Do you ever wonder if your stress may be more than just a stressful day? You’re not alone. I’ve had some pretty tough days in news, from emotional breakdowns, to anxiety attacks and dealing with trauma. When I first started dealing with these emotions, it was hard for me to understand what was happening. I tried ignoring it and pushing through to be a “good journalist,” but the emotions, stress and trauma continued layering on each other until one day, my body said enough.
I was in a space where mentally, physically, emotionally, I felt so heavy. My body refused to keep letting me ignore the feelings and finally decided it would have an emotional release. That day, I was covering a political rally at a state fair and luckily my photographer, turned life-long friend, was there to let me know it was ok to not be ok. I cried and cried, but managed to gather myself after a while and made my 4:30 live shots. I knew something had to change.
Thanks to yoga and therapy, I learned tools to recognize early signs something may be off for me. Fast forward 6 years later and now I help other journalists recognize some of the important signs.
First, let’s talk about what trauma is. The Center for Anxiety Disorders defines trauma a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. As you can imagine, trauma can look different for everyone and what may seem large for some, could be small for others and vice-versa.
This summer, I completed a 2 year yoga psychology program that’s taught me so much about the body’s response to emotional scars. Here’s a look at what I learned are some important things to look for:
- Difficulty regulating emotions
- Substance Abuse
- Eating Disorders
- Loss of flexibility in responding to life situations
- Immobility (e.g. the feeling of being “stuck” in daily activity)
- Living in survival mode
- Reenactment of parts of the traumatic experience (i.e. repetition compulsion)
- Avoidance and numbing
Ways to help regulate after trauma:
- Remember, it’s ok to not be ok
- Find a supportive environment: grounding with restorative yoga, walks in nature, cooking
- Practice mindfulness, regulate with STOP meditation
- Pranayama, yoga breathing exercises
- Be kind to yourself
- Take time away from newsroom
It’s ok to not be ok newsies. Follow your instinct and your gut. If something feels off, listen to your body. If the body doesn’t know what it feels, it doesn’t know what it needs.