It is really easy to give advice in hindsight or just from an outsiders perspective. However, when you are in the midst of a personal challenge it can be difficult to know how to help yourself in the moment. It’s something that takes time and practice.
I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve felt stuck. Sometimes sitting around, wallowing and doing the bare minimum feels like the only thing that you can muster the effort for. However, if you’re willing to step outside of yourself and whatever situation you’re in you’ll see that there are plenty of other things you can do that would be much more useful.
Doing a workout because endorphins make you feel good.
Going for a walk in nature because nature is a healer or will at least help you feel calm.
Venting to someone that won’t give advice because often you just want to be heard and don’t need someone to tell you what to do.
Have a solo dance party because your favourite music will always brighten your day.
Journaling to work through your feelings because it helps bring clarity.
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.
I think that this matters and I think I think that this is important.
If you had a conversation with a lot of companies, particularly since this covid pandemic, they would have something to say about the importance of wellbeing.
We’re all aware that peoples mental health and general wellbeing has been impacted by the pandemic for various reasons. It could be a lack of social interaction, feeling lonely, the change in routine, fear of getting sick, job security, financial issues and more.
But it might not be the pandemic that is the issue. What about if you go to work and you’re treated poorly, ignored, lied to, there’s a lack of trust, you feel stifled, you’re constantly overlooked, people don’t listen to you and you don’t feel respected, you might not even be aware of the impact it can have or is having on you.
Those things can have a significant impact on a persons wellbeing, particularly when they’re happening regularly.
And sometimes in the workplace these things are very covert. When you speak up you get generic responses that lack sincerity but are somehow just enough. Just enough for you to feel like you were overreacting, that maybe you’re not trying hard enough and that things will be better in the future.
However, if you’ve given things a chance to get better and things haven’t improved then you need to decide if the job is actually worth it.
Are you willing to sacrifice your wellbeing for the sake of a job?
If you don’t think you’re good enough that belief will have a major impact on how you experience life.
You’ll have a hard time identifying when you’re being treated poorly because you have such low standards for yourself. This could be with a friend, romantic partner, family member, colleague or even a stranger.
Perhaps someone is unkind to you and instead of speaking up you sit and internalise it. You find yourself almost justifying it with things like ‘it’s not that bad’, ‘they probably didn’t mean anything by it’ or ‘at least they didn’t…’. Your sense of self is so low that you’re willing to accept below the bare minimum.
This can be an awful thing to experience and can result in mental health problems like anxiety or depression. However, it can also serve as a catalyst for change. You’ll reach a point where you can no longer accept the way that you’re being treated because it feels like a betrayal. When you realise that you shouldn’t be okay with people doing things like ignore you, lie to you and overlook you, you’ll be much less willing to accept it.
Suddenly, the awareness you’ve gained has given you the opprtunity to live a very different life that you didn’t even know was available to you.
It could mean ending friendships, resigning from your job, having conversations that feel difficult, settling firm boundaries, saying no and learning to stand up for yourself.
That might seem daunting but if you focus on the fact that life will be a easier to navigate when you think better of yourself, that should at least give you the motivation to get started.
People that have have a habit of taking on more than they can manage rarely make the effort to try and ease their load. Instead they accept the period of stress as though there is no other choice. In fact they’ve come to rely on the stress and looming deadlines to spur them on and get things done.
However, this doesn’t always work. Sometimes the stress just leaves you stressed.
That’s not what you want when you’re under the impression that you can use stress to your advantage.
Sometimes stress leaves you overwhelmed and unable to focus like normal to the point where you’d rather quit than carry on. It’s not healthy to put yourself under unnecessary pressure, especially when you have the option to make things easier for yourself.
And so start paying attention to yourself. How much can you take on before you start to feel overwhelmed? Learn to start saying no before you reach your limit and end up feeling overloaded.
Think about all the things that are currently bothering you, contribute to you feeling stuck or just causing a problem in your life. Write them down one by one.
Now go through each of them and think about what needs to change in order to overcome the problem. Then, write it down.
If you’re not sure, give yourself options. It could be 2 possible solutions or it could be 10.
The purpose of the exercise is to remind you that although you may feel stuck, all of your problems have solutions.
It could be difficult, challenging and uncomfortable. But it also serves as an opportunity to learn and grow, if you’re willing to be open.
If you’re a regular reader then growth points is a term you’ll have seen me use every now and then in posts such as Bravery and uncontrollable outcomes, Day 183, It’s okay to be you and Unexpected and interesting.
However, I recently realised that I’ve never really explained the term or idea in great detail. I made the term up for myself and to be honest it’s just an alternative to the word challenge. However, the focus is on growth and overcoming rather than the difficulty of the situation.
When you face a situation that perhaps in the moment you wish wasn’t happening, it’s easy to just think that ‘it’s the most terrible thing in the world’. You then might find yourself getting caught in a downward spiral of unhelpful thoughts that leave you feeling stuck.
That mindset or perspective that you find yourself in never leads to growth. You have to find a way to get through it and see things differently.
I think the getting through it part is most challenging because it can be easy to stay stuck. A moment of sadness can turn into hours or days of wallowing.
One thing that helps is to be very conscious in how you think about the situations that come up in your life instead if just getting caught up. Acknowledge it as a challenging situation rather than blowing it out of proportion and allowing one situation to become your entire life.
And from that perspective you can begin to think about how you can grow from it. The great thing is that once you grow from it, you can now take that lesson forward with you for as long as it serves you well. Then next time something happens you can fall back that all that you’ve previously experienced, learnt and grown from.
If you aspire to allow your curiosity to come out and play then this quote is one to live by.
Asking questions can be scary and uncomfortable so taking on a mindset that no question is stupid may help to relieve some of those feelings. But after mustering up the courage to ask, if you don’t get the kind of answer you’d have liked then you can end up feeling disheartened and wishing that you’d just said nothing.
However in this situation, it’s important to focus on the action, not the outcome. keeping quite may leave you riddled with fear and anxiety which comes with little to no benefit. But if you can relieve that by simply asking a question then why not?
Granted nobody wants to hear ‘no’ when they were pining for a ‘yes’. Nevertheless, I think it’s much better to unburden yourself and perhaps end up a little disappointed than it is to keep carrying the burden of an unanswered question even though you know you don’t have to.
It can be incredibly frustrating when you find yourself falling behind and struggling to keep up.
You end up feeling like there’s something wrong with you and you might even begin to question yourself in order to figure out why you can’t keep up.
And sometimes it leads to wondering whether you’re good enough or wondering if you should quit.
In these moments, think it’s useful to offer yourself a little bit of kindness. If you can’t keep up, berating yourself won’t help or make it any easier to catch up.
Perhaps it would be much more useful to offer yourself some kindness instead.
It’s been said that reassurance is something that we can’t get enough of. It’s strange to think about how we seek reassurance to keep our fears at bay but each time we get it we crave more and more often finding ourselves feeling stuck without it.
When you sit and watch a persons anxieties and fears play out in front of you, your immediate response is probably to console them with reassurance. You’ll find yourself saying things like ‘It’ll be alright’, it’s not necessarily because you believe it but instead because you don’t want them to feel low.
But reassurance is never enough so when the person continues on you might find yourself bored of the anxieties. It’s not that you don’t care but instead that you’ve accepted no amount of reassurance will change this persons mind so there’s no point in trying.
The lesson in all this is that sometimes people just want to vent, be heard and feel supported. Often that will work better to ease the anxieties rather than trying to use reassurance to make it go away.