Give Yourself a Break- Be Kind to You

I have at times felt like the world is upside down. I feel uncertain as to what is the best, next move to make. I look around and see people trying to get out of their own countries and people trying to get into other countries they believe will provide them a better life. People are complaining about COVID – either having to wear masks or not enough people being told to wear masks. People supporting our political leaders and hating on our political leaders. Budgets being cut, employees worried about losing their jobs. Employees worried if they would get to start their new job. It’s everywhere. Unrest, strife. Discontent. Hatred…real hatred like I’ve not seen before. So many people who I thought were just normal, rational souls that now sometimes launch themselves into a tirade of things they think the government or the country or their school...or anyone else besides them – should be doing. Everyone seems to be complaining about someone else doing or not doing something. I’m not hearing anything about what the complainers are doing – except complaining. Responsibility seems to be missing.

I look in the mirror and look at the person staring back at me. I see stress. I see anxiety. I see fatigue. So now what? I am just one person. The world and its litany of issues seem massive. So now what? I must decide something, I’m not sure what that is at times.
I sit down to write. My cat jumps up in the chair to join me. I’m writing now. My brain is being dumped out of my mind through my arms down to my fingers and onto a keyboard. Words – mostly coherent - magically appear. After a while – just as magically, I began to feel a little less stressed. Hmmm…I guess this is something.
I could just as easily, close my eyes and drift off into sleep. I choose to close my eyes, not for sleep, but to allow my mind to relax and drift off into my imagination where it finds a whole other world of unlimited possibilities and opportunities. It is not bound by outcomes. The possible opportunities in my mind exist only in my mind now. It doesn’t matter if they are actually possible. For now, their purpose appears to be only to relax my body and ease my mind. I equate this action to one of someone in the heat of anger going outside to run or even chop wood. Their running is a repetition of what they have previously done hundreds of times. The wood chopper only chops as long as his body is telling him that his pent-up energy needs to be released. He has no awareness that he has now chopped enough wood to last the entire winter, spring, and summer. When he is done chopping – he just knows he is done. He can put down the ax and sit down. To someone who excessively cleans or works in the garden…they just do their focused activities until their energy level has been expended.

Suddenly I realize I am not as stressed. Now I really DO feel like closing my eyes and taking a nap. I feel drained. That worked this time. It doesn’t always work because I am not always able to stop what is stressing me out at the moment and write. But this time I was…and I did.

What about next time? What can other people do to calm themselves during stressful situations? We need to know. We need to have ways to step back, step away or step out rather than in. Stepping in serves to further the stress. It can feed it as a virus grows in a damp, dark place where it sits and waits until the next unsuspecting weakened person comes along who is so very tired of whatever makes them tired that day. They don’t have the strength to resist the added stress. Stepping away, stepping the drama down, stepping back, to respond rather than react may be what serves you and your stress-ravaged body system in the best manner.

If you are looking for some stress reducers or ways to better handle the barrage of negativity that may be directed at or around you on more days than you want, try this link Healthy Coping Skills for Uncomfortable Emotions ( for some ideas on alternate ways of coping, distressing, or just stepping back for a minute. There are many free, no-cost activities you can try when more things seem to be coming in your direction or even around you. You can even adopt different activities into your daily plan to build up your resistance or “shield” as some people sometimes refer to it. Think of it as a buildup of your reserves for those days when you are just too overwhelmed by the news, your neighbors, your children or even yourself.

Be kind – especially with yourself. That’s where it starts. Only when your own bucket is full can you share. When you are full, it can more easily spill over to others and grow in some of those overworked gardens often occupied by stressed-out worldly citizens.

If you choose to begin a new activity, try to only pick one for starters. Remember you are trying to distress yourself and maybe those around you in your immediate orbit or world of daily living. Pick one, get it down pat. Make it an automatic go to when you feel your stress level going up. Make it as automatic as knowing when and where your toothbrush is every morning after breakfast. Yeah…make it that automatic. Then you know you can pick another off the list or come up with one of your own or borrow one you see being used successfully by a friend. One step at a time, going forward, calmly, positively, comfortably will get you where you are going. It will maybe even give you a new direction. Let me know!

And my cat who joined me in the chair to sit very closely beside my typing hand…well he told me about 200 words ago that a good way to feel better was for me to stroke his fur from one end of him to the other. Not sure if that was to make him or me to feel better. From the way he stuck his backside up against my writing arm, draped his long-haired tail over my keyboard, it was at least meant to make him feel better. But as animals often do, they sense what their person needs, and he was right. Petting him made me feel better too. It was an added piece of fluff and contentment that when added to my writing felt like just “icing on the cake” or getting a hug from your favorite child.



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Orangutan Coach