Peace of Mind Hacks - Finding Calm in Stormy Times
This has been an extraordinary year filled with divisiveness which has become quite overwhelming to so very many.
More and more folks come to me sharing about their feelings of being overwhelmed, not just from the influences and expectations of their day to day obligations, rather from the barrage of bad, sad, and mean spirited news and opinions that come at us 24/7.
I, too, found myself submitting to this feeling and really suffering from it as a result. I started to notice that my mood and mode had shifted. My energy level was clearly down and I was feeling depressed. It was too dark for me. This year was too much. I needed to find a solution.
Setting Boundaries -- Not Building Walls
I wanted to share these simple steps which I took, employing some of the techniques which I express often with y’all – setting boundaries. I needed to build a protective barrier, not impenetrable but protective.
I did two things in combination which are staples in my self-care recommendations for you.
One, I said NO. You’ve heard it before yet it is worth repeating. NO is a complete sentence. I said no in a slightly different way. And, I set into play, the second technique.
Two, I set a personal boundary for my day.
I made the decision to not look at the news during the daytime, but instead chose one time during the late day or early evening to catch up on all the updates, reports and headlines. I had confidence that there would be sources who would find me, who would ping me immediately, if there was earth shattering information of which I needed to be aware.
This was not to say, that I put my head in the sand, nor did I let go of being a responsible citizen. I simply chose not to engage in the steady information stream rushing in at all hours of the day. I chose to stop letting it determine my sense of well being and constantly throw me off my balance.
What I did was establish boundaries. I said “No” to the feelings of overwhelm. I knew I had to draw a line as the information overflow had seeped into every moment of every day and was literally, by osmosis or otherwise, invading my very soul.
Giving Change a Chance…
It wasn’t easy at first. After all, the non-stop breaking news headlines, pop-up alerts and tweet notifications are incredibly addictive. Still, I cannot tell you the relief I have felt from doing so.
Again, this is in no way saying that I completely stepped away from knowing and learning what was happening in our external world, in the environment in which we are connected. Rather, what I did was really set the boundary, so that I could take information in from pre-selected and vetted sources within a limited time frame with space in between to process the information. Just like my body needs to assimilate new foods or exercise, this gave my brain, body and spirit the opportunity to absorb and adapt to the information received.
It is truly overwhelming to be subject to such turbulent times full of one disheartening news story after the next and the vitriolic tone that pushes this moment in history along. We are truly good spirited souls and it really can take the life out of you. It is soul-sucking, as I gently refer to this phenomena.
What I found was relief, a sense of peace.
Did I feel completely released from the tensions and the stress which we are exposed to in our current environment? No, I would be overstating since the sheer amount of crazy is unprecedented. It is the new normal to have a steady stream of ‘in the moment’ news being fed to us nonstop.
Yet, the feeling of helplessness was lifted; I felt I had a better sense of being grounded. I was able to incorporate more life and hope into my world without that sick feeling in my gut 24/7.
To this day, in this most unusual of times, I continue to use these techniques. I proudly limit my exposure with intention and selectively. It’s important to point out, I do so with the established boundaries built out of self-preservation. I still have conversations about the latest news updates, however, rather than every conversation being focused on the latest bad or sad news, other topics are the mainstay. I would like to point out that setting limits has been a true lifesaver and kept my relationships whole and healthier.
In the end, I must say that I know the good in people will shine through, because many of us do stay engaged, do take responsibility, and do take action to make ourselves and our world better and healthier place each and every day.
I know I am not alone with this feeling of emotional overload and I want you to know you are also not alone. In the spirit of building some positive community, let’s get a conversation going in the comments section below.
What have you been doing to keep your head on and your heart whole?