because I love you.

Other ways to ground include anything that drops you back into your body, or if it's a safe environment, right around your body. Things that are so simple. Watch little kids, they do this just on their own. They haven't had it socialized out of them. Stomping your feet, clapping your hands, touching objects… I was about to say your fur… like a pet’s fur, your hair, your sweater, your pants, the desk, the keyboard.

What we're doing is really grounding ourselves into the here and now. I am wearing pants; they have a texture. This is a keyboard; it is hard. Hugging yourself, putting a hand on your heart. Anything that reminds you to connect into the here and now helps your nervous system to orient. Practices like Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, dance, and other movement meditation are all important part of a long-term strategy for coming out of functional freeze.

These practices connect the mind and body, and allow the mind to quiet and focus on balance, posture, slow deliberate movements, deep breathing and meditation. Or if you're like me, and your meditative somatic dance practice largely revolves around Gloria Estefan, Paula Abdul… man, Sussudio, I am down with that.

Allowing yourself to just be free and silly, and not think but just groove? Magical. What's extra super-duper magical is that all of these things are free, and you can do them on your own. Though, I do strongly encourage community connection. If you feel stuck, working with a professional, therapist, or coaches like me, trained in modalities like Somatic Experiencing can be so helpful.

There are other modalities like, Internal Family Systems, EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, to name just a few of the many, many, many that are out there, can be helpful as well. Though I'm partial to Somatic Experiencing, for sure, because it's been amazing in my life and my clients.

I could go on about this for ever. I'm realizing, and frankly, when you think about it, this coming out of functional freeze is the cornerstone of everything that I do, all of my work; all my coaching work, and the Functional Medicine work I did for years, too. I was thinking about it differently, but functional freeze and the healing of functional freeze is true, root cause medicine.

So, my love, coming out of functional freeze is one of the hardest and easiest things I've done. It took years of time at task, practicing listening to myself, honoring and validating myself, connecting with beloved community that had my back and truly wanted the best for me, and I promise, those people are out there. I didn't think they were and I found them.

Slowly finding my way back into my body through walking, running, dancing, yoga, working out and lifting weights, journaling, and giving my mind somewhere to let it out. Lots of crying. For me, lots of trauma therapy, and functional medicine to heal my gut to reduce inflammation, to help balance my neurotransmitters and stress hormones, lots of breath work.

It took all of that, and it also to took just one moment of courage, tenacity, determination, where I looked at myself in the mirror, face streaked with tears. Oh, God, there were some rough years there. Years where there really wasn't a day that I didn't sob.

I remember looking at myself in the mirror of the tiny, tiny bathroom in my fifth floor, walk-up apartment in Brooklyn. There was this voice that came out of the depths. I was looking in the mirror and the voice said, “You deserve better than this. You deserve a life you love.”

I decided that I was done tolerating anything that wasn't what I truly wanted in my life, and that I was going to make the changes that seemed so scary. Because, frankly, why not? I was done self-abandoning. So, I started during this painful, challenging and vital work.

I keep talking about my own experiences because when I was doing this work, I didn't know anyone doing it. I didn't have models of what was possible then. I hope, that by sharing my story I can give you the encouragement, support, love and care that can bolster you as you do this vital work of reclaiming your one and only human life back from functional freeze.

It was a long road; from the day I made that decision until I made the changes that radically changed everything. It was like a year. And it had been years of doing this work.

So, my love, patience, compassion, gentleness, curiosity, care, build your community, support yourself. Ask for support. And keep reminding yourself that you are worth it, and you deserve it. Because, of course you do. You are inherently worthy of love and care. You were born, and that fact is enough to say that you're worthy of all good things. This, I sure do know to be true.

Thanks for listening, my love. Let’s do what we do. A gentle hand on your heart, should you feel so moved. And remember, you are safe. You are held. You are loved. And, when one of us heals, we help heal the world. Be well, my beauty. I’ll talk to you soon.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Feminist Wellness. If you want to learn more all about somatics, what the heck that word means, and why it matters for your life, head on over to for a free webinar all about it. Have a beautiful day my darling and I'll see you next week. Ciao.

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