How to keep calm in difficult times
Life is full of ups and downs; life is messy and refuses to let us take control as much we try and no more so than in 2020! Over the past few years my life has been a constant rollercoaster with huge challenges in my personal and professional life as well as with my health on top of juggling all the day to day stuff.
Sometimes I feel that since I started my own wellbeing journey to bring more calm into my life, someone has conspired against me to bring even more problems into play just to make sure I am definitely learning and growing! I'm finding the following all help me keep calm when things get really rough...
Breathing - an easy one to do but easy to overlook and forget. I am on a learning curve with meditation and I still find it hard to fit this in every day but as soon as I focus on slowing down my breathing, my whole body relaxes. Although my mind doesn't stop, the pace of the thoughts certainly calms down. My heart rate slows down and I can feel myself restoring and relaxing. In turn, I can then think more clearly and less erractically which helps me start to reframe what might be going on to help me feel more resourceful and positive.
Perspective - this is key for me in order to deal with any fear and panic that my perceived crisis is starting to develop inside me. Sometimes I know that I can take a different perspective but this doesn't help me calm down until I can feel connected to that belief and my emotions respond accordingly in a positive way. For example I might know that I have done all I can to resolve a problem but I still feel guilty that I perhaps should have done more or perhaps I got things wrong in the first place and it's all my fault. I need to keep reminding myself to trust my instincts and the more distance I have from a problem, the easier it is for me to develop a more positive perspective around what is happening. I also rely a great deal on my support group to check I'm seeing things clearly.
Taking things slowly - whilst i'm trying to develop a more helpful perspective, my emotions can go up and down. My adrenaline shoots up high when I feel angry or scared and then when this drops, I can feel very tired, overwhelmed and down. I'm learning to be open to accepting this is how I feel at this moment in time and that it is for a good reason given the challenges I am facing. If I'm tired I try not to put extra pressure on myself to keep going and to make sure I slow down, rest and eat properly. At extremely stressful points, I find sleeping or walking on my own a great way to reset.
What am I grateful for - I haven't managed to establish a daily gratitude practice but I do know when I feel tired and beaten, I am definitely restored by looking around me to see what is beautiful in my life. Undoubtedly this includes my little girl who brings me so much happiness, my family and friends, my home, my village and getting out into the countryside. These are all the things that give me solace at times when I feel it's all getting too much. They bring a positive balance into my life and allow me to stay more present and accept what is happening in the moment as opposed to becoming overwhelmed with potential worry and fear.
Stretching - no matter how tired I am, I feel 20% better just by getting on to my mat and stretching my body. Even 15 minutes can make this difference. And it stops me worrying that my back problems may return.
It will pass - the problems of the last few years have been relentless, so I do wonder with this one sometimes! However at the same time, I have never experienced such moments of peace and calm thanks to being able to learn and grow from dealing with all of the challenges in my life. Although I would settle for a little less growth just for a short while at least! Maybe next year will be the one...