I hear you. And trust me, I feel it too. This week I wanted to check in with all of you on the general mental and emotional state that so many of us are in right now. Overwhelmed, exhausted, yearning for a sense of normalcy.
We are now in month 7 (seven!) of a global pandemic, and for us in the states, it feels as if the end is a far off horizon. Though at times the horizon doesn't appear reachable, we will stay diligent in our efforts in order to control the virus so thousands of more people won't have to die.
Headlines of rising death tolls, fires, conflicts, injustices, and a looming election. It's enough to send even the once blissfully uninformed into a state of unease.
So, what do we do? Life must go on. Children must be attended to, bills must be paid, work still calls. We are expected to show up as if the world isn't burning around us, and in return, we burn out ourselves.
Prioritize your mental well-being
We all have our limits and that can vary from person to person. Your whole life doesn't have to be falling apart to feel overwhelmed. We are all facing our own set of challenges and yours are just as valid as the next. Please, give yourself the same grace you would bestow upon a close friend.
By acknowledging our struggles we are able to take a breath and move forward. Try saying it out loud and release it from your body, for example: "I feel completely overwhelmed by working from home!" "I feel overwhelmed by the news of the world!" "I feel overwhelmed by climate change!" "I feel overwhelmed by the work I have to get done!" "I feel overwhelmed with the bills I have to pay!" " I feel overwhelmed with having to take care of my kids!" " I feel scared for the entire world!"
By speaking on it, you can acknowledge it and give the feeling the validity that it needs. It's okay to be overwhelmed by such a huge change.
What is truly within your control that you can do to make yourself feel better? For example: "I really need a day off, from everything. I need to unplug." Will this one day solve all of life's problems? No, of course not. Will it put you in a better mental state to keep facing the days and allow you a moment to breathe, reflect, process, or possibly just tune out? Yes, yes, it will. And if it doesn't? You may have to take an extra day for yourself but you'll get there.
Parents, activists, essential workers, and everyone in between are suffering from serious burnout. You are far from alone. If you need to say that to yourself out loud, do it! Say "I'm not alone! This really sucks sometimes!!". I am no stranger to scream therapy and will recommend it on occasion. Energy can be transferred so transfer that stress from your body by screaming it out in your car. I give you my word, it actually can help.
My best advice is to focus on what you can control. For example: "I can't single-handedly decide the election, but I can vote. I can check to make sure my friends and family are registered to vote, and I can make a donation and/or volunteer my time".
Our mental state can have a rippling effect on our lives. Normally tidy people can find themselves losing control of their households due to depression and/or anxiety. Maybe you don't have it in you to clean the whole house in one day, that's okay. Just pick one or two chores and start there. Making one small promise to ourselves every day and keeping it, can have a very positive effect on our self-worth. How does one go about eating the world's largest chocolate bar? One bite at a time (ask my husband).
Talk to the people around you, don't be afraid to tell them you're struggling. Asking for help is a courageous act! And despite what some may think, it's a sign of strength. People cannot read your mind and bottling up tension and stress is not doing anyone close to you favors. Talk it out, cry, laugh, whatever you need to do. You will feel a sense of relief wash over you and may just find the person you're telling can relate as well.
Here is a guided meditation for centering yourself. I find meditation to be a powerful tool. It has helped me more times than I can recall.
I hope you are all taking care of yourselves. Sending love and light to you all.
Until next time...