Sometimes the pressures of existing can begin to weigh heavily on us and we start to consider that we may need to ask for a little help from our loved ones. Maybe it’s because we have a lot on our plate just by nature of who we are and the world we live in. Other times we are those people that are seemingly so full of strength and energy to those who need a helping hand, so much so that they don’t hesitate to ask when they need support. Frequently though, it feels like I am perpetually and simultaneously in both states of existence; always overwhelmed by the needs of others and constantly considering asking for help in managing my own needs because of it. I’ve come to realise that I have a complicated relationship with needing, being needed, and asking for help. I wonder often whether I use helping others to distract myself from helping myself. Then I feel bad about asking for support because I might not have had to, were I putting my own oxygen mask on first. Maybe this is ok, though. Realistically, we all go through times when we have the energy to spare for the needs of others and times when we need help coping ourselves.
We’re now well into year three of a pandemic that has vastly changed our lives in many obvious but also many subtle ways. The ways in which we all interact with each other have been strained and altered. Physical touch in a greeting has become a bit of an awkward dance of managing people’s comfort levels. At least, dramatically more so than it was before all this. Being isolated at home has become the default for many, making connecting in the real world all the more challenging and exhausting. Social landscapes have changed: two years away from consistent partying has meant that many of your friends have taken the opportunity to leave that part of their lives behind. Maybe many others spent the past two years getting “too” wrapped up in their substance use (something we each get to define for ourselves, of course) during a time when it felt like the “rules” had changed or were no longer applicable. Perhaps you are one of these two kinds of people, or perhaps somehow you are both. Either way, the nature of being there for each other has changed as well. Continue reading
What is something that you know that you think the world needs more knowledge of?
For me it is BREATHWORK. Breathing… everyday breath.
Seems silly? Yes. But also, the work of our breath is so important and sometimes we forget to just catch our breath.
When going through a stressful day, we need to calm ourselves down with breathing. When anxiety begins to rise, we need to focus on our breathing. If we feel trapped, we need to lengthen our breathing.
Breathing is a part of our everyday living, but the way we use techniques actually can help us better our mental health, but also depending on the length of breath you can change your energy from calm to awake or vice versa.
Our nervous system is made up of two factors: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Our SNS is involved with excitement, flight, fight or freeze. Whereas our PNS is calm, relax, rest and digest.
While using the breathwork system and focusing within our breath we are able to create either more energy, relaxation or just simple balance.
You want to keep it simple. Box breathing is a great technique to come back to the present moment. This is where you imagine there are 4 points (like a box). You’d breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4 and hold for 4, then repeat. You would repeat this until you have come back to center and a stillness wave.
When learning how to regulate our nervous system, we are developing a connection between our mind and body.
When using drugs, we sometimes have outer body experiences. This may be great for some, but others may not enjoy. It is keen to remember the power of breathing to bring us back to our center. If feeling overwhelmed, use the box breathing technique. Take longer breaths to calm your nervous system.
If you are out and trying a sober night but need energy, quicker breaths will form a more upbeat rhythm to keeping us awake.
We use our breath to survive.
Breathe In. Breathe Out.
By: Nicole N, a Trip! Peer
In this second part of our series on ADHD and substance use (read Part 1 here), we will be discussing the neurological aspects of ADHD. Harm reduction exists in many facets of life, and can take on many forms. Here at Trip! Project, one of the ways we practice harm reduction is through the spreading of knowledge and awareness of various substances, and phenomena related to taking/using these substances. The idea behind this is that knowledge is power! Having an awareness and understanding of the substances we take and the ways in which they interact with our brains is one way to make more informed and hopefully safer choices when it comes to substance use. The same can be said about our own brain chemistry and structure! Knowing how or why we experience the things we do can help us make informed choices and take better care of our brains.
This next installment aims to share some of the neurological aspects of ADHD to inform not only why those of us with ADHD gravitate towards the substances we do, but also to undo some of the shame and stigma associated with those habits. Some of these habits are wired into us on a neurological level! That’s not to say we have no control over our decisions or choices. Understanding why we make certain choices can go a long way in overcoming the shame many of us feel around our actions and impulses. Sometimes we all need a little reminder not to stigmatise the way that different brains operate, and to remember that trying to make changes to your mental wiring (if that’s what you want for yourself) can be incredibly challenging! So, with that, we hope to share some info on what specifically is happening on a neurological level when it comes to the ADHD experience.
Love Thyself. Self-Love. What does that mean to you? People sometimes think of it as selfishness, being self-absorbed, but we think of it more like self-compassion and alongside self-care. Have you ever felt distraught when hearing the words “You just have to love yourself a little more”? If only it were that simple.
(Image from VIM Fitness)
The food we put into our body is what fuels the way we feel, look and even think.
Food has many nutrients that are either beneficial or may cause negative effects.
When it comes to mindful eating, we are being aware of what is going into our body and giving thanks to everything we eat.
Did you know, eating before using substances can help your time go a lot better? Your body needs to be fueled especially when you eat a substance, it is absorbed through the lining of the stomach and small intestine. If this is empty, this is when acid reflux or gut inflammation can form. Some drugs can make you nauseous, but it’s usually best not to be on an empty stomach.
Being mindful of what is entering your body is also a way of self-care, as you are taking the time to assess, acknowledge what is going into your stomach and body and becoming aware of what feels good to and for you.
Everyone has differences when it comes to food and our bodies. Some folks have bowel issues, eating disorders, gluten intolerances, allergies and more.
What food groups work for some, may not work for others. This is just the beginning to figuring out what feels good for you.
**It is important to know that this is not about feeling guilt or shame about eating any foods, including those that make us feel happy or give us comfort, eating past feeling full, or eating foods that don’t make us feel good – it is strictly about awareness and noticing what is. We are all human and deserve all food groups, including those that give us comfort. ** Continue reading