Even though I am healthy and safe in my home, I can feel the chaos amid this pandemic. In my body. Scrambling and scattering my mind. Taking away my schedule and routines. Making me feel even more off than usual. And causing my system to be unregulated. Tense. Stiff. Inflexible. Immobile.
And it’s not just that I’m feeling off, it’s that I don’t have access to my healers. That it’s not even an option to see them. A missing light at the end of the pain tunnel. So I have no choice but to try to heal myself. And I’m left to my own devices.
I can’t get a massage for my TMJ and my bite is off, causing shooting pain through my jaw after each time I chew. My back and my shoulders are clenched so tight my arms are going numb. I can’t seek help for my sciatic nerve pain. Shooting up into my hips and butt and down my leg to my ankle and foot. And I can’t see my occupational therapist after having a fight-or-flight response or dissociating. When my nervous system needs to be regulated the most. So here are the things I’ve been doing to relieve my pain while I don’t have access to my healers: keep my nervous system regulated To help engage my senses to keep my nervous system regulated , I have sensory regulation equipment in every room, and I’ve tried to be more mindful of using it. I have a rocking chair in the living room. A weighted blanket in the bedroom. And a mini trampoline that travels from room to room. It’s amazing how quickly jumping on the trampoline re-regulates my nervous system. And if I add brainwave regulation music and lavender essential oil, I can get there quickly. I also walk outside or run on the treadmill as much as possible. On days that I don’t have the energy to jump, walk or run, I do yoga. Just like other forms of movement, it helps engage my vestibular and proprioceptive senses, allowing me to connect to my interoceptive sense — the sense that connects me to my body. Telling me when I’m hungry. When I’m tired. When I’m angry. I also make sure to engage my senses at all times to help me stay present. I light a scented candle while I’m working, during my bath and after dinner. I use heated rice packs on my shoulders. I drink cold water and hot tea. I listen to music. I use lavender essential oil on my wrists and under my nose. In addition to using essential oils to help regulate my senses, they also help my chronic pain. I’ve been using myrrh essential oil to unlock my jaw. Something my mom taught me to do. For she also suffers from TMJ. It’s a bit tricky to use, but it’s the only thing that works when I can’t see my massage therapist. First, you have to soak the bottle in hot water so the myrrh softens enough to spread. I use chopsticks to get it out of the bottle and to spread it on my jawline. Let it sit for 20-40 minutes. Then wipe it off with oil. I use coconut oil on a paper towel and it takes it right off. In a pinch, I use Young Living’s Aroma Siez essential oil. It stops my jaw from clenching shut. Adding peppermint and lavender essential oils to my bath has helped relieve my nerve pain. Also, I read that helichrysum essential oil helps relieve sciatic nerve pain, so I tried it and it actually worked. Soaking in magnesium (Epsom salt) baths also helps relieve nerve pain. It does wonders for my muscles too. I’ve been doing all sorts of massages on myself to help relieve my muscle pain and tension. I ordered a foam roller online to help roll out my muscles. It’s nothing like the massage I’m used to getting, which prevents my muscles from tensing up so much that my limbs fall asleep, but it’s something. Being in nature is the most healing, I find, so I try to at least let fresh air in every day if I’m unable to get outside. I also use medical marijuana for not only my chronic pain, but also for my anxiety and depression. I’m so thankful for legal access to this miracle drug. Overall, I’m realizing the most important part of self-healing is learning to meet yourself where you’re at. If you’re tired, rest. If you’re bored, do something productive or creative. If you’re overwhelmed, move. But you can’t access where you’re at if you don’t engage your senses. If you don’t move. If you don’t fight to be present. And for many of us, it means fighting even harder when we don’t have access to our healers. May you all be able to tap into your inner healer and listen to the ways you can guide your own healing. I’m always interested to hear the natural ways people heal, and I’d love to hear about your tips and tricks in the comments below. Read more of my blogs | Visit my website | Like me on Facebook | Follow me on Twitter PTSD, SPD and Chronic Pain: How to Heal When You Don’t Have Access to Your Healers