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My dogs were lost

My dogs were lost

| Dr. JJ Pursell

My dogs were lost. I came home and they were just gone. I didn’t know how they got out and I had no idea where they were. Eventually we were lucky, and someone found them in their backyard, but it was 8 hours of high stress and anxiety.


It took all of us, my family, a lot to calm down to get to sleep that night. I ended up making two cups of chamomile/lavender tea but my brain was racing as I researched dog tracking collars so as to never have to go through this again.

We tend to be natural risers in the morning but the next day, none of us got up. I felt exhausted. My kids could feel it too. We all had major anxiety and adrenaline let down and I had to give pause to consider what our bodies as well as our mental health had gone through the day before.

While trying to hold it all together, staying positive for my kids, feeding them dinner, answering texts and social media messages about sightings or tips on what to do to find my dogs, thinking and trying not to think about them out there in the woods all night my cortisol had been going through the roof. Climbing steadily with the stress over the course of 8 hours. Climbing at a time of day when it should naturally be descending as the sun moves to setting and into night.

This experience made me think about how we all handle stress each and every day, but also what happens when a big stressor comes out of nowhere and how it might affect us both physically and mentally. It’s kind of like getting a cold while on vacation after the big push at work or school. With the holidays coming up we will have plenty of stressors that we are familiar with and know how to handle. They create little bumps of cortisol to get the job done and maneuver through recognized challenges that might be associated with such. But it is the out of the blue bigger triggers that I worry about. If we are already experiencing a higher than normal stress load, regulating and compensating the extra burden, what do we have left for something we didn’t expect?

For me and my family I realized that if I got up and pushed through the Monday morning routine after going through this experience, we would most likely be extremely inefficient at school and work, catch a cold, have our emotions catch up with us or something else. We all needed to recuperate from the extreme stress. I realized sitting around, taking Rescue Remedy, drinking nervine teas and eating well might sound indulgent to you, but to me that is exactly what self care is. I encourage you to monitor your own stressors this holiday season. Where are you holding your breath, revving up, bracing against or in survival mode? If you have a particularly intense experience, give yourself some time to acknowledge it and support the recalibration of both your body and mind.

Consider the following tips:

  • Journal a few minutes a day to check in with yourself or have 5 minute check in’s with a friend, child or partner
  • Drink a restorative nervine tonic tea daily
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Keep your immune system strong by eating right and herbal immune tonics

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