Support Yourself Through Chaos And Overwhelm
A Busy Life In One Crazy World
In this crazy modern world that we live in, life can be incredibly difficult. We work more hours and at more jobs than ever before (to get by financially). On top of that, we have educational/career pursuits, hobbies and leisure activities, teams and groups that we participate in, kids and families, a social life.....and we try to strike a balance with our health and well being by pursuing fitness, yoga, meditation/mindfulness, ALL WHILE preparing healthy meals for ourselves and drinking plenty of water. As Alain de Botton states, finding balance is practically a myth because it's so tough to do, given our circumstances.
In light of this, you are bound to experience feelings of chaos and overwhelm- not only from time to time, but quite frequently!
What are the symptoms of feeling overwhelmed?
Losing your keys, wallet, phone, or other important things. When we are overwhelmed and life is chaotic, we often have too much going on in our brain and can forget where we put things.
A messy space. When we have so many things going on, we simply don’t have the time or energy to clean up. This is problematic as it leads to more overwhelm!
Tension in your shoulders and or back.When our lives are chaotic, we feel stressed, this stress translates to our bodies, making it harder to want to get things done.
Over booking, double booking, and missing appointments. When we are feeling
overwhelmed, we start to forget things and we can forget to write appointments down or double check dates. This leads to even more stress and chaos!
What Can I Do?
If this is you right now, or if you recall being here recently, here are some things that can you in the moment:
BREATHE. Notice that you are breathing. Keep breathing. Trust your breath. Breathing fully and deeply, or simply putting your attention on your natural breathing rhythm, helps us to calm down. Breathing sends a message to our amygdala that we are in fact OK, and that will shut off the stress hormones (mostly cortisol and adrenaline) that it is producing.
ACKNOWLEDGE IT. By taking a moment to identify or observe that we are in chaos and that things are pretty overwhelming, we step OUTSIDE of the chaos for a moment. We look in from the outside. This acknowledgement is healing, because when we are able to observe what is happening from another perspective, we are more likely to make a wise choice.
RESPOND WISELY. If we can be present in the chaos, even though it's uncomfortable, we are more likely to respond wisely to the situation (rather than to react blindly). Responding requires that we are breathing, observing and acknowledging what is happening, slowing things down, and asking ourselves WHAT IS IT THAT WE WANT from this situation. Once we have that perspective and insight, we can move in that direction (rather than in the unhelpful, suffering-inducing direction).
TAKE EXTRA CARE. You are experiencing chaos and overwhelm. Things are pretty difficult right now. Now is not the time to pile on chores, "to-dos," engagements, or to really do much or anything (if you want it done right, that is). What does this mean? Be gentle with yourself, have compassion that you're in this situation, breathe, notice what's around you, do tasks MINDFULLY to help you slow down, take time to reflect, take a relaxing bath or some other relaxing activity that allows you 30minutes of chill time.
When I'm in overwhelm is when I use my %80-%20 rule. What this is, is that %80 of the time, I do what i say I will do, and follow through with commitments. %20 of the time, I allow myself to cancel and re-direction to something more helpful. All my friends and family are aware of this. Most of the time, I show up. Once in a while, I need to take care of myself. Remember, we live in incredibly busy times. We MUST take care of ourselves.
Talk to a trusted friend AND a counsellor or coach.
Everyone, even counsellors, need support. This is part of having a healthy support network. Good friends who are empathetic and strong listeners are helpful to have (and they actually fulfill a human need of connection). To take this to the next level, get a counsellor or coach. If money is an object- know that there are tons of free, by-donation, and low cost counselling (a lot of which is online and in-person). Look into it, get an appt. and add this to your support network. It will be the best thing that you've ever done for your life and your relationships. We have by-donation and sliding scale sessions to support you. Email us for more information email@example.com
Use Art and Expression to Cope with Overwhelm and Chaos
Working with art can be akin to meditation, our mind focuses on one thing, we start to sink deeply into the process, and sometimes we even experience flow. Art is an important element to incorporate into our lives because of many things, including these three factors, and it is even more important to incorporate into our lives if we are feeling chaotic or overwhelmed.
Draw your next week as a journey up a mountain. What obstacles are in your way? What rewards do you have planned for yourself? Does your path even out, or is it a straight incline? Is there anywhere for you to rest along the way? Not only does this exercise help you focus, it also helps you plan out your week in a more playful way!
Draw/create an imaginary dwelling for yourself. Let your creativity and whimsical side go wild! Is your dwelling under the water? In the sky? Is it a house, or perhaps a boat or floating cloud castle? This exercise helps you focus, and helps you relax into a space of imagination and possibility. The more we exercise our imagination the better our creative problem solving becomes. This exercise is also great for inducing a state of flow.
Draw/create a doodle. Let your mind go and doodle what feels good. Set yourself a minimum time limit and see what happens! This exercise is great for letting your mind go where it needs to go and encouraging your brain to let go of all the extra thoughts that are taking of valuable space. You might be surprised at what you draw!
Find what works for you
Remember, it is not anyone else's responsibility to help us but ourselves. Take your own hand, be the parent to the child that is inside of you, and do what you need to do to heal and work through this. YOU'VE GOT THIS!!!
All the best,
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