Clearly we are living in unprecedented times, times when we all need to come together and share our swirling thoughts … because knowing you are not the only one feeling this way is a real salve.
I wrote a post on social media about these tough times, but I thought I’d share an expanded version here because there was a bit more to say and some links to add. So here it is with extra bits …
During these wobbly times, many people are living with anxiety and/or depression. The shift in life’s usual rhythm may have sparked it or escalated it. Perhaps you (like me) are one of the many?
- You may be living with a constant hum in your body as you maintain hypervigilance during uncertain days?
- You may be holding your breath – literally and figuratively – as you navigate the many shifts, decisions and feelings of powerlessness.
- You may be on the edge of tears as your body keeps that ancient fight or flight mode at the ready in an effort to protect you from hungry dinosaurs. (One good thing? You can cross those off your list of things to worry about!)
There are no easy answers to what we are going through, but there are some things that may help:
- Taking 3 big breaths whenever you can. Give your system what it needs and pause for a minute, when possible. When we are feeling scared or sad we slip into behaviours that will make us feel worse. Not breathing properly is one of those. If you are breathing super quickly at times and holding your breath at others these 3 big breaths can help. (Brene Brown says she is doing this to combat the times we are enduring.)
- Emitting 3 big sighs. My day-job sort-of colleague Maggie Dent explains that this seems to have a bolstering effect on the brain. Experts have found that the sigh is a reflex that helps us to reboot our lung function and breathe better.
- Don’t skim over doing the little things that make you feel more human. Don’t skip that shower you are longing for. Don’t skip that pause over the sink drinking a big glass of water. Don’t skip that nap (if you are able to sleep). Don’t skip turning off all the news services and making a giant pot of soup or spaghetti. Don’t skip that sitting for 10 minutes on your back step looking at the small or big view.
- Write down 3 good things every day. This may sound trite but when carried out each day it has been clinically proven to bolster and boost mood for months.
- Don’t try to be ‘happy’. Just aim for a steady baseline when you can. Being OK is a much better goal. Happy can be the cherry on the cake. Steady as she/he goes is just great. The odd dip is totally understandable too.
- Help someone else. There are lots of opportunities to help or be kind to others right now. Try to do something every single day, even if it’s just sending a message to a buddy or family member … or sincerely thanking the person that serves you at shops (if you are able to be out and about).
- Seek support. Go to your GP. OR note that some doctors are doing Skype consultations or finding remote ways to see people. Medication has really helped me to be able to function (when I was seriously unable to function). You + your doctor can decide what will work best for you, though. Many mental health care professionals have boosted their remote consultation ability.
- Know that it’s not always going to be like this.
These are unprecedented times, but it is perfectly precedented for humans to struggle under pressure. It’s just part of what makes us US.
I wanted to leave you with a couple of thoughts I read this week which seem to apply:
Look out and express gentleness to all things – Pema Chodron
Be scared without being scary – Brené Brown
Thinking of you. And your people and pets, if you have them.
PS: The pets are feeling this and are extra huggy, aren’t they? What darlings.
Top photo: Old photo of Birthday Mee Goreng at mine. It’s my birthday today!!!