Recently I have been feeling like I was drowning and knowing that if I feel that way many others might as well; I posted in my doctorate research slack to check-in with how my friends and advisor were doing. Everyone that responded that first day also felt overwhelmed, were feeling down and less productive, and many used the wording I had: they felt like they were drowning.
Do you feel like you are drowning?
It’s okay to feel that way. Many people are feeling the fall-out of the pandemic which is affecting lives not just physically, but also emotionally and financially.
When we feel like we are drowning often little things that we can normally handle with grace and tact, and a good attitude become overwhelming. The other day I was thinking how great it was that several years ago I had taught myself how to cook. However, I still don’t enjoy cooking. So after several weeks stuck at home with the kiddos, feeling overwhelmed and just not thinking outside the box for easy meal ideas, I asked my son, “What do you want for dinner?” When he shrugged in I told him, “licorice and cinnamon bears it is!” He thought that was hilarious. I was also at my end last night when it came time for dinner. (Can you tell cooking isn’t my favorite thing?). So thank goodness for my wonderful husband who came to the rescue with bean and vegetable-laden nachos! Yummy! The dinner of cinnamon bears really didn’t happen, and I, my kids would probably use the word forcing, presented my kids with delicious fruits and vegetables to eat and then made them clean up. (Yeah for great kiddos!)
Some days we all hit our end, AND THAT’S OKAY!
Are you at your end?
Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. One of my favorite quotes from years as a mathematics undergraduate, and during my chronic depression, was this:
“Everything works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end!”
You can find peace and joy even in times of crisis
I know many of you are struggling. Some of you with fear and anxiety, other with worry and depression, some with overwhelm, others with cabin sickness, and some with a bit of everything. Here’s a few things you can do to calm yourself and help your loved ones to do the same.
Remember to breathe
In the moment, one of the quickest ways to center yourself is to take a moment to breathe. Whatever you are doing, safely set it aside for a few seconds and focus on your breath. Make it long. Breath in and out slowly. When I am deeply upset I like to do box breathing: *Three counts in, hold three counts, three counts out, hold three counts, and repeat from *.
Find gratitude in the small things
Whatever that little thing you are grateful for is: online streaming, kids laughing and playing, a drawing from your daughter for you, an understanding professor, CR/NC option for courses, sunshine, snow, food, etc. whatever it is, make a list of those things you are grateful for. Make it a point to write it down and review it whenever you need.
Remind yourself of things that bring you joy
Similar to gratitude, but here you make a list of things that bring you joy. I like to make a Happiness is… list myself. It always brings a smile to my face.
Make a hope box
This one is especially for those who struggle with self-harming thoughts, and everyone can benefit from it. Get a box. If you’re crafty (it doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself “good” at crafts or not, it only matters whether it brings you joy), then craft away and make it something you love. Then gather items that bring you hope and remind you of the hope you have had. The anchor of my hope is Jesus Christ, but I also find hope in my husband, in my work, in a sweet letter from a friend and other loved ones. Put these kinds of items in your hope box. Put the box somewhere you see it often and open up the box and remind yourself of the hope you have.
Go for a walk or bike ride
As a child I found a quote in one of my mother’s old books, now lost, that said that angels speak to a man while he’s walking. That thought always brought me hope and I truly it’s true. Bike rides are also great ways to spend time with family and feel the wind on your face.
The way our mind works, when we change our environment, by walking into another room or outside, it forces our brains to process our new surroundings. Just the act of going outside allows our minds to take in that new input and refresh our thinking. So go outside and let nature renew you.
Reach out when you need help
It’s okay to get help. Loved ones, professional therapists, and even the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are all people who want to help. You can’t be your best if you don’t take care of yourself. Reach out for the help you need. We all need support at times. It is a sign of courage, faith, and humility to get help.
Continue to improve your wellness
Improving your wellness in even small ways will lead to greater wellness in your life in all areas. Think of a small fork in the road. Though the choice may seem inconsequential at the time, you will find that that little choice to take a deep breath instead of reacting in anger and frustration will lead you to higher, happier grounds.
I have created two free resources for you to help in your continued wellness journey:
- Start Living Your Life Blooming guidebook filled with quick and easy ways to improve your wellness (and extra challenges for those ready to level up!)
- Get started with personalized support and guidance for your individual wellness journey. by booking your free wellness consultation now.
Stay safe and be well my friends,
Nancy N. Blackburn,