When life gets weird, and more and more stressors are added to your list – you can say one of two things:
“Yeah yeah yeah – no biggie – I don’t really care. Just add it to the list”. All of these new things coming towards you can lead to a general feeling of “let’s get through this, everything is going to be ok” . You feel somewhat stressed, but there is so much going on, that it just becomes part of your daily existence.
“$%#^ this – I cannot take it anymore. I want to hide under the covers. I give up”. You feel overwhelmed, unable to handle what is coming towards you, and completely lost.
The difference between how often you feel one way over the other depends on two things: Your existing coping mechanisms when a crazy amount of stressful stuff happens, and your self care before it even starts. You can either set yourself up to respond positively when crap happens, or not.
Here are some short term and long term ways to cope when life throws an incredible amount of things your way:
Quick tips for immediate steps in the midst of chaos:
- Turn off your phone. This is especially true if you feel as if everyone’s priorities are more important than yours. Adding one more job or response to your life will probably send you over the edge.
- Make a list. Write down everything you have to do – I call this puking it out on paper. It helps me stop obsessing over everything going on.
- Go for a walk. Put that paper down, leave your phone behind, and get some exercise.
- Essential oils. Breathe in some lavender or citrus. Reframe your brain with some new smells.
- Look at your list and start prioritizing and making a plan for action. It can be done, it will be done. It will work out in the end
How to we set ourselves up for more of the “let’s get through this” response in the long term:
- Sleep. Not too little – but not too much, either. Just the right balance.
- Exercise. Running, walking, regular morning stretching. Something that helps you take care of yourself.
- Good food & nutrition. Eat well. Take your vitamins. Avoid crap. (By the way – read Chemistry of Joy if you really want to explore how supplements can improve your brain function and mood!)
- Meditation. 5 minutes everyday listening to your breathing. Seriously, it works.
- Silent time. Schedule time away from your phone and your email.
All of these things lead to an increased capacity to deal with life. Immediate steps at the start of the craziness will lessen the impact at the beginning. Creating self care routines that build resilience in the long term will build a strong mind that may actually prosper in chaos.
Like many people, I have had so many crazy things happen in my life that I don’t know where I would be without these events. Whether it’s a world famous photo, moving constantly, traveling around the world, having a near death experience during a miscarriage, or losing my husband unexpectedly, I am at my best in chaos. Change is what I am good at!
I am here to show you that the best can come from the worst. Life is short. Do good things. Pursue your dreams. You won't regret it.