I’m back with the third edition of the Empowered Women Series. Each month, I will feature one of these women through my new “The Empowered” series where they will share their brilliance in their field. Today, I am honored and excited to have Bethany Hauch from Triangle Acupuncture sharing three stress management tips to follow during COVID-19. I’ve been seeing Bethany for the past year for acupuncture and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and having her advice and perspective on a variety of life experiences. She is a calming presence in my life and I knew she’d be the perfect person for this post! Be sure to check out Bethany’s bio at the end of the post, and schedule an appointment with her once Triangle Acupuncture is back up and running!
The Empowered Women Series: Three Stress Management Tips with Bethany Hauch
As an acupuncturist and holistic medicine practitioner, I have my list of fallback strategies and techniques for dealing with the stressors of day to day life. Acupuncture (of course), herbal medicine, massage, chiropractic care, meditation, exercise, aromatherapy are all in my arsenal. In normal situations, I may have to pull out a few to get me through a tough stretch. A few weeks of regular acupuncture, daily yoga and meditation, for example, usually does the trick for calming, grounding, and resetting.
With recent events, we have all been thrown for a loop, including me. And I’m finding that my standard techniques are not available due to quarantine, or not enough due to an overabundance of worry or an underabundance of time as I’m suddenly tasked with full time momming and homeschooling for the foreseeable future, all while wondering when my next paycheck may come.
OK, so what to do? It’s taken me about a week to find my flow, to develop a new normal, and find how to ride the wave. Here are three tips for what is working for me.
- Finding a routine – planning out my day, hour to hour, for me and my kids, has been essential. We are all creatures of habit, and having a routine is one key way to minimize the stress comes with a novel situation. Have consistent wake up, bed time, and meal times; schedule exercise, bath/shower, even Netflix time. Having control over something (ie, your personal schedule) reduces some of the stress associated with the lack of control we have over everything else.
- Breathe – my favorite relaxation technique can be done anywhere ; it’s easy, it’s simple, and it’s effective. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a quick way to calm your sympathetic (fight, flight) nervous system and engage your parasympathetic (rest, relax) nervous system. Here’s how to do it. Sit or lie down comfortably. Take 2-3 “normal” deep breaths and empty your lungs. Then inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, and exhale for a count of 8. 4-7-8. Repeat for about 5 rounds. When you are inhaling, try to imagine your ribcage moving outward, like a bellows. This aids in really getting deep breaths – more than traditional belly breathing. For more information of the power of breath and breathing, look up Max Strom on Youtube. He is a wonderful guide for breathwork.
- Get outside – just because we are being asked to isolate and distance ourselves from each other does not mean that we have to stay locked in our houses. I have about the opposite of a “green thumb” when it comes to gardening. Yet, I have found great reward in digging up a couple of garden beds this past week, I have the dirt under my nails and sore muscles to prove it! Most of the time, I even go barefoot to feel the earth under my feet. It’s my grounding. It’s my source of natural vitamin D from the sun on my head. I have NO idea what to put in my yard, it’s actually a current homeschooling activity I have for my 8 year old, but I don’t care. I believe that there is healing power in the earth and soil; and for me, I stress getting my daily allotment of vitamin “N” – nature.
Don’t get me wrong, I also find comfort in mindless shows, good wine/IPAs, and dark chocolate, but I have needed something more – haven’t we all? If you are feeling nagging and growing angst these days, I encourage you to give these techniques a try. Or have a quiet sit for 10 minutes or so ask yourself what it is that you need. This is a unique opportunity we have to go within and, potentially, transform.
Wishing you all good physical, mental, and spiritual health!
About Bethany Hauch
Bethany Hauch, LAc, graduated from the New England School of Acupuncture, the oldest college of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine in the United States. Bethany’s journey toward becoming an acupuncturist began in a somewhat unusual way. During her veterinary medicine days, she was introduced to the power of acupuncture while using it to treat horses. After seeing horses responding so positively to this “alternative” medicine, she decided to try it for her own chronic migraines and was hooked when she experienced a full cure of her condition. Seeing the pathway that had opened up, she decided to take a chance, go back to graduate school and change her profession so that she could use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to help people.
Bethany’s philosophy of care is to establish and build upon a collaborative relationship with each one of her patients. Her primary goal is to provide an open atmosphere in which her patients can explore and embrace what she has to offer as an acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner. She also wants to inspire her patients to improve their health and make positive changes in their lives beyond the treatment room. This means that she often incorporates diet and lifestyle suggestions patients can take home with them; work they can do to complement and prolong treatments provided in the clinic.
In her spare time, Bethany enjoys spending time with her family (especially in the NC mountains), cycling, hiking, reading, and doing nerdy things like crossword and jigsaw puzzles.
Do you have any extra stress management tips? Let me know in a comment below!