I am writing to you as we enter the second week of serious shut-downs in the US for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Times right now are uncertain, and to say that things feel chaotic is an understatement.
A lot of people are now at home with their children trying to homeschool, and work, and feed said kids, and make sure they maybe take a shower every few days and eat every once in a while.
And even for people like me who don’t have children, this time is still just…rough. Energy is high, everything is unknown, and the snack drawer is running low way too quickly.
For a lot of us, daily schedules, habits and routines have gone out the window due to the circumstances.
Even for myself, someone who works from home already (and has a flexible schedule,) the energy of the world has moved me to feel very unsettled and not sure what to do with myself.
I wanted to write this short post to share some tools that I use to stay grounded and centered in uncertain times with the hope that some of them may work for you as well.
I share these tips now as they are more relevant than ever, but my hope is that these tools become something you are able to go to time and time again.
You can find inner peace at any time if you are intentional.
The first thing that I want to mention is that finding inner peace and groundedness does not take hours of your time.
I think a lot of us have been led to believe that finding your calm takes tons of time, and maybe even money, and is only for certain people that have those luxuries.
The truth is…this is not true at all.
Inner peace is actually accessible to all of us, at any moment, within a few seconds of time. Great news, right?!
If you’ve practiced yoga or meditation before, you may have heard of the idea that our power is in our breath.
That, essentially, if we can tune into our breathing and focus on that, we can slowly quiet the mind.
I invite you to start exploring this idea for yourself.
This is probably the most instantaneous stress relief that is available:
A few deep breaths and a moment of silence.
I have worked with tons of clients to create their stress-relief and centering tool box and every single person I’ve done this with has had the preconceived notion that a meditation practice requires hours of time, absolute focus and no distractions.
This is simply not true.
It is ok if your meditation looks imperfect…especially because the people who have an imperfect meditation practice (meaning distractions, racing thoughts or anxiety) need it more than anyone!
Meditation and other stress relieving practices are not just reserved for the monks who meditate for 15 hours a day.
No! This is a practice that anybody who experiences any sort of stress, anxiety or overwhelm needs, and you get to decide what works for you!
I have clients that meditate for 1 minute a day because that is all they can find time for.
To me, that is better than taking no time to be in quiet and stillness.
So, as we talk more about different ways to get grounded in chaotic times, please know that your coping skills can look messy. Your approach doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to work for you!
I challenge you to take a second and just BE. Breathe in, breathe out. And see how that feels.
Brain dump. And then create a plan
So all of those thoughts swirling in your head right now?
Get them out. Write them out. Release them out of your anxious brain and onto a piece of paper.
Then? Create a plan to get that shit DONE!
So much of our overwhelm and stress comes from feeling like we aren’t getting anything done.
And when we have sooooooo much to do that we don’t even know where to start, it can feel extra terrible, because we are just spinning around in circles!
So, the remedy to this?
Write it down! You’ll feel so much better!
#1 When you actually get it all down on paper, you will see that it really isn’t as “bad” as you thought it was!
#2 Once you have it all down, you can put it in order of priority and then start DOING! Maybe even schedule it out, doing one task a day. Always plan less than more, because if you overload yourself and set the bar too high, you set yourself up with unnecessary pressure.
Instead, set goals, but make them achievable so you don’t set yourself up for failure, therefore perpetuating the stress!
Know how to get into a good-feeling state, and take the time to do that
Do you know what brings you back to a better place?
For me, it’s things like walking, exercising, dancing or listening to music that gets me feeling good again.
What are those things for you?
I encourage you to do a little digging to figure out what exactly helps you get to a better feeling place.
If you don’t know what that is, start exploring!
Maybe take a walk one day and see how that feels. The next day, try out a dance party!
So much of this is simply taking the time to figure out what works for you, and not being afraid to give yourself what you need when you need it!
Have tools, and know how to use them
So far I have given you some tools to put in your belt. Now you need to make sure to use them.
You know those frantic moments where you just want to scream, cry, punch a wall and lose it completely?
It’s time to reach in the belt and grab one of these tools.
I would say that doing a minute or two of silence and just focusing on your breathing can essentially work for anyone in most situations.
My suggestion, however, is that you be gentle with yourself around how this looks.
It’s probably not going to look like you peacefully on a meditation pillow looking out to the mountains.
No–it’s probably gonna look like you screaming at your kids to go to their room, and you with a messy bun and a destroyed house sitting at your kitchen table to for two minutes of silence before you make your next move.
I find that starting with a second to just get quiet and breathe typically tells you what to do next.
From there, ask yourself…
“Do I need to feel productive?”
If so, brain dump and create your plan.
Or, ask yourself “Do I just need a break?”
And then go more into that…
What would feel good right now?
Getting outside? Taking a short nap? Maybe putting yourself (and your kids) in front of the TV?
As you ask yourself more and more about what you need, and experiment with “what works” to get you back to base the easier it will be for you to shift out of overwhelm and chaos and into a place of center and calm.
Make anchoring in a habit. Not just in the good times. But more importantly, in the bad
The most important thing about the tools that I share with you is that…
Well, you use them!
I see a TON of people using all of their tools and self care when things are going GREAT!
But really, that’s not when we need these tools…
We need our tools when we are in a chaotic shit-storm. We need to find a way to quiet and calm no matter what is happening.
So instead of doing what you may have done in the past and ignoring all of your needs in chaotic times, I invite you to be very aware when times are tough, and ask yourself, “How can I make time for this, even if it’s only for 30 seconds?”
Remember, 30 seconds is better than 0 seconds! And your rock bottom is when you need these things the most! Find time to make whatever you need happen.
Other general self-care that can get us back on track
Here are some other things that can make you feel like you have your shit together!
- Making your bed
- Showering, brush teeth, do hair and a little makeup
- Putting on a cute outfit
- Taking a few minutes to cook something simple and healthy for yourself
- Drinking water
- Calling a friend to chat it out
- Organizing something
- Cleaning your space
- Having sexy time (alone or with someone!)
- Allowing yourself to indulge (desert, online shopping…usually if we just let ourselves have what we want, we don’t go OVERBOARD! Trust yourself!)
And there you have it.
A bigger guide to finding some sense of sanity even in the craziest of times. Because contrary to the images of spa days and wine retreats, self care typically doesn’t look pretty, and that is when we need it the most!
What are you going to go do for yourself today?