Life is full of seasons that often leave us feeling overwhelmed or out of balance. During these times even regular “little” daily things can become too much to cope with if we’re not mindful and self-aware about what is going on with us. When life throws a curveball and you need a recharge to get some of that balance back or come back to a less intense emotional point, it helps to have a plan for coping. Here are some strategies to help get you back to zero during chaos, stress, and overwhelm : )
- Get grounded. There are lots of grounding exercises on the internet, but my favorite by far is to spend time in my gardening. In nature things have a predictable pattern and a feeling of being solid, which is comforting during times of upheaval. Gardening also invokes so many of our senses that it helps me stay focused on what I’m doing in the here and now, which brings peace. *Bonus: When it rains (or when I water the yard or plants) and I’m wanting to really get grounded or just have fun, I’ll make a muddy spot to walk. Feeling the mud on my feet and making a little mess (we don’t let ourselves make messes very often as adults!), can really be great.
- Slow down. If there’s some major decision to be made or some pressing problem to sort through we tend to tell ourselves that we can’t take a break or relax until the situation is resolved. Not true! Decisions are best made when we’re at an even keel; problems are sometimes more easily or creatively addressed when we take time to get fresh perspective. Give yourself time. If its really hard, make yourself do it. Set a timer and get gardening, take a hot bath, put in a comfort movie and force yourself to take the time away from being stuck in problem-focus or decision-making mode.
- Examine your thoughts. Take some time to check your thinking out. Are your thoughts contributing to the feelings you’re having that aren’t helpful? Check out this list of cognitive distortions and the worksheets included for help with this!
- Eat well. If you’re facing major upheaval in environment or emotions, your body will tire itself out more quickly. Make sure that you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to support you through this time period.
- Get rest. Finding the motivation to keep up with your sleep routine or even having the ability to get the sleep you need can be hard during stressful times. Shut your electronics off at least 30 minutes before bed (ALL OF THEM!), avoid caffeine after lunch, and try a sleep-aiding meditation like Andrew Johnson’s Deep Sleep (available on the app stores!).
- Exercise. Walk for 30 minutes, do yoga for 20-30 minutes – basically any physical activity will help you sleep better, reduce stress, and increase your feel-good chemical endorphins.
- Find a pro. Some times its harder than others to get things back on track after a life change or upheaval or even just a bigger than average dose of stress or worry. Taking time to work through things with a pro can be really helpful too!