When I felt overwhelmed in my 20’s or 30’s, I would indulge in a cocktail before dinner or escape to the movies. I did a little retail therapy too and, of course, eating. Eating was the main way for me to feel calm and comfy in my bunting of avoidance. Since then, except for the movies, all the other techniques have been identified as toxic for me. I try not to succumb to them when feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
These days, I’m always on the lookout for different ways to reduce stress and release the feelings of being overwhelmed. In line with those endeavors, here are three techniques I’ve been using to feel more grounded and less overwhelmed in our times of a pandemic, civil unrest, and political adversity.
- BE grounded – feel the earth, touch the ground with as many parts of your body as possible. Get out of that computer chair or off that couch to put your butt on the ground. I know for me, this means I need to have an established way to get up once I’m down there, something like a chair or table nearby. Physical grounding techniques get you back into your body and start to work their way up to your brain, signaling a relief to stress. I often lay on the floor (instead of just sitting) when meditating. It’s very calming.
- Reading – now is the time to splurge on a device or service that let’s you escape into all the wonderful possibilities of books. Reading is a wonderful and healthy distraction from the harsh realities of things beyond our control. Reading is educational, it reduces heart rate – unless momentarily when the action gets exciting, and it reduces muscle tension. Reading is an excellent activity to do alone, no going out required, no partner needed. Also, reading to someone you are quarantined with is very giving. That someone doesn’t have to be a kid.
- Identifying things that feel good and are healthy – Look for a couple of things that keep you anchored in the present moment and act as mindful distractions – like music, hanging out in nature, and playing with your pet or grandchild. While they can experience stress during the pandemic, pets and small kids can be easily distracted. They’re all about play and keeping your attention on them and more play. Be like them.
Maintaining mental health during these days can be tricky but is critical to our well-being. Feeling flooded with anxiety happens. What are you doing to identify techniques to feel less overwhelmed?