• Clare

Dear Overwhelm, Flip You. (Some Simple Things to Do to Feel a Bit Better Right Now.)

These last few weeks have been strange.

As we sign up to more free online courses, morning rituals, and workout classes than we can ever hope to crowbar into our calendars, and as we tune into the bizarre new breed of late night shows where hosts perform their monologues from their couches with very mixed audio quality results, it’s plain to see that a new brand of weird has arrived.

Added to that, we’re now forced to deal with neighbors who are home all the time.

That’s GREAT if you have Buddhist neighbors who have a carpeted apartment and spend most of their days praying and observing their breath.

NOT SO GREAT if you have neighbors who have hauled all their gym equipment up to their apartment for the foreseeable future, and proceed to make discourteous sounds throughout the day, forcing you to play a disturbing guessing game of Sex or Workout?, only to be marginally relieved to conclude that it’s Workout and they’re gym grunters.

But I digress.

I wanted to send this out to everyone feeling overwhelmed right now. I know how much it sucks because it happens to me too. And if you already had any kind of anxiety before the last few weeks, I also feel you, and my heart goes out to you.

My suggestions are thus:

Let yourself feel overwhelmed but don’t wallow in it. Try to find the middle ground and give your body the chance to feel the emotion fully for a limited time.

As overwhelm rears its ugly head, see if you can find out what it wants. If it could speak, what would it say? Finding out why it’s paying you a visit can often convince it to go back from whence it came, and it can also give you an idea of what to do next. Like maybe you need to tell your family members you need 30 minutes to yourself with no interruptions.

(You don’t have to heed its advice all the time, though, because it might tell you to do something less than ideal like cast your laptop into the bathtub and turn on the faucet.)

Bottom line: feel it fully (you might want to sit down for that), acknowledge it, ask it what it wants, say thanksverymuchbye, and then see if you can realistically do something about what you’re worrying about.

I also recommend writing out all of your worries on paper. This takes them out of your precious mind and into the light of day. With them in front of you, you’re in a much better position to judge them as things to be concerned about or not, and what you can do about them. This is a method I use a lot.

You know what else helps? Shaking your limbs out. You will look absolutely ridiculous doing it, but we all look absolutely ridiculous right now as we try to avoid touching anything or anyone. (My mildly uncouth habit of putting my fingernails between my teeth has never been so devastatingly apparent.) So get jiggy with (I've been listening to a lot of Will Smith lately) those arms, legs, hands and feet. It discharges the tension from your muscles and when that happens, it’s easier for your mind to follow suit.

Sending you virtual positive energy hugs,


Photo: Raychan on Unsplash

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