Practicing Self Kindness during Chaotic Times
In our therapy practice, we are seeing clients who are struggling with the current state of things. There has been a lot to manage in the past year. A pandemic raging through the country, social isolation, political unrest, etc. On top of that, many of us are craving some sense of normalcy. One of the things that can give us that sense of normalcy is returning to a time that was less stressful. It could also be a time where we weren’t experiencing such levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and even trauma. It’s natural to crave those nostalgic feelings of that time that felt a little simpler.
When we experience ongoing stress and anxiety, or are really troubled by what has been happening in our environment, we can be tough on ourselves. We can believe that we should be handling the situations with more grace. In other words, we can really be hard on ourselves for struggling. Yet struggling is normal, especially at times like this.
Release Emotions Where You Can
When our environment is stressful, it builds up. You have to identify ways of releasing and discharging emotions so that they don’t build up and intensify (and spill over). Whether it’s anger, anxiety, or fear, it’s important to release them. The easiest strategy I recommend for doing so is to name how you’re feeling to someone who you trust. Then get into what is leading to these feelings. Following this strategy is a good first step to experimenting with discharging emotions. However, therapy modalities such as Somatic Experiencing and EMDR can also help with this as well.
No Feelings Last Forever
When you’re experiencing tough and difficult emotions, remember that no feeling lasts forever. The intensity goes up and down. So if the intensity is high, sometimes it’s best to just hang with it and follow it with a little curiosity. It doesn’t mean that it will necessarily go away. But sometimes we can believe that all levels of an emotion are the same. The problem with this is that we start dreading the emotions, even though ALL of our emotions are normal human experiences. When you accept the highs and lows of emotions, you’ll build a stronger relationship with your emotions.
Circling Back is Critical
Sometimes, we fail. We don’t realize how intense the emotions are that we’re feeling. Then we lash out, ignore people who we love and care about, and make rash decisions. When you do this, it’s important to circle back to people in your life who you maybe haven’t been connected with. Say you’re sorry, and DON’T MAKE EXCUSES. Then figure out how you can feel a lot more connected.
Identify Where You Can Lean
We can’t get through this alone. We have to have some level of connection. That’s not just true with this situation, but is true in all aspects of our lives. Identify who in your life you trust with personal information about what is happening and how you feel. It doesn’t always immediately feel good to share personal stuff. However, we’re wired for connection.
Self-Care Is More Important Now than Ever Before
Exercise, inching towards eating better, socialization and fun are all important. And yes, there are barriers to all of these things. Yet we can’t sacrifice them entirely. I recommend adding these things little by little and mindfully. It’s natural to look for a lack of opportunities at times like this rather than opportunities themselves. However, they are out there. See where you can find some increased enjoyment.
Please feel free to contact us if you’re struggling with emotional release or relationships during this trying time.