Hefty servings of chaos and crazy seem to be what the world is putting on our plates. We get to choose from natural disasters, war or terrorist attacks perpetrated by zealots and even by some police. What’s a sane person to do with all of this besides go into information overload and ride emotional ferris wheels? The world is hurting, people are hurting and people are hurting from watching others who are hurting. Redundant? Yes. And so is all of the bombing and killing and oppression.
I remember how my community ached after the Trayvon Martin verdict and the Mike Brown murder. There have been many other moments of collective aching but those two stand out in my mind in this moment. I think about Sandra Bland daily because she is one of my sister friends. I don’t know her literally but she could be any one of my friends. She could be me.
How do we stay grounded during times like these? How do we find moments of peace? How do we create an internal environment for emotional well-being? Well, I discovered that stress and anxiety cause major health problems within my body so I’ve been exploring a few ways to manage. I thought I would share a few of them with you:
- Look for the lessons. Not the lessons in the hatred and in the pain, but notice your reaction and responses to it, notice your triggers and coping mechanisms and notice how people in your circle respond. Ask yourself what your “self” needs. If you reach for biscuits and gravy or cheesecake each time something happens, ask yourself what you could reach for instead. Maybe your self needs to turn off the news or take a social media break? What do you need? Also, what do the people in your life need? Sometimes the best way to take care of our own hearts is by nurturing someone in need. These kinds of lessons help us sustain ourselves over the long haul. These lessons become self-care practices and make us more resilient.
- Identify healthy distractions. Focus your energy on your loved ones smile or the laughter of children. Do things that make you feel good. Write in your journal, make the perfect cup of tea or cook a nice stew. Go for a run or workout at the gym. There are times for stillness but sometimes we need to be in action and in motion to keep our energy flowing.
- Share what’s on your heart. Share what is present for you. Talk to someone you trust. If you need a professional go see someone. Another option includes the online services like TalkSpace that you can use for therapy. A woman I know had a conference call with a few sister friends who live in different places. Another friend is hosting a last minute Sunday brunch. Community is important. Isolation can make the world seem even more gray so let others shine their light on and around you.
There are not many things we can control so let go, let it all go. We can control our thoughts and manage our feelings. We can make choices that empower us and make us feel good. We can choose love. We just have to remember that love is a verb and loving ourselves is comes first so that we may better be able to serve others.