Originally posted here by , Executive Director of  IMPACT Bay Area, an AFG member organization.

So this isn’t exactly the scary scenario we were preparing you for in your IMPACT class. This pandemic is not wearing a big duct tape helmet (though maybe we’d be better off if it had been!) but the feelings of anxiety or fear and stress are not that different.

One of the very first things we talk about in class is managing your adrenaline. Adrenaline can make us freeze in response to a stressor, but it’s also the thing can give people super strength when needed. Our current situation could continue for a while, so managing adrenaline is also really important for your long-term health. A really great tool that helps many people manage adrenaline is of course, breathing.

In scary situations we often hold our breath or breathe more quickly or shallowly. In our classes, we talk about using your voice (your most important self-defense tool) to help you keep breathing. If you’re home alone and yelling “NO!” will make you feel good, go for it. But you can also use your voice to reach out and “call help” – call or video chat people who are supportive. The internet is full of tools to help you with mindful breathing practices too, so maybe give those a try!

Movement can also be a helpful tool for some people to release stress. One of the reasons many people have used IMPACT in their trauma healing processes is that it is an opportunity to feel anything from strength, agency, or freedom in our bodies. You can certainly practice IMPACT skills at home (in the air, full-force, with voice) but you can also dance, practice yoga, do push ups, whatever feels good in your body!

Another important IMPACT skill for our times is Situational Awareness – make sure to monitor your own physical and emotional responses to any of these techniques that you are trying. Is it working? How is it making your body feel? How is your breathing and heart rate? Are you glued to the news or social media? How is that making you feel and do you need to set a boundary? Whatever you choose to try, don’t be afraid to reassess and change course if it’s not working.

One more applicable lesson from our IMPACT classes is that our emotions can make us strong. Once you recognize and name your emotions, you can try to channel them into a powerful force for good – whatever good means for you. It could be enthusiastically and energetically diving in to taking good care of yourself and your family, or it could be reaching beyond and finding ways to be helpful to others.

We miss you all and hope to be returning to offering public classes soon, but in the meantime, let us know what skills you think are helpful and if you have ideas about what resources we can offer to our community. Please be safe and well.

 

Yours in thorough handwashing,

The IMPACT Bay Area Team

 

PS. If you are looking for a safe virtual social events, you can still sign up for the IMPACT book club here.

PPS. For updates on when we will be resuming public classes, CLICK HERE for classes page.