EFT – tapping your way through a pandemic, a worldwide movement, and your daily anxieties

As some of you may know, and as many can relate, I have anxiety. For many of us, our anxiety has largely been exacerbated during this time. While my personal situation during this worldwide pandemic has been truly a blessing, and many are far less fortunate than I, there are still aspects of this time that have put me into anxious spiral. In addition, the conversations around and continued learning of racism and the Black Lives Matter movement has added to a lot of the concern, stress, and anxiety. While all of this is extremely important and I by no means intend to take away from or diminish the responsibility of people in doing this work, maintaining mental health practices and decreasing anxiety so we can continue the conversations we need to be having is also necessary.

In order to help others, you must help yourself.

Throughout quarantine, I have significantly increased daily practices in meditation, yoga, and self care, which have aided in significant overall improvements. However, when I feel a particularly crippling wave heading my way, I have started implementing EFT practices and felt wonderful results for my anxieties.

If you haven’t heard of EFT, I believe it can be an extremely helpful technique, especially while we are distanced in so many ways. EFT, or emotional freedom technique, is a tapping technique to help reduce anxiety. It is based on similar principles to acupuncture and the points on your body that can effect your mood, health, wellness, and more. For me, EFT has been especially enjoyable because it is free, personalized, easy, and requires no doctors visit, therapists office, or prescription. I have not found a prescription that suited my needs and am not actively on a therapy routine, and while I am no doctor and not suggesting anyone use EFT to replace the medications and support systems you need, it has been an easy supplement to my daily mental health routine that is simple and anyone can do.

Here are some basic steps below:

  1. Start by identifying, if possible, the root of the anxiety
    • This can be hard, especially for me when I often have generalized anxiety that I struggle to pinpoint or find triggers of.
    • What works best for me is to acknowledge my feelings around the anxiety in the moment, identify any common denominators, and try to use whatever phrase I can come up with to verbalize the problem to myself
    • For example, anxiety can come on for me often times when I have been laying on the couch for several hours at a time, binge watching seemingly mindless tv (Gossip Girl, RHONY, or the like) and comparing myself in countless ways to characters or situations I am seeing. I then often realize these feelings come on because I am perceiving myself as lazy, or wasting time or letting my life slip past me, or I am a failure. I often uncontrollably fear I will not amount to “someone”.
  2. While tapping the side of your hand (karate chop point), repeat to yourself “Even though I have insert problem, I deeply and completely accept myself” three times.
    • Following the example above, the sentence I would repeat to myself would be “Even though I am not where I want to be in life, I deeply and completely accept myself”.
    • For this and all following tapping, I use my middle finger to gently and repeatedly tap. It is neither fast nor slow, but it is an intentional tapping that I am focused on while I repeat my mantra to myself and go through the exercise
  3. Then, tap each of the following zones 7 times in this order:
    • start of the eyebrow
    • outer corner of the eye
    • under eye
    • under nose/above lips
    • center chin
    • start of the collarbone
    • under the arm
    • top of the head
  4. Repeat steps 1-4 until anxiety reduces

I hope you find this technique helpful for you as we all navigate the pandemic, the worldwide movement, and the difficulties we face in our personal lives. Acknowledging my anxiety, sitting with it, facing it, and accepting ourselves in spite of it is the healthiest way for me to heal it more quickly and for longer periods of time.

If you have any questions about EFT or other practices I am implementing in quarantine, please leave a comment below.

Please know you are loved, supported, appreciated, and needed in this world!

where do friendships go to die?

we all know that not every friendship can last forever. like boyfriends, apartments, and hairstyles (thank god), sometimes friends are better for a certain season of life than for the whole ride. but how do we know when that time has come to let a friendship go?

recently, i visited my college campus after 2 years since my last trip west. when i moved a few years ago from seattle to d.c., i had high hopes that i would return within a year. i planned on staying with my college boyfriend after the short stint of long distance and moving back to the west coast with my past friendships and future life goals intact. however, as quickly as my bags were unpacked, my friendships (and relationship) began fading. my boyfriend and i broke up, and i realized seattle was no longer the end game. phone calls and facetimes with college besties turned into snapchats and text messages, until eventually even those were too “difficult” for us to keep up with.

while the distance made an impact on many of my relationships, i had successfully maintained my best friend through it all with checkins, updates, and phone calls over the years. she visited me and we both reached out to each other, knowing that we valued each other more than the inconvenience of reaching out. but with other friends, it wasn’t the same. their efforts were exhausting or annoying to me, or my efforts were falling on deaf ears. had that distance finally proven that we were friends out of convenience, and not actually out of friendship?

in school settings especially, friendships are easy to form. everyone has school in common and are likely in similar stages of life. in college, i joined a sorority where we had sisterhood, classes, and events in common in addition to the fact that we all had similar goals, family structures and ages, and significant other issues we all faced. it is so easy to become friends when everything about the other person and their life, problems, and concerns mirror what you’re going through. complaining about your dead-beat high school boyfriend to your roommate who also is having issues with her long-distance beau is effortless. but as those commonalities start to shift, so does the friendship.

suddenly, it’s harder to talk to that friend about your boyfriend issues, because her fiancé proposed last month. your situation with your parents is now no longer relatable because you live at home, and she lives in a beautiful high-rise apartment on her own. your concerns about work and career growth are seemingly irrelevant when she just received a promotion and a pay raise. it becomes nearly impossible to relate to that person as effortlessly as you did before.

and for me, the jealousy has become a major factor. i don’t want to share with you how frustrating my boyfriend has been because he plays video games with his friends on a sunny saturday after i get the snapchat of your boyfriend making you breakfast in bed. i don’t want to hear you tell me “at least you’re living rent free” when i complain about being 25 and living at home, because you think you wish you could still live at home and save money instead. i don’t want to rain on your promotion parade with my depression about where my career is going and the epic failure i feel i am in relation to my goals. all this comparison does is create a wedge in the friendship that we never had before. no longer are we two girls going through life together – now we are two individuals comparing our lives to one another.

over time and distance, almost all of my college friendships faded, as i had anticipated some would. i have never been one to keep friends around after the season has dried up – in fact, i’m unfortunately known for the cut-and-run when i no longer feel i can rely on you the way i did before. but when i visited seattle again this month, these faded friendships hit me like a bag of bricks. these people who had shaped me so much – been so integral to the woman i became, held me when i cried, told me how valuable of a person i was – no longer even wanted to see me when i was in town for the first time after years. it was like pulling teeth to try and even grab a glass of wine to reminisce the good ole days together when these people had so completely changed and moved on from me. i realized these relationships were over long before i had landed in the city, recognizing that some individuals just hadn’t ever tried. and with others, i hadn’t tried either. i didn’t reach out over the years, keep in touch, or make an effort worthy of people who had been so important to me once before.

the hardest part of it all is that the friendships died so unintentionally. i had every intention of moving back to seattle and being friends with these girls forever. they were to be my bridesmaids, my children’s aunties, my wine and t-ball dates. and even when i decided not to move back, we would’ve had girls trips and reunions in my mind (think: carrie bradshaw wedding-less honeymoon with the girls).

but, not all friendships are meant to live on forever. i may not be a bridesmaid in 15 sister’s weddings, but i will be in at least one. i may not raise my kids with their kids, but i will make friends with fellow parents in my neighborhood. and while i still need to work on my jealousy issues (hello, therapy), i will gladly watch them succeed from afar and know the impact they forever made on me. friendships don’t all have to die a painful death, and there can still be love there – even when that’s all we have in common anymore.