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.
I assume this description sounds familiar to you. We all experience people or situations that take everything out of us. Events that catch us at our most vulnerable and break us down farther than we anticipate.
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 contentment.
Like in the Harry Potter books and films, each person has 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 can be useful for different people in different ways.
What I propose is that YOU explore yours.
What can save you from falling into a bad mood? Who can make you laugh when you feel like you might burst out into tears at any second? Where can you go where you feel instant calm the second you step into that space? What song can give you a boost, validate your feelings, or offer some nostalgic joy?
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:
- 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 and/or circumstances.