Take a Deep Breath with the LCRCcsudhbulletin April 7, 2021 0 COMMENTS
By Benny Morales, Staff Reporter
With finals ensuing and graduation around the corner, stress levels are at an all time high. To combat burnout and help ease anxiety, the Latinx Cultural Resource Center hosted a virtual event, Racial Justice & Healing Series: “Burnout & Decolonized Wellness Practices,” on April 22. The LCRC partnered with Roots of LA, a wellness center that helps heal Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities by providing culturally traditional and holistic mental health and wellness services. The practices that were taught have made me become at ease with my stress and this event taught me ways to cope when feeling overwhelmed.
The LCRC’s program director Rony Castellanos Raymundo, alongside student leaders Janneth Najera and Grecia Gonzalez Guzman, put the event together in hopes of making those going through hard times feel safe and relaxed from their complications. Founder of Roots of LA, Liliana Muñoz, and co-founder, Adriana Medrano, gave insight into struggles that are out of our control and ways to settle down, take a step back, and gather ourselves together again.
When going into the event, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought this was just going to be another event that I would not have any interest in. But I was so wrong.
Muñoz and Medrano started the event by discussing what “burnout” feels like. I never thought of myself as someone who felt burned out throughout the day, but I quickly realized that I knew very little about my mental health. Burnout can refer to a collection of different physical, emotional, and mental reactions that occur during complicated situations. This can be fatigue, sleeplessness, depression, headaches, stomach aches, weight loss or gain, irritability, self-criticism, and feeling helpless.
One of the exercises that made me so relaxed, to the point of almost falling asleep, was the grounding exercise. Muñoz calmly asked everyone to close their eyes and take a deep breath. Although I was a little uneasy and reluctant, I closed my eyes. Muñoz began to speak in a soft meditative voice to breathe in, hold, and release. We did that about five times while firmly holding our hands to the side of our heads and it was extremely relaxing.
With our eyes still closed, Muñoz asked us to repeat positive affirmations out loud. Not once this year have I been this calm and relaxed during an event. The affirmations gave me self-confidence and were a reminder that I am worthy and can do anything I set my mind to. I found it extremely helpful and reassuring, especially this late in the semester.
Once we were told to open our eyes, it felt as if a weight was lifted off my shoulders from all the stress I was holding on to. I didn’t realize a simple breathing exercise would be able to help me see things differently.
As the event continued, Medrano talked about the layers of systemic, interpersonal, and personal struggles. No two people have the same upbringing, so no one truly knows what anyone is going through.
Systemic struggles include microaggression, poverty, safe affordable housing, and institutionalized racism. Interpersonal issues can include abusive and toxic relationships, poor supportive systems and relationships. And finally, personal hurdles can include a history of trauma, poor boundaries, perfectionism, and internalized oppression.
In order to combat and overcome these issues, somatic healing was introduced. Somatic healing is a body-orientated approach to heal trauma and chronic stress. Muñoz talked about how it was helpful to cry, take a necessary stress bath, and do breathing exercises. These are somatic healing practices and have the potential of improving your day and your mood.
I am so thankful that I went to this event because it gave me insight into who I am as a person as well as how I can relieve stress during hard times. I will forever remember this event and the amount of relaxation it brought me. Rony said he hopes this event will be held again next fall and if that’s the case, I would highly recommend everyone giving it a shot. You might find some peace in stressful times, and right now we could all use a little relief.