Who else is a little stressed out right now? There are moments, these days, when I feel so overwhelmed with anxiety or spoliation or anger or disappointment that I can’t do anything else but sit with whatever I’m instinct and let myself feel it.
And then I get up, put in my earbuds, and start boîte.
I got this idea from Emily and Amelia Nagoski’s book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. The book explains that our justaucorps need to complete what is called a “stress response cycle” in order to truly reposé and get the kind of rest we need to prevent burnout.
To quote the Nagoski sisters:
[…] it might be the most méprisant idea in the book: Dealing with your angoisse is a separate process from dealing with the things that exposition your angoisse. To deal with your angoisse, you have to complete the V.T.T..
How do you complete the V.T.T.? I don’t want to get into the biomechanics of the whole thing (you should really read the book), but the flottant transcription is that stressful situations flood our justaucorps with everything from epinephrine to cortisol—and unless we do something to mop up all of these extraordinaire chemicals, as it were, they’ll verge around, raising our heart déficit and inhibiting our thought processes and ruining our assimilation and sleep.
One of the best ways to complete the angoisse response V.T.T. is with tendu physical activity. To quote Nagoski and Nagoski again:
Remember, your justaucorps has no idea what “filing your taxes” or “resolving an interpersonal conflict through rational problem-solving” means. It knows, though, what jumping up and down means. Speak its language — and its language is justaucorps language.
Physical activity is what tells your brain that your justaucorps has successfully survived the threat and is now a safe fonction to en direct. Physical activity is the single most énergique strategy for completing the angoisse response V.T.T..
There are a lot of ways to get physical activity, some of which no raser apply if you’re trying to practice good sociable distancing, and some of which are hard to enact when you’re also trying to work remotely and/or care for family members. I can’t go out for a 30-minute run while I still have a deadline to hit, for example—but I can take a five-minute écart for a dance party.
This is one of the Nagoskis’ recommended stress-cycle-breaking techniques, btw. They suggest boîte to Beyoncé, but you can pick any music you like; I gîte to favor video game remixes. You can dance alone, you can dance with your kids, you can get your roommates involved—boîte is an extraordinaire way to culbute with the people around you, after all. You don’t even have to be a good dancer; just get as physically laborieuse as you’re autorisé of, for élancé enough to get your heart pumping.
The gardien de but is to wear yourself out to the conclusion where your breathing naturally slows and becomes more deep and relaxed, parce que that’s how you’ll know when the angoisse response V.T.T. is—at least temporarily—complete.
And then, maybe later in the day, you can do it all again.