As I type this, the world feels like it’s quite literally falling apart. It’s the end of the summer in the year 2021 and while we are all coming out of our own post traumatic stress of what Covid has brought us individually, huge doses of reality are hitting us from all directions. Just when we all started to get hopeful for our lives to go back to normal….bam, think again. My overwhelm can leave me feeling paralyzed. And then my overthinking kicks in. When I say I overthink literally everything, it is literally every single thought that comes through my head. And there are a lot of em. Does this narrative resonate with you?
Scene: Making Dinner.
”Guess I need to go to the grocery store which means seeing humans during a surge in covid cases. This country makes me so angry”……”Ugh, I feel so bad that I’ll be using gas and creating more damage to our planet”…..”If I go to Whole Foods, am I a terrible human for supporting Jeff Bezos? But their flowers make me happy”….”I am seriously so privileged to even be able to afford to shop here”….”Is this chicken organically raised? I really value eating sustainably. Is that too much?”…..”Recipe calls for cheese….is dairy causing me to feel heavier than normal these days?”….”I should probably exercise after work to feel better about that, but I have so much work to do! I don’t want to let down my clients”….”How can I better serve my clients without feeling terrible about being a realtor during a housing crisis?”…..”Shit, is that my ex boyfriend!?”…”Why am I worrying about so much when other people in this world are suffering?!”….”Definitely made awkward eye contact with ex boyfriend.”
END SCENE (except just kidding, it keeps going until I go to bed)
Can anyone relate ? A lot of the times, I feel like I can’t do anything right. How will my actions, purchases, and life choices impact the greater good? It can feel super duper overwhelming. One thing I can tell you FOR SURE that I’ve learned over the years of taming the wild beasts in my head – Hi, My name is Meagan and I’m an Empath – is that when I catch myself in these cycles, I know without a doubt that I’m out of alignment and I need to do something about it, stat. Recognizing that your thoughts aren’t normal for the moment (or weeks or months) is crucial, and then taking some action, even a small step, will make you feel better. Side note: shaming yourself for your feelings never did anybody any good.
Okay, so I catch myself in this cycle again and try to do one or all of the below on my list. But first, deep breaths in and out of the nose which activates the parasympathetic (calming) nerve receptors of the body. Please keep in mind that I’m not a mental health expert and I highly recommend you contact a medical provider if need be. These things just tend to work for me:
- Get outside – The ENTIRE reason I live in the mountains is because I have access to nature. It’s the number one thing to calm my nervous system and I’m so grateful to pop out my back door and hop on a trail with my dog. Nature does absolute wonders for the mind, body, and soul. When so much seems to be going wrong, looking at the beauty of nature reminds me that so much is also so right. If you don’t live in the mountains, just go for a walk wherever you are. Fresh air is a great cure.
- Dog Time – Realizing that I am one dog’s entire world makes me feel a little bit better about how I’m contributing in life. Rudy Boots relies on me for everything so that makes me feel like I’m doing something right. Dog snuggles are more these days and chats with your pooch can be a great venting session.
- Talk It Out – Call a trusted friend, talk to your partner, call your mom, or see above and talk to your dog. Whoever is willing to hold space for you while you get it all out, without holding judgement is key. A licensed therapist can offer a different persepective and solutions for any anxieties and fear you may have.
- Exercise – For me, yoga wins every time. The breath + movement does wonders no matter what the class, or just doing a quick session at home. Running and walking are also really therapeutic in calming my racing mind. This is your sign to get out there for a stroll around the block. You can’t tell me that didn’t make ya feel better!
- Meditation – I’ve been meditating for years and have my practice down, but if you are looking to start, I highly recommend the Headspace app or search Youtube – there are so many out there. Trust me, it works wonders. Meditation is the ultimate in reprogramming neural pathways in your brain and calming our nervous systems.
- Noticing my triggers – And working through them. I’ve been a huge fan of To Be Magnetic’s programs for years now and they’ve really helped me reprogram old patterns, beliefs, and behaviors. In the simplest way I can explain this…..when I get triggered by something, I hold space for it and try to pinpoint exactly what I’m feeling. I then take it to my journal and just write it out…..how I feel, why I think I feel that way, how I want to feel, and where I think the root of this icky feeling comes from. Journaling helps open up my subconscious and start to get to the bottom of things. I now see them as gifts, I know that sounds weird, but they truly are there to show you what you need to work on.
- Limit News and Social Media – The news is literally making money off of negative and fear mongering headlines, and holy shit does it work. My heart and soul hurt every time I read one or see a news clip so I truly try to stay away from it all, for my own mental health. It feels wrong and selfish to say that, but the media companies are doing their job and royally freaking me out. I even had to do this for my own local news outlets – the negative energy was so draining. I don’t want to be completely tone deaf to what is happening in the world so I limit what articles I read and consume to sources I trust. Our house is a “no TV house”, unless we are watching a show series or movie together. Turning off the TV and not having consistent background noise of any news channel does wonders for your mental state which I highly recommend doing. Just turn it off! As far as social media, taking breaks is necessary. Trust me when I say that you won’t miss anything too important.
- Donate to a Cause – Speaking of mula, I know that little ol’ me can’t do much to make a big impact on issues happening in the world and the best thing I can do is donate to a cause. Is there something bothering you right now that you can’t stop thinking about? Donate! Research and learn more, then send some love that way. They will make sure the money gets put to good use to help whatever it is that needs our help. The impact and power of a dollar can go far and adds up.
- Create – Whatever it is that your do to just create in the world, do it. For me, writing this blog post is creating content and super therapeutic. I truly don’t even care if anyone reads this but I’m putting something together and putting it out there. Do you paint, knit, take photos? Go get a coloring book. Focus on creating something beautiful instead of all of the negativity that surrounds us. We all could use some more beauty in the world!
- Get Good Sleep! This one is my numbah one! I take CBD or THC gummies to help me fall asleep when the monsters come out to play. If I’m feeling super anxious and heavy, I let myself sleep in and/or take naps in the afternoon. Our minds need to relax and take breaks, too. I think the feeling of being overwhelmed is our bodies telling us to get grounded and try to chill out.
So that’s what I’ve got for today kids. Hang in there. Know that we are truly all in this together. I hope one of these tips resonates with you and seriously let me know if it helps.