I’ve been trying to figure out how to tackle The Mess (click here to see what I’m talking about). I’ve talked with relatives and friends, and, living in a technologically-dependent society, I have unsurprisingly gone to Google for advice. I figured that I would share their wisdom because it’s good, and maybe it can help both you and me.
1. Say a mantra. Lauren Stahl who is the CEO of Sparkite, whatever that is . . . *Googles* . . . oh, it’s an addiction treatment facility, cool . . . writes that you should tell yourself that “Life does not give me situations I cannot handle.” Really? REALLY?!?!?! Okay, fine. Maybe this will help, maybe it won’t. I like the mantra, “I’ll figure it out,” but that’s just me. To each their own.
2. Breathe. My very smart friend (I mentioned her here) continually tells me to breathe. It may seem simple on the surface, but when you feel overwhelmed, you can start to breathe quickly, which heightens anxiety rather than reduces it. So, taking a moment just to breathe deeply can help to pause your body before it goes full throttle into that tunnel of crushing anxiety.
3. Allow yourself to continue from “this new place.” This is from Lori Deschene at Tiny Buddha, which is a website that I think I’ve referenced on this blog before . . . *searches blog* . . . yep, it’s in this post, “Let’s Try to Find Balance Together.” I really like how Deschene puts it when she writes, “It’s easy to get attached to the road you’re on, especially if it makes you happy. When something or someone throws you off, you may feel disconnected from who you want to be or what you want to do in life . . . . [But] the sooner you focus on finding a new way, the sooner you’ll turn a bad thing good.” Okay, so somehow I need to be okay with starting from “this new place” and find ways to make “this new place” a “good place.” I’m not sure how to do that though.
4. Make a plan. I keep seeing this one over and over again on Google, and I’ve been told this my entire life. The best way through a scary or difficult situation is to make a plan. The problem is: What if you don’t know what steps to take in your plan? According to Amy Morin at Lifehack, “Even if you can’t fix it, you can develop a plan to cope with it.” I guess so . . . .
5. Break it down. This is in conjunction with #4. Write down each problem and then write as many solutions as possible to that problem. Then, examine the pros and cons of each solution and select practical and reasonable solutions. After that, break down your chosen solution(s) into manageable chunks that you can tackle. If one solution doesn’t work, then go to another solution on your possibilities list and repeat the process.
6. Practice self-care. One of my mentors continually reminds me to practice self-care because, quite frankly, I forget and I’m sure that many others do too. When you’re in a mess, it’s difficult to remember to make sure that you’re okay yourself. But you have to remember that you’re no good to anyone if you run yourself into the ground, and you may even do more harm than good by neglecting your needs.
I’m not saying that “self-care” means doing a face mask every night (although if it does for you, then that’s cool and you do you). By self-care, I mean making sure that you have ways and moments to destress so that you don’t act like a pressure cooker with its lid put on wrong and BAM! Pot lid in the ceiling. Google it. It happens. If that means talking to someone and leaning on them for support, then do it. Whatever you choose, you don’t want to explode on the people you’re trying to help, and you don’t want that stress to manifest as physical symptoms that you’ll have to deal with on top of everything else. Self-care means making sure that your system is okay to continue running and, as The Tiger puts it, protecting the system. It also means eating well and not overeating on frozen pizzas . . . oops.
7. Do something. Get something accomplished. Anything. If it’s something in your plan from #4 or #5, then great. If it’s not, that’s okay. But getting something done gives you a sense of control that can feel completely lost during difficult periods. Personally, I cook and I clean. Even if everything feels out of control, I can at least say, “Hey, I got the laundry done” or “I got the kitchen clean.” I’m contributing something tangible, and that little bit of control can help a lot.