What is the most loving thing that you can do?

Imagine bearing the weight of all that is difficult and challenging in your life on your shoulders all at once. Then, imagine having to go out into the world with that load and pretend that everything is fine.

After a while the load becomes too much to bear and you reach a point where you need to step back, to withdraw and retreat.

That is the most loving thing that you can do for yourself.

When you don’t feel okay and you don’t feel well (as in your overall wellbeing is in poor condition), you need to take care of yourself.

Being in situations where you can’t fully honour and accept where you’re at only makes things worse.

When you’re burdened by challenges you need to replenish and care for yourself rather than constantly be in situations that require you to put on an act and pretend you’re okay.

That can be a a difficult lesson to learn when you struggle with being vulnerable or want to be seen as someone who always has it together.

What to do when you feel like you don’t have enough time?

I think this happens to us all from time to time.

Stress and anxiety can result in time ‘speeding up’. You spend so much time feeling overwhelmed that by the time you go to take action, it already feels like it’s too late. And so you go back to feeling overwhelmed again and the cycle repeats.

Slow down

When you feel like there isn’t enough time, your instincts probably tell you to speed up but it turns out that you’re better off doing the opposite. An easy way to slow yourself down is to meditate.

Taking just 10 minutes is incredibly impactful because it’ll help to reduce overwhelm. But also, 10 minutes of meditation feels a lot longer than 10 minutes of watching a tv show. It’s sort of like time slows down when you relax which might inspire you to embrace a more relaxed way of living.

Make note of how you feel

Perhaps you feel tired, stressed, jittery or tense. What can you do to help combat those things? Identifying how you feel not just emotionally but also physically can be great a great starting point to help shift the feelings.

Stretching or a quick workout could help calm the jitters. If you’re tired, maybe you need to rest. Once you tend to your needs you can get back to doing whatever needs to be done from a much more relaxed headspace.

Write down exactly what you need to do

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by big tasks and feel like ‘there’s so much to do i don’t have enough time, I don’t know where to start’. Writing things down helps ease the anxieties because once you know exactly what you need to do it makes it much easier to start getting things done. For people like me bigger tasks need to be broken down into smaller tasks.

An example of this is when I was recently tidying my bedroom, I wrote down each specific area I wanted to tidy. Doing this made me realise the overall task wouldn’t take as long as I thought and I actually had more than enough time to do it. However, because I’d given myself several smaller tasks it meant that I could have split them over 2 or 3 days if I genuinely didn’t have enough time to do it in one day.

How to work through difficult feelings

When you’re going difficult feelings (or feelings that feel difficult), it’s vital to know what you need in order ton help yourself.

As a teenager, I had no clue and so would just end up overwhelmed with days spent mulling over moments that weren’t important in the grand scheme. Although i used to journal, it was very problem based and essentially just a ramble of fear and overwhelm which didn’t really benefit me.

Recently I had some difficult feelings come up. I’m at a point where I can sit with the feelings without getting carried away. I then find helpful ways to work through the feelings. Everything I do is specific to me because I’ve gotten into the habit of learning what I need in these difficult moment.

I recently had a moment of feeling insecure, in hindsight I can see that I had attached a particular outcome of a situation to me feeling good. And so when it didn’t turn out that way I felt the opposite. I wanted to share this because it’s useful to have more specific and less generic examples.

So here’s what I did:

1 Phoned a friend

I had an almost 2 hour phone call with a dear friend. This particular person is someone I trust and find easy to talk to about anything. We spoke about what we’ve been up to, future plans and we laughed a lot. They knew I was feeling a bit off however, I didn’t end up offloading and allowing my inner monologue to run wild because I know that there probably isn’t much this person could say to shift my feelings. Instead, I appreciated them making the time and supporting me. Plus, laughter is really the best medicine and probably helped more than any discussion about how I was feeling and why would have.

2 Did my morning routine in the afternoon

There are three things I do every morning at the moment: a 10 minute singing bowl meditation, my gratitude practice and reading my monthly manifesto (a passage that sets clear intentions for what I’m working on at the moment). I wasn’t feeling great that morning so I didn’t do it but later I remembered how much that simple 15 minutes each morning really helps set the tone for my day and establishes the possibility of how I can feel. And so I just did it in the afternoon and it helped me feel a lot better.

3 EFT

Emotional Freedom Technique also known as tapping is something I have been doing for a few years now. I went through the tapping points and essentially just reminded myself that even though I may feel the way I was feeling it’s not permanent and I’ll be okay. EFT is something that really works wonders for me.

4 Rest

Instead of just putting my feelings aside and getting on with my day I decided to rest. Sometimes the best thing to do is allow yourself to be bare minimum and work on things you need to do later when you’re feeling better. It doesn’t always help to just get on with it, especially when the work isn’t urgent.

NLP changed me

When I first discovered NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), it felt pretty radical. I was going through a difficult time and it helped to have something new to learn about that could in turn help me. I bought a book, read it and it changed my life.

It wasn’t so different that it felt weird or hard to take it. But it was new enough that I found myself evolving in order to become open to it.

I was a fairly pessimistic person at the time with a lot of unhelpful beliefs so the idea that underlying every behaviour is a positive intention was hard to take in. Yet at the same same, something like if what you are doing isn’t working, do something else felt pretty wonderful.

When you’re going through a challenging period life can feel very rigid and brittle, as though change isn’t quite possible. But then I had this book telling me that I could just ‘do something else’ which almost didn’t even occur to me at the time because I felt so stuck.

And so today lets highlight and celebrate the journeys we’re on, the things we’ve overcome and our ability to embrace life with a little more flow because change is always possible.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

But more specifically, what do you do to support yourself when you feel overwhelmed?

The answers might be exactly the same or perhaps you can’t find an answer to the second question.

Maybe when you’re overwhelmed you go into an unconscious downward spiral. You might not know it yet but maybe taking deep breaths, doing EFT or going for a walk are things you can do to support yourself.

Those are some things that I find useful.

If you don’t know what works for you, it might be worth taking the time to figure it out.

Meet your own needs

Sometimes we put our expectations and ideals on other people without considering the other persons own wants and needs. We feel empowered when other people meet our expectations and ideals.

This is fine when things go our way. However, it is important to be able to accept that the other person is entitled to their own expectations and ideals too.

Sometimes they won’t align with yours which may lead to them saying no instead of yes. This can result in a form of tantrum behaviour.

The thing is though, even though you want what you want, it’s not healthy to want it at the expense of the other person.

It’s not healthy to want another person to be miserable, inconvenienced or go against their own needs just so you can have your way. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with asking for what you want.

You just have to keep in mind that you might not get that from the person you’re asking it of. But I believe that it is so important to give people the space to be themselves instead of trying to force them to follow your expectations and ideals.

And sometimes the best thing you can do is stop putting your stuff on other people and meet your own needs.

Opening up

The idea of opening up is often used to refer to situations where perhaps you’re going through something. You’re advised to open up to allow people to do things like support, help and care for you.

But I like to apply the idea of opening up to those that are closed off, in general. Perhaps you don’t open up because you have a fear of being seen. Sometimes, the truth is that you’ve allow yourself to be so consumed by the potential opinion of others that you’ve taught yourself to be as neutral as possible.

This can show up as being someone who finds it hard to say what they do and don’t like. Perhaps you’re used to saying things like ‘it’s fine’ when it’s not or ‘I don’t mind’ when you really do.

Maybe you think that no one will listen, maybe you don’t value your voice. It could even be that you’re just trying to avoid attention.

But the game of life is that by choosing not to open up you end up in situations where you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t feel heard and you’re accepting things you don’t want. Meanwhile you think that by being closed off and essentially hiding you’re making things easier for yourself.

Opening up not only gives you space to be yourself, it gives others the chance to see you as you are.

Debunking myths about writers

There is this idea about writers, infact it applies to creatives in general. The idea is that our best work comes from a place of negative experience that serves as the poker that stokes our flames of creativity.

I enjoy writing about being a writer, mainly because it’s a title I struggle to attach to myself as a blogger. However, here in this space where all I do is write, I suppose I am a writer.

There are all these ideas about the way that writers should be and it’s strange that we cling to them, even the negative ones.

A common one is the idea of the tortured writer. For them the writing process is like some sort of possession where it takes over and you have no choice but to sit and write until you are possessed no more.

I used to carry the belief that the best work or at least the best of my own work had to come from a place of sadness, anger or frustration. It’s not that I looked for those things but I found myself happy to use experiences that brought on those emotions as opportunities to write something.

Then one day after catching up with a dear friend, I left with a full heart and inspiration to write. When I started to write, the words poured out with such great ease like they have so many times before. the only difference was that this time I was full of joy.

In that moment, I realised that I had debunked the myths that I had once believed about myself as a writer.

Figure out what you need

Through periods of overwhelm it’s easy to feel lost and stuck. When there are 101 problems finding a solution can be challenging.

Often, the best place to start is by figuring out what you need in the moment.

Finish the sentence:

When I feel anxious in a crowded place, I need…

Perhaps you’re in a crowded place feeling anxious, sirens are going off in your mind and part of you just wants to go home this instant.

But all you need is a moment alone in a quiet place to do something soothing like count, a sensory exercise or tapping.

It takes practice to know what you need, practice to know when to apply it and practice to be able to take space to care for yourself.

But practice makes perfect so it’s worth a try.

You and everybody else

When you’re going through something uncomfortable, difficult or challenging it can be easy to forget that other people are experinecing something similar.

Millions if not billions of people have gotten nervous before a job interview, been heartbroken or struggled with anxiety.

It’s not specific to you or personal to you, it just happens to be happening in your life at the moment.

But it’s happening to everybody else too.