*discombobulation is one of my favourite words: it really sums up a state of overwhelm for me: what about you?
I think it’s fair to say that the world is a little bit wobbly at the moment. Life is not as it was (some might say that’s a good thing) and, for many of us, emotions are all over the place as we seem to spin out of control, and it can all begin to be too much: we feel overwhelmed.
There are many triggers underpinning a sense of overwhelm. What does it for you may not do it for me, or for the person wandering down the street (at a socially distanced safe space), yet one thing is common to us all: the need to prioritise self-care.
It won’t come as any surprise to know that there are steps you, yes you, can take to support your own resilience and glide, swanlike, across these choppy waters. Here are my top five; I hope they help you:
“How you start your day sets the tone and the direction and the context for how the day goes.” Hal Elrod.
- A morning ritual: I’m a fan of a ritual, but I’ll admit to being a tad late to the morning party. I don’t know why, but all that matters is that I’m here now. I know that every high-achieving person I have ever met, or heard of, has a morning ritual, be it breathwork, exercise, stretching, mindful breakfast or whatever. The possibilities are limited only by imagination, and the willingness to do it regularly. I recently did B.J. Fogg’s Tiny Habits course (more here) and built in a little ritual celebration of my new day. I won’t share it here, but you could always email me and I’ll tell you all about it. As a result, I start my day feeling uplifted and more positive than perhaps I used to.
A ritual can be anything, from a simple affirmation to a meditation, from boogying your butt off to some upbeat music that speaks to your soul, to taking a mindful shower, or enjoying an unhurried breakfast, or writing a few hundred words in a journal. Whatever takes your fancy: it’s something to ground you in the ‘here and now’: done first thing, it can link us to a new day full of possibilities.
- Be still and quiet the mind: My mind revs fast; I have a tendency to think really quickly. This can be really good, but it can be really bad, usually when my self-talk is a bit on the dark side. The simplest way to stop your head getting in your way is to breeeeeaaathe. By connecting with the breath – through yoga, meditation, Pilates, or straightforward, brief, breathing practices, we calm the mind and give it something else to focus on. The really fab thing about breathwork is that it can shift our nervous system away from the ‘fight-or-flight-freeze’ stress response, dominated by our Sympathetic Nervous System, towards the calmer, slower, more supportive ‘rest, relax, recover’ Para-Sympathetic Nervous System. Neither one is better than the other: as with everything in life, there has to be a balance, and in times of uncertainty, it’s our Sympathetic that takes charge. Taking a few deep breaths is a good place to start shifting the balance.
- Eat well: I’m big on feeding your body the right stuff, so I have to include this. It’s really simple: avoid building your Way of Eating around rubbish (you know what I’m talking about). The right food, for you, can support, strengthen, and encourage your natural immune defences to keep doing what it’s doing every day: looking after you, and keeping you well. If this is an area you are ready to explore, read this or message me for a copy of the (currently being written) e-book; you can also email me if you want to really pull it apart in a deeper dive. You don’t have to do this alone if you don’t want to.
- Move it, move it: Why do I always think of King Julian from ‘Madagascar’ when I say that? I’m not talking marathon running or triathlon training but something that gets you off the sofa, jiggling your splendid bod, and having fun. If marathons or triathlons are your ‘thing’, then great, fill your boots. If (like me), they’re not, then find something you enjoy, and do it, every day. My ‘things’ are a bit of gentle jogging, some fairly heavy gardening, Pilates, Zumba, dance classes with my husband, or simply sticking on a banger and dancing like a loon around my kitchen. What’s yours? Let me know, I might discover something new.
- Sleep well: one of the biggest mood, and immunity, de-stabilisers is poor sleep, whether quantity or quality. It plays havoc with your hormones, including insulin that is involved in fat creation, and leptin and ghrelin, involved in balancing appetite and satiety. Good sleep hygiene is absolutely as important as personal hygiene: it’s so important, there’s a whole article about it here. Go read it, check off what you’re doing, identify where you could make improvements, then go do it.
So that’s my top five: they might work for you, they might not. You might be doing them already, in which case: well done, you’re taking self-care importantly. If your head is still spinning out of control, reach out to me; maybe I can help.
We can’t control what goes on in the outside world, we can only manage our response. Remember:
Event + response = outcome
When the world is spinning out of control, we still have a choice: a choice about how to respond.
When it all gets a tad too much, when the Facebook memes are hilarious, yet the News is terrifying, when your head is in meltdown, it’s time to stop, pause, breathe, consider, choose and do. What will you choose to do?