When did you last stop?
I wonder how often, as a child, you were told to “cheer up”, “to be a good girl or a good boy”, to “forget about it” or something along those lines? These comments are often very well intentioned and, whilst they may have their place at times, might well have left you feeling dismissed, wrong to feel the way you did, ridiculed even and certainly that your feelings were not very important.
As a human it is natural for you to have emotional responses to things and the better you get at supressing your feelings the more you can end up storing up trouble for later. The busyness of modern life only serves to encourage this as we move at high speed from one experience to the next.
Perhaps you are one of many people who are feeling constantly tired and a little burnt out right now? Do you collapse in a heap in the evening, once all the chores are done, sometimes even to find that when you finally get to bed you struggle to switch off enough to sleep? Is your life one big rush and juggle to keep all the balls in the air and the plates spinning?
It is very hard to even know how you feel at any given moment if you don’t stop or slow down. If even a walk with the dog, a trip to the park with the kids or a meet up with a friend start to feel like a bit of a chore to squeeze into your day and get through before you’re on to the next thing then it is likely that things are a little out of balance.
It can feel very hard to put your needs first, or even just a little higher up the priority list. We all know that it is right to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we help someone else with theirs, even a child. Yet it is very hard to put this principle into practice in our day to day lives.
Take a moment right now…
Stop whatever you are doing, (just for a moment or two I promise, even that will be a great start).
Take a few slow deep breaths…
Feel your feet on the floor…
Ask yourself what is one small thing you could do to be more comfortable, that would make you smile, that would ease a tiny bit of that pressure…?
It could be as simple as getting yourself a glass of water or giving yourself the luxury of enjoying a cup of tea whilst you look out the window. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Give yourself a few extra minutes in the shower, make that call to see a friend who you can relax with or who is really important to you. Cancel something that is in your diary for this week or next.
And then… take a moment to think of something that you do feel grateful for. Again, this can be something really tiny… a moment to be reading this article, the cosy jumper you’re wearing, the cup of tea you just made… However challenging or worrying life is, there will always be something. The trick is to not do this at the expense of the things that are causing you upset or worry. There is room for both.
If you need some help finding this place of balance please reach out.
© Dr Karen Janes, November 2022