Do you ever have those days when you feel stuck and even though you know exactly what you need to do to get unstuck, you still do nothing?
And what you need to do could be incredibly simple. It could be as simple as watching your favoutite Key and Peele sketch on youtube, listening to your favourite pick me up song or maybe a breathwork mediation.
You might feel like doing something simple won’t help or maybe you feel like you don’t have the time. But it’s important to make the time because the feeling of being stuck won’t go away unless you do something about it.
One of the best lessons to have learnt this year is how to make the best of challenging circumstances.
I’d be highly surprised to find that there is anyone who reads this blog that has not been affected by the pandemic.
People have lost their jobs, had family and friends pass, experienced financial difficulties, had holidays postponed, struggled to cope because they’re living alone, missed moments with the people they care about, had plans cancelled and so much more.
It’s easy to end up feeling as though life can be nothing more than bleak but it’s important to remember the joys of life.
No matter what is going on if you only focus on the ‘bad bits’ it will consume your whole outlook until you can’t see past it.
Of course you can’t ignore what is going on in the world but you can make time for things that bring you joy and make you feel good.
The answer is in the question.
The feeling of being overwhelmed often comes when we don’t allow ourselves to feel something and instead adopt a go, go, go mindset.
Instead taking care of yourself and working through your feelings, you fill your mind and time with 101 distractions that will eventually catch up to you.
Or maybe you’ve taken on too much, you have a lot going on and haven’t had enough time to rest to keep you going in a way that is healthy.
What ever the case may be, you can’t keep going.
When told to stop or even just slow down we often use the excuse that we can’t. Perhaps it is that people are relying on you or you think there’s too much to be done.
But as it is those things that are causing the overwhelm, it’s exactly what you need a break from.
So stop, even just for a few minutes, it will make more of a difference than you think.
It’s strange how sometimes you can find yourself resisting the very thing that you know will help.
Maybe, it’s because it feels like too much effort or maybe you’ve forgotten how much it might benefit you.
It could be something as simple as going for a walk when you’re feeling down. Perhaps, the thought of putting on proper clothes, doing your hair and seeing other people when you’re not at your best is enough to make you think that staying inside is the better option.
But the longer you stay inside the more difficult it’ll be to convince yourself to go outside.
Sometimes even when you know something might help you can’t being yourselves to do it because you’re not in a hopeful mindset. You don’t feel like trying to make things better because in that moment you don’t even believe it’s possible.
But why not do the thing that might help anyway and see how you feel afterwards. It might not make things better but it definitely won’t make things worse.
It’s really easy to say, ‘That’s just how I am’.
Some people even use that as a way to justify continually being unkind to others or even themselves.
But the beauty of life is that we have the opportunity to change and overcome.
I recently wrote about not feeling good enough, something I struggled with for years.
As a result of feeling that way I created a life that I was unhappy with and I became someone who self-sabotaged, had little self-belief and would constantly settle for less. Furthermore, I struggled to stand up for myself.
Once I stopped passively accepting those parts of me as just the way things are, I realised that things could be different, things could be better. I also realised that I was capable of changing my own life.
At the time I didn’t feel capable and it was hard to imagine what things would be like if they were different but I started to believe it was possible.
My personal development and growth was an active change that I worked for and continue to work on.
This sort of thing is really at the crux of the message I want to share on this site. What I want for you to take away from this is you that don’t have to accept the way things are.
When you feel like you need to escape or getaway it often has nothing to do with your surroundings. Although you may find yourself wanting to book a trip or get a change of scenery in many cases it’s actually your mind that needs a rest.
You might think you need a holiday when in fact a couple of days dedicated to slowing down, quality sleep, nourishing food, soft music, a massage and a walk in nature will do you a world of good.
A major part of present day culture is working hard but it is often to our detriment. You trudge on even when you know you need a break and only stop when your body gives way.
You don’t need to reach breaking point to justify resting
As much as working hard and achieving goals is great, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your well-being.
When it comes to opening up, do you know what you need in order to feel safe?
A starting point is to ask yourself ‘Will what I am about to say be handled with care?’
I’ve learnt that people often hold their challenges dear. Even if it’s not deeply affecting them now they still require a level of care when it’s being discussed.
For example, you probably want more than just ‘oh wow, glad you’re okay’ when opening up about a past period of depression.
Another question to ask is ‘What do I want from this situation?’
Many times when we open up to people, we want something particular from them in return. But often we don’t realise until it’s too late.
A common example is discussing an issue you’re having and getting annoyed when the other person tries to offer advice or tell you what to do. Turns out you just wanted someone to listen.
And so overall, creating a safe space is a combination of knowing what makes you feel safe, voicing what you need and (as always) picking the right people.
Just a little reminder for whenever you get overwhelmed with everything that is going on. It can be easy to forget how far you’ve come or all the helpful things that you’ve learnt.
Going for a walk – I think this must be one of the most popular things that people do to clear their head plus it gets the body moving.
Sitting in silence – We rarely sit in silence there’s always something whether you’re listening by choice or it’s background noise like music, TV or a conversation.
Talking to a friend – Choose someone that will listen but be mindful and ask before offloading. You don’t have to even talk about the issue at hand maybe just have a random chat about life.
Talking to a stranger – Not literally but some that is unbiased and not part of your everyday life like a therapist or a helpline set up to support people with different issues they’re facing.
Meditation – Maybe your mediation is sitting in silence but maybe it’s a guided mediation to ease stress or anxiety. It helps to be still sometimes and we often underestimate the impact it can have because we feel like it won’t help to just stop or at least slow down.
EFT – Also known as tapping. This is probably one of the most unexpectedly helpful things I’ve ever come across. I love that it doesn’t require any materials and is easy to do.
Laughter – They call laughter the medicine of life and I believe it. Something funny can totally shift your mood on days when you feel down.
Dancing – Dancing brings me so much joy and it’s another way to get the body moving. When your feeling down and remain still it enables the emotions to become heavy and weigh you down. Plus if dancing is something you associate with fun or celebrations it’ll actually help you feel better.
Uplifting words – Whether it’s podcasts, talks, songs or books, find words that uplift you. I even find it helpful to read back my own words because much of what I write is timeless and based around overcoming challenges.
Now might be the perfect time.
If you find yourself stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, you might also feel a little helpless.
But the chances are you actually have a pretty good idea of what you can do to help yourself.
Rest, put your phone down, turn off your tv or computer, phone a friend, stretch…
However, despite knowing what to do and knowing what will help, we refuse to tend to our own needs.
People will often say things like I don’t have time to rest or I’m too busy to take a break.
But the truth is that mindset comes from not valuing taking care of your well being.
It might feel strange at first but it’s much better for you to regularly rest from life than to be forced to rest every time you work yourself into the ground.