Finding Your Patronus: Fighting Exhaustion, Anxiety, and Stress
To start, if you do not understand the Harry Potter reference to a patronus, let me give you a definition – it will be vital to understand the metaphor used in this blog.
A patronus is something that one can use in order to protect or shield oneself from things that are draining, fear and anxiety provoking, and overall atrocious (i.e. dementors in the HP books).
These draining and dreadful things can be people or scenarios – but their main aim always seems to be the same – to exhaust one of their happiness, clarity, and will to operate constructively and effectively.
This description, I assume, will sound familiar to you. We all experience that one person or situation that takes everything out of us. That one occasion that also seems to catch us at our most vulnerable and breaks us down farther than we anticipate.
There is a diverse spectrum of events that are experienced different by every individual. So how do we combat these unavoidable or unforeseen feelings of unease, fatigue, and despair? We find our patronus. Something we can project, something we can utilize to simulate calmness, protection, and hopefully – contentment.
Like in the Harry Potter books and films, each person will have a unique way of producing this effect. It may be a hot bath, a comforting friend, a yoga posture, a meditation spot, a garden walk, a playlist, or a scent. There are multiple combinations that would be useful for different people in different ways.
What I propose is that YOU explore yours.
What can pull you out of a funk? What can save you from falling to the dark pit of a bad mood? What could offer comfort in a time of anxiousness? Who can make you laugh when you feel like you might burst out into buckets of tear at any second? Who can watch you cry buckets of tears and make you laugh simultaneously? Where can you go where an instant calm washes over you the second you step into that space? What song can you put on that gives you a boost, validates your feels, or offers some nostalgic joy?
These questions may seem trivial, but I promise they are of the upmost use when you feel stuck. We cannot always prepare for a bad day, a bad mood, or an unfortunate circumstance. But we can prepare a list of things to help us confront and combat these dementoresque scenarios. A patronus tool belt if you will.
A list of possible patronus tools:
- A nearby park/or garden (nature heals, people!)
- An oldies but goodies playlist
- Your favorite lotion, candle, or incense scent (scent is the most influential of the 5 senses of the brains memory functions)
- A best friend, partner, parent, or sibling
- A funny YouTube clip
- A stand – up act that never gets old
- A “feels” playlist (ballads, Adele, Sam Smith, etc.)
- Yoga! (some poses are used to instantly lessen feelings of anxiety, fear, and sadness)
- Meditation – find a quiet space and catch some Zen (flute & drum music recommended)
- Tactile products – Play-Doh, rice, sand, putty, water, soft blanket or carpet – anything to allow you to focus on your touch sense can be self- soothing
- A hot bath or shower – wash the day away (calming scented soaps optional)
- A cup of hot tea – chamomile, jasmine, and lavender are of the calming variety
- Take a run or a walk on a trail or through your neighborhood.
- Play with your pet! Pets are the best listeners.
- CRY IT OUT. If crying helps you release – don’t be afraid to let those tears flow.
There are a many more options out there that might be right for you! I encourage you to explore what you can use as patronus. You might need different tools for different emotions, intensities or circumstances.