First of all, I usually do not use the terms, “sane” and “insane” however, these are some of the only words coming to my mind for the title of this blog piece. There is a lot of upset, uncertainty and unrest going on right now in the United States from Orlando to Baton Rouge to Minnesota to Dallas. People are enraged, in pain, frightened, worried and confused among many other emotions and thoughts. This post is to give you 15 tips on how to stay balanced during deeply troubling times. Please keep in mind that pain and suffering are part of the human condition, although not comfortable. In addition, love and peace exist as well. Here are the tips:
1. Limit your media time. We are bombarded with news and varying perspectives. Stories are everywhere from our computers, to print, to television. We could literally spend hours out of a day engulfed in news. It is important to be informed, but to also take breaks from all the coverage.
2. Get the facts. Use your critical thinking skills. Take information with a grain of salt. All that you read or hear is not necessarily true. Some stories are full of assumptions, opinions and biases. Weigh all the evidence before jumping to conclusions.
3. Realize there is still good in the world, good people and places, kind words and actions. All is not horrible and bad.
4. Practice basic self-care. Get sleep, eat well, take walks, brush your teeth.
5. Realize what can and cannot be controlled. We cannot control other people. We can control ourselves and how we interact with the world and others. We can control our reactions.
6. Practice balance. Spend time with positive, uplifting family members, friends and supports. Have fun and take breaks.
7. It is OK to still find humor. Go to a funny movie, watch humorous videos, go to a comedy show. Laugh.
8. Feel your feelings. Even though some feelings are uncomfortable, it can be very healthy to feel them, instead of ignoring them. I would like to emphasize that knowing self-soothing, distraction and coping skills are helpful if the feelings become too much. Watch your feelings come and go. Same with your thoughts. Thoughts are not always facts. Watch how you are talking to yourself. Are you using negative self-talk, being mean to yourself, thinking in a maladaptive, catastrophic way? Take note of this. Allow your thoughts to come and go.
9. Get involved in community volunteer work. It can feel great to help others and in turn, you feel good as well.
10. Be aware of your triggers. For those who have experienced some form of trauma (and most of us have), be aware of your triggers that may set you off. Use your coping and self-care skills.
11. Escape in nature, at the beach, in a good book.
12. Involve yourself in peaceful activism.
13. Talk with those you trust. Ask for help if you need it. Go see your therapist if this is helpful for you.
14. Remind yourself of your strengths. You have survived this far in life. What are some of your strong points that have helped you through difficult times in the past?
15. For children: emphasize love, safety, routine and structure. Let kids be kids and play.
These are not the only tips to assist during chaotic times in life, just a sampling. If you need more support, do not hesitate to reach out to me through my website at: https://www.pawkettwholementalhealthcounseling.com.
I am wishing you peace, Michelle