I’m feeling like it’s a bit of a long time that people have been holding on. Many people have run on adrenaline, fight and flight hormones for the past 18 months. However there is only so long that you can run on you body’s chemicals.There are is a time that you are going to hit a wall.
Why do I say this? Because I recently wrote a course for a client on ‘Mental Health Breakdowns’.
While writing it I was thinking, holy smoke, it would be ironic if I had a mental breakdown while writing a course on mental breakdowns.
I did learn a lot though. Here’s some of the take-aways I got and want to share with you. We are going through a stressful time, and we need to get back to some of the basics.
1. Acceptance There has to be a point where we accept that this is not going our own way. Rather than fight it, we need to adjust. This means using this acceptance as a strength and a foundation. Finding alternatives, even if they initially don’t seem to be as attractive, and engaging with them. Also accepting that you may be overwhelmed, sad, traumatized, depressed, anxious. You may be overworked, fearful, over-leveraged.
2. Self-care. There is a time for all seasons. I’d suggest for most people this is not a season of big growth. For me, just before COVID-19, my business was about to explode. We had loads of clients lined up, and was going to have a bunch of breathing space. This didn’t pan out. I was initially bummed out. However, living through periods of significant burn out, I pulled back (a good thing about getting older you get some more perspective). Self-care is critical. Slowing down. Sleeping. Eating well. Going for a walk. Talking to people. Not overworking. These are not optional! These are the fundamentals. I am totally guilty of thinking that these are extras to work, instead of seeing these as fundamentals. If you are not feeling healthy and well, then what point is anything else.
3. Professional support. I would be thinking that not as many people are getting counselling or engaging with psychologists during this time, than they should. Some people have a stigma about talking to a psychologist or therapist. It is an investment in yourself. It is compounding. So while it may cost a little now. The benefits last over a lifetime. I feel like running a campaign for psychologists “it works out to only 5 cents a week over a lifetime”. Why suffer in silence, when there are so many great professionals out there who can help?
4. Social support. To me I’ve always been a hermit and loner. Not sure why, I just like it. However, social support is key (even for loners). To be honest, I only really started using social media last year for social purposes. Lots of what I do now is connect with people online. It is quite nice. Social support - either online or offline - it’s good for the soul. People need human contact for some many reasons. Seek out those encouraging you and build you up. You deserve people who make you feel wonderful. Why not?
5. Calm. I put this last one down as calm. It is easy to get jumpy by having a lot of worst case scenarios jumping around. What if Mary gets jabbed, is she going to die? What if I want to travel next year and I can’t? What if my kids are unemployed? I’ve found the best way to deal with these scenarios is not entertain them. You know what? One person, one event can change the direction of your life, positively or negatively. One chance meeting. One hit my lightening moment. One great plate of spaghetti (now I’m opening a restaurant) moment, and the plates of the world shift for you. Instead of panic and negative alternative thinking, here’s a couple of things I do. I write in a journal (I actually use the Progoff method which has been life changing for me). I think about all the great things in the world and make a list. I tell myself whatever I’m thinking is not good for me, and to stop it. Most of all, I either sleep or go and create something - anything. It could be a drawing, a silly YouTube video, or a little blog. There is something about being consistently creative that is life saving. I think it is because you have to give away part of yourself and your ego, and be in the moment. Who knows? It feels good. I know people are suffering, feeling a range of awful emotions. However, you've got to cut that crap out (unless it’s really bad and go and get professional help). I know it seems trite. But it is true. It is in the worst times that the seeds of the next-best-thing happens. Just be open to it. It’s happened throughout my life. It’s amazing.
So what’s resonating with you? Anything to shift?
Are you caring about yourself and looking after yourself?
Finally, when are you going to accept that the future is not like the past?
Institutions are in decline, don’t be like these institutions.
Be a growing, flourishing and wonderful human being.
Take care. Eat some berries. And do some burps (no one can be serious and burp).