We all have times we experience super-stress. Not just regular stress, but super-strength-super-stress that flies into our lives, its brilliant cape trailing behind, wrapping us up into a whirlwind of chaos. I know, it sounds dramatic; but it happens.
How do we get through that superhero-level stress? I think it’s different for everyone and I’m not necessarily an expert on how to get through it in a healthy way; yet, I’ve had my fair share of this nasty kryptonite kind of pressure. I’ve managed to muddle through. And I think I’m half-way normal. (OK, maybe not half-way…)
This is what has worked for me:
- Reach out. Talk to someone you trust. Someone who will listen to you have a good ‘ol rant and rave, if that’s what you need. Someone who will let you cry. Whatever it is you need, find someone who can offer that to you. Just be sure it’s an appropriate person for the situation and someone you truly trust.
- Reach out again. This time, after you get all the surface level, first-response icky-yucky emotions off your chest, reach out to someone who will listen, but also help anchor you in perspective. While we do need people who will listen to us rant and rave and be fiercely loyal to us, we also need those calm individuals who love us and know us, those who can ground us after all those intense emotions fly around. It’s the deep-breath time. The re-focus time.
- Come up with a mantra to get you through the rough patch. I just recently watched this video by Danielle LaPorte and it resonated with me. She said our mantra should be, “I’ll figure it out” not “I don’t know what I’m going to do!” In step one, we can cry and wail and say life isn’t fair (it’s often not). During that time, it’s OK to worry about what we’re going to do, how we’re going to get through. It’s normal to be overwhelmed and scared. At some point, though, we have to grip our own shoulders, look our frightened selves in the eyes, grit our teeth, and say, “I WILL FIGURE THIS OUT.” Why? Because you will. You will figure it out.
- Next step? Start figuring it out. Take some time to be quiet. Ask yourself what you really, really want and how you can get it. Maybe you don’t have the answer, but most likely you know someone who does. If you do, reach out to that person. If you don’t think you know someone who has an answer, you certainly know someone who knows someone who does have an answer. I promise. So reach out to someone you think might know someone who knows. Ha! Are you still with me?
This is the time to get strategic. I like to think of it as getting creative. You start to decide and create what you want things to look like in the future. I also have come to believe that not only is it vital to do this step, but it's also vital to actually allow yourself to feel it's a bit fun. Even in the depths of despair, there is light. You can find something to look forward to that would bring you joy in the future. It's not macabre or insensitive to do this. It will help you through the process.
In the depths of super-stress, things aren't the way you want them to be; but how things are right this very moment will not stay the same. It will be different in a few hours or a few days. Nothing stays the same.
Knowing that frees you to let go (a little bit) of the need to hold on to current pain or disappointment caused by that super-sleuthy stress. In knowing that the immense challenge you’re currently experiencing will not last forever, you can let yourself feel it, accept it’s part of the experience, and trust it will not stay this intense always and forever. You will survive it in your own way. You will.
Often times, our super-stress events can be wake-up calls. We might need to do something different. Make a change. Perhaps you actually really know that somewhere in your heart. Be honest with yourself - and others, if necessary - about it: even if it’s scary.
Be open to possible opportunities, even if they seem out-of-the-box or nontraditional. Sometimes, a bit of creative thinking/problem solving makes it all possible. But you often have to talk to people to help you even see those possibilities. Well, that’s the case for me, anyway.
- Take time for yourself. Let go of any responsibilities or obligations that aren’t absolutely necessary. Sleep-in if you have to. Do something nice for yourself. Every day. And try your best not to feel guilty about it.
- Laugh. Pinterest is great and so are Youtube videos. I know it sounds cheesy, but when I feel shitty, watching a funny video can really lift me out of a rut. At least for five minutes. Want to know what I think is funny? You can look at my pinterest board. When you laugh, you reconnect to that part of you who believes you're strong enough and believes you can get through. Believes you will figure it out.
- Devise a plan. Work on it. And as you work on your plan, when things feel shitty again, because sometimes they will, then know that’s OK. Let yourself feel that sadness, especially if there’s a loss of some sort involved. When we lose something (a job, a loved one, an opportunity, or we move), it’s normal to feel some grief. Often we grieve the what-could’ve-been, the possibilities. It’s OK. Do that. And then tell yourself after you have a good cry, “I’ll figure it out.”
How do you deal with the super-stress superpowers?
Please join in with our blog circle and travel over to the amazing New York-based photographer, Gail Haile to read her "HOW TO" post. I invite you to get a nice cup of tea or coffee, sit down, and read through the other beautiful blog posts about "how to..."
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