Sometimes life can just be too much. It can be completely overwhelming, and it can wear us down. What can we do to combat this? Take a week long vacation? Well, while a getaway might be a temporary fix, (and it hasn't been exactly been an available or easy option), the idea that you’re going to be all better upon your return isn’t necessarily realistic. A vacation, while it can provide you with precious memories to last a lifetime, isn’t the surefire answer to your daily stressors - or winter doldrums. It is fleeting and gone almost as soon as it was experienced. Then, you find that you’re right back where you were, and right back to who you were before you left.
And how was everything before you left? A mess? Well, then, unfortunately it will be the same then as it is now.
My girlfriend was recently worn down – and out – and nearing the end of her rope. She was at peak capacity and insisted that the family get out of town to decompress, destress and relax, and they agreed to get away for a week. I was thrilled for her. She was overwhelmed by her workload, the kids, the isolation, and she needed to get away. So they did!
They had a wonderful time and the week flew by. Upon her return a few days later, I asked her how she was feeling now. Not what you'd hope for her! Yep, you guessed it - back to feeling frazzled, stressed, and struggling to keep her head above water. Back to feeling like she was going under.
I so hated to hear that, and I am reminded that we have to find a way to keep the vacation within us ... and alive in our hearts upon our return. There are ways we can tap into these joyful feelings that we felt while there – the bliss, peace, ease.
The good news is that these feelings are still available to us, even within and in the midst of our daily stressors.
While we can always work to address and fix our underlying issues one at a time, overall we have to accept that overwhelm is going to happen at times in our lives. Hopefully when it hits, and our stressors are at their peak, we are ready and prepared for them. Think of it as being prepared for the battle – the battle to stay vigilant to having a great life and to not let the stress knock us down and out, because we will be armed with our "peace and bliss building" tools in 2021, right? We will be armed to handle these stressful moments better!
What’s the answer? It’s there within, for the taking for everyone of us. Even in the darker moments, we can find and cultivate peace from within. Impossible? No, it just takes effort as in building a muscle takes effort.
I love the cliche 'this ain't no dress rehearsal.' No, it isn't. This is our life, we are in the middle of living it, and our life is and will always be comprised of the ups and downs that we experience. It is part of being alive. We must find some consistent, daily moments of respite within and during the parameters of our pressing and stressful days.
Let’s call these moments your “private beach” moments.
Covid-19 has helped me realize that going back to the very fast-paced schedule that I have lived for so long is not sustainable. Yet, I understand that we can’t walk away from it all either. So, we can change our experience of our days. And, the way we view our experiences and make it "mean" will affect our moods. And affect your stress, which will affect your health, your interactions with your family, friends, co-workers ... you get the picture.
I can’t encourage you enough, if you aren't already, to find a few moments within the course of the day that are just yours. Just for that single piece of time that you’re luxuriously able to be in your own presence, with your most inner thoughts, and where you can remind yourself that you will be OK.
Life’s circumstances are fluid, events come and go, as will your moods and stressors. But, for this stretch of time you’re in then, whatever might be happening to cause you the stress, strain and the inundation of overwhelm, just hang on. And try something.
Integrate a 15-minute period into your day of learning more about yourself, relaxing your body, letting your mind unwind. This can be done through being quiet and still, and then eventually try teaching yourself something spiritual or even religious to help you to gain a larger and more positive perspective on your life. Something that is inspirational and helpful I've found are authors who have videos on YouTube or their books – such as Power of NOW by Eckhart Tolle, The Alchemist, The Spiritual Laws of Success, The Secret, The Dalia Lama, and something to remind you that as long as you are alive, you are going to have possibilities.
Meditation has been an excellent tool for me. I have loved taking 5 to 20-minute breaks throughout the day to slow down. Be still. Go inward. Recharge. I’ve embraced the app Insight Timer, which I listen to daily, but I’ve also found many terrific meditations on YouTube, which are all available to you. I did this one today on gratitude.
And, while we’re at it, we can fantasize about being peaceful and seeing a beautiful open ocean and blue sky, too. Enjoy soothing music such as A Painter's Dream of the Ocean by Jeffrey Parks or the sounds and view of your own private beach anytime you want! It only takes a few minutes to imagine and feel yourself right in the middle of the warm, sandy beach, listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean.
- VANILLA: Vanilla extract has been shown to be an effective scent to have a calming, soothing effect. It can even be successfully used to combat mild sleep disorders and is widely used in aromatherapy.
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