It’s Hard Out There

So I’m sending some Care and Calm

We already know this pandemic time has wreaked havoc on many (like the whole world); and has lasted for far too long, and has required us to dig deep inside to find our superpowers in order to be able to deal. We already know the fierce and devastating impact on People of Color particularly and vulnerable people, communities, lands in general.

This current wave of surges, re-openings, getting back to school, mandates to mask/test/vaccinate (or the crazy mandates to NOT mandate these things); combined with voter suppression, climate destruction, continued racial injustice, crazy economics, and everything else already challenging the world; has tapped into everyone’s last nerve.

I have heard from so many folks lately, who are feeling completely overwhelmed and needing a little extra help and care for their mental health. Maybe it’s the greater awakening of awareness of the importance of mental health (ie: Simone Biles in the Olympics acknowledging and honoring her need to take care of her mental and emotional well-being). Or maybe it’s just cuz it’s freakin’ hard out there. For everyone. People are hurting. Or grieving. Or stressed. Or angry. Or scared. Or anxious. People are feeling their feels in a big way, and not sure what to do with them.

Well, here are five things to “do” when you’re feeling any of these things, to help you get to a greater sense of calm. Five tools for your toolbox:

1) Box breathing – Breathe in deeply to the count of four. Hold that breath for the count of four. Breathe out slowly for the count of four. Hold your breath for the count of four. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat again. And again…

2) 7-Eleven breath – Breathe in deeply to the count of seven. Follow your breath from the nose to the lungs to the belly. Breathe out even more slowly, to the count of 11. Repeat 10 times. This is “open” or available to you 24-7, just like a 7-Eleven store. Also, first responders use this when having to respond to an emergency in a calm clear state.

3) Connect to your senses and note the following:

  • Five things you can see
  • Four things you can hear
  • Three things you can touch
  • Two things you can smell
  • One thing you can taste

Connecting to your senses can ground you, and help you to be more in touch with your body.

4) Have gratitude for anything that’s all right right now that you experience in the moment (I am breathing; I can hear the birds outside; I don’t have a toothache right now; when I turn on the faucet, the water runs.)

5) Give yourself a Self-Compassion Break (mindfulness + common humanity + kind intention)

It goes like this: Say something like “Ouch. This hurts.”

Then remember that you are not alone: “Other people feel this way too.”

Put your hands over your heart and feel their warmth. Then add a wish for kindness for yourself. “May I be kind to myself (like I would be to a friend who struggling).”

I hope this handful of tools is helpful to you during this hard time and gives you a moment to get a little space away from the pain.

Practice once a day BEFORE you really need them, so they feel more natural to draw upon in those moments (of listening to the news; having an argument with your partner; putting your mask on; having a courageous discussion with your boss, coworker, family member; traveling or eating out; hitting send on a difficult email; engaging in social media; getting hard health news; dealing with your child’s anxiety; experiencing personal loss… You know – ALL those things.)

Because it’s hard out there. For everyone.

So I’m sending some Care and Calm. Take good care.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to take care of their mental health, please check out my website for some free offerings and resources.

May you be so so well.