Just over a week ago, while returning home from taking my dog for her quarterly bath and groom, my car hit a patch of black ice, careened across the road, over a ditch and thwacked into the mountainside. My car is a write-off but, luckily, I am not. My seat belt kept me firmly in place and prevented me from hitting the steering wheel or going through the windscreen.
In my last blog, written when I was into the fourth day of recovery, I explained some of the stress responses I had experienced up until then and what I was doing to help myself.
I’m fortunate, because for many years I’ve specialized in stress relief and mastery. Instead of falling into fear or panic, I’ve been able to separate stress from injury. I feel empowered as I take steps to recognize and relieve my own stress and so ease the healing process.
Now, just over seven days from the accident, I share more insights.
Aches: physical stress. I have been observing the shifts – one ache lessens and disappears and then another ache appears. I imagine bruised muscles gradually healing layer by layer until they’re all smooth and strong again.
Digestion and appetite: stress response. The stress response can cause diarrhea or constipation – so that all energy is available for fight or flight, rather than used on digestion. I completely lost my appetite and only ate ¼ piece of wholegrain bread with every pill, and I drank water when I remembered. To get my system working again I: walked around my home for 10-15 minutes twice a day, drank more water; juiced carrots, celery, lemon and cucumber; ate raw apples; had probiotics.
Emotional: stress response. A couple of times I’ve found myself becoming tearful – frustration or discomfort. Once when I looked at some recent photos I’d taken on walks on the mountain with my dog, in the snow and sunshine when I was feeling flexible, fit and happy (perhaps too much of a contrast to how I was feeling at that moment), but it was a good reminder of where I plan to be again very soon. Another time I was trying to figure out how to get down the mountain, hire a car and collect my dog. Simple things to organize – overwhelming because it was too soon.
Energy: stress compass. I’m using my energy levels as a guide to care for myself – when to do and when to relax.
Pain: physical stress. This is lessening to occasional aches or stabs of pain when I am feeling so comfortable that I forget to take care.
Relaxing baths: I’m a fan of hot tubs and, as I began to feel better, I increased the temperature of my soothing soak to fairly hot. This was a big mistake! Afterwards everything ached and I had to ice away the heat!
Sense of smell: stress response. Initially our sense of smell is heightened under stress and then dulled when stress is chronic. I realized mine had been affected when cleaning my cat’s litter tray!
Swelling and bruising: physical stress. The swelling is going down. The multi-coloured bruises are dull, fading and remind me to take care.
Tension: stress response. A few times I’ve noticed that my shoulders have become raised close to my ears, my body tight, aching and unbalanced and I recognized that I needed to ease my tension. I’ve either soaked or slept to become relaxed and comfortable again. If I was away from home, I’d breathe gently and spend 10 minutes doing a full body relaxation.
When I’m not working, reading or pottering, from the warmth and comfort of my home, I’ve been enjoying the squirrels and blue jays as they take turns at the feeder, watch the sky constantly changing and the snow falling – and reflect. I’m taking this opportunity to ponder some balancing changes in the months ahead. The first one is to include time to draw and paint.
What balancing changes will you include in the year ahead?
Wishing you a very happy 2018!