Karlta Zarley - February Newsletter
Volume 17; Number 2
February 26, 2020
HOW CAN I KEEP GOING WHEN THINGS ARE SO HARD???
This month we want to talk to you about the things you can do to make it a little easier to keep moving forward in the world when your spirit is flagging and you feel like giving up. When there is a lot of stress, whether that is personal or societal (or like now it is both), our bodies go into high alert status. To stay there for very long is exhausting for the physical body, so when there is no relief in sight for either a big personal stressor or some consistently ongoing combination of personal and societal stressors, then the physical body recalibrates and does several things. It narrows the “bandwidth” or the ability of the brain to both perceive incoming issues (to prevent overwhelm) and the ability to think clearly across the spectrum of what is happening and how to respond. Because of this, you will notice that you make more mistakes than usual—paying bills, making and keeping appointments, keeping yourself on your spiritual path of trying not to worry, becoming irritable, etc. Another thing that can happen is “self-medicating” with anything from alcohol and/or drugs, to addictions such as retail therapy, gaming, eating, etc. These things numb the mind and make it easier to not look at the stressors. Please note that it doesn't take the stressors away, nor the need to respond to them, only the desire to stay on top of them. This is a self-sabotaging behavior.
But there are several things you can do to counter this so that you are more functional and also less bleak-feeling! Here are six things here you can do—I'm sure you can think of others that are also specific to you yourself!
First, build more time into your schedule. If you are a person that tries to maximize how much you get done in a day, which many are because we somehow think this gives us more self-worth, build in an extra 15 minutes between things you need to do or places you need to go. Carry a fun book with you to read when you have a little extra time on your hands, but you will find that you are no longer running late or having to rush to everything, both of which add self-induced pressure and stress to your life which really doesn't need to be there.
Second, lower expectations from “I and everything around me needs to be Perfect” to “It's okay if I try my best but things aren't perfect.” It doesn't sacrifice anything to lay aside perfection in favor for still trying your best but being okay with “good enough.” You are not “settling” when you do that! You are learning to stop judging yourself and others for being human. That is another self-induced stressor that we all can live without!
Third, reorder your priorities. As a nurse I really want to give the very best health care I can to every person I touch, but some days everything that can go wrong, does. I call those the days from hell. On those days, if I can say that “No one died today on my watch, it was a good day” then I am able to not judge everything from a lens of “not enough” but from a lens of “enough.” If everything is just energy in various forms, then even if the car is totaled and no one was hurt, it's a good day.
Fourth, focus on what you are truly grateful for. Sometimes this is something big like “I'm still alive after that scary surgery” and sometimes it is little but you still feel intensely grateful like “The sun is shining today” (which is a big deal here in Michigan in the winter). Whatever it is that you are grateful for, focus on it and feel it. It puts things in perspective, and gratitude acts as a stepping stone for other “higher” states like Patience, Unconditional Love or Joy when we are floundering around in a dark place emotionally or psychologically.
Fifth, strengthen your support network. Sometimes this is as simple as sending an email because you are thinking of someone. Sometimes this can look like making a pact to lean on each other when you are feeling despair or overwhelmed. Or perhaps you just get together once a month to hang out and laugh with each other. When we are overwhelmed, we often think we don't have time for this. But doing this slows us down, makes us feel connected to each other and to ourselves in ways that are very nurturing and loving when it feels like the world is a scary place.
Sixth, and I know I've said this many times before, do something to nurture your spirit every single day of the week. It might be for 20-30 minutes, but even 5 minutes is helpful. No one, and I mean no one, doesn't have five minutes. You may not FEEL like you have five minutes, but taking five minutes soothes and smooths everything so that what used to take 20 minutes takes 10-15 minutes, and you don't make so many mistakes so you don't waste time going back and either double-checking or fixing. You make it up over the course of the day. But you have to give it to your self first for this to work. ANYTHING that quiets your mind and uplifts your spirit counts here. This is far more important in terms of self-care than eating right, getting enough sleep or getting exercise!!!
This is how you thrive rather than simply survive these times.
May you all be healthy. May you all be happy. May you all live in peace.
© 2020 Karlta Zarley
All Rights Reserved.
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