We’ve all had times like this- inevitable awfulness. It just can’t be avoided. We are humans, in soft shells, existing in a constantly changing and uncontrollable world.
There are things which must simply be endured. Unfixable oncoming storms lap first at our toes, then rise to waists, necks, nostrils. Breathing becomes a job. We gotta keep going.
During hard times, I gather coping tools. Here are a few that help me-
The practice of self-compassion. This exercise can get me through low-level panic. I place a hand over my heart, say to myself, “this is really hard,” and breathe. This is often followed by a release of tears, and a feeling of integration.
Nonviolent Communication teaches that feelings serve the purpose of helping us meet our needs. Rather than judging feelings as good or bad, NVC shows how some feelings are likely to occur when our needs are met, and other feelings are likely to occur when our needs are not met. I use GROK cards when I’m flooded with emotion. The cards help me whittle down my feelings, and find the needs beneath them. I then focus on meeting my needs, and request help from others.
There are many apps made to help with anxiety, mindfulness, and meditation. The one pictured here is SAM (Self-help for Anxiety Management) and is available for free on iTunes. I’ve used this app to set up a tool-kit of calming guided exercises. I love how technology has leveled-up my self-care!
Finally, finding things that helps us meet our own needs is a must-do. Brené Brown calls this a Comfort Wisdom List. Being aware of my needs and options for meeting them is empowering. I am not helpless. I can love myself. I know what nourishes me, and I do more of those things during hard times.
We are human. Life is uncertain. Some seasons will be difficult. The bottom line- we are resilient. We endure. By gathering our little menu of coping tools, we invest in ourselves and those around us. We set ourselves up for personal growth and healing. We can do this. I believe in us.