It’s a tough time to be a feeling person right now.
A few days ago, one of my friends asked for tips to help her shift when she’s consumed by racing thoughts, self-doubt, and her huge heart aching about the state of the world. These tips helped her, so I decided to share them with you, too.
So much depends on having practices to turn to when you’re anxious, overwhelmed, grieving, or otherwise having a tough time.
Half the game is having a list of practices from which to choose when you need them. The other half is remembering in the moment when you're spinning that you have a list to check!
You could set a reminder alarm to help you remember. Choose a phrase like “Time to practice?” and have it pop up at random times on your phone’s home screen. This will begin to turn the tide toward being proactive and not staying stuck in emotions that make you spiral down the drain.
Here are five practices to help you get through tough times.
Sometimes the voices in your head get out of hand and your adult, clear self needs to step in and shut them down. When the voices are yammering nonstop tell them to “Shh” in a sharp, quick way. In the short space that follows, reassure them that you love them and you’ve got this, so they can sit back down.
Stop letting the blame train run down the track with no driver!
You are the driver and you have the power to turn away from your fearful and blaming voices to a more centered and clear place, even in the toughest of times. It just takes practice. Take charge and do it.
On the other hand, sometimes you may need to do the opposite of #1 and let your feelings rip.
Find a private and safe place and scream, pound a pillow, cry the ugliest of cries.
Once you’ve emptied out, straighten your clothes and your hair, take a deep breath, thank yourself for taking the time to move your feelings. Walk back out into the world when you're ready.
Mama Gena, who runs the fab School of Womanly Arts, teaches this great practice to do with a friend. It’s different than simple venting or complaining, both of which tend to reinforce and amplify what you’re upset about in a non-constructive way.
Having a timed structure to the venting that keeps your friend from colluding or agreeing with your spew of thoughts allows you to fully empty out without overly feeding parts of you that you don't want to feed.
Being witnessed in the stuff you’re carrying during tough times clears out the cobwebs so that you can return to being your rocking, brilliant self.
Here’s a link to a free PDF download on Spring Cleaning that walks you through the specifics of the practice: Spring Cleaning.
Dancing moves energy and emotion through your body. When you’re going through a rough time, the tendency is to isolate and tighten around what you’re feeling.
Put on a song you love and dance around to it. If emotions come up, let them flow through your movement. Let the movement of your body clear your mind and heart.
Epsom salt cleanses you energetically and physically. It’s a great tool when you’ve taken on too much of your own and other people’s stuff.
Here’s a recipe for a great emotional and physical detox bath:
•2 cups Epsom salt •¼ cup baking soda •10 drops of lavender essential oil
Set a timer and soak for 20 minutes.
Make sure that your skin is non-reactive to lavender before putting the drops in the bath. Test a small area of your skin directly. If it doesn’t itch you should be okay.
Add the lavender oil at the end, shortly before getting in so that you’re breathing the vapors as you soak. Make sure you stir and disperse it before you get in so that it’s not too concentrated in any one spot.
These are only a few of the ways you can turn yourself around when you’re stuck. Start a list of useful practices for tough times with these five and add to it as you come across others you like.
Keep the list on your phone, by your desk, wherever you’re likely to see it. Choose the one that feels right in the moment.
It’s not about ignoring or bypassing your pain, it’s about supporting your strength to deal with it. Allow yourself that support. Take yourself out of the spinning by boosting your capacity to be there for yourself in a loving way. You've got this.
© 2019 Marie-Elizabeth Mali | All Rights Reserved
Images of Marie-Elizabeth by In Her Image Photography