Yesterday, on my way home, I decided to stop into the newest HEB grocery store because I needed to pick up some milk. It was opening day. People were filling the parking lot. I grabbed my milk and decided to look around, but after a couple of minutes decided to head straight for the checkout. It's a beautiful store, shiny and bright, filled with a wide selection of items, but is it really what we need? Wouldn't the world be better with more farmers markets, local bakeries, small mom and pop shops? Do we really need another Wal-mart, Target, corner drug store, gas station, etc.?
Folks, we are rushing headlong into an environmental disaster. And we don't seem to be able to stop ourselves. We are like buffalo running ourselves off a cliff.
While all of this is going on, our country is dangerously divided. People are slinging hateful words at each other, and worse. The threat of a war with two different countries is being flung about. Every day, the news brings something else negative and the divide gets wider.
Then there are our own personal struggles. Right now mine is the struggle to build a thriving business while taking care of all the responsible stuff as a single parent. Some days are about flow. Some days are full of resistance and I just want to give up.
It can be hard to not feel discouraged. But there are some things you can do, that I do, to help keep you in the right mindset.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It's important that we own how we are feeling. When we feel discouraged, we may try to push down the sadness and disappointment. Or, if you are prone to anxiety or depression, curl up in a ball and hide from the world. But in neither of these instances are we owning how we feel. We need to be able to look in the mirror and say to ourselves, "Yes, I'm feeling really overwhelmed right now. Things feel out of control."
Ask Yourself This One Question
What is one step I can take today towards achieving XYZ? Whether XYZ is taking control of where your food comes from, speaking out politically, building a business, working toward minimalism, or something entirely different, just take that one step that is in your power to take. There is always something you can do, no matter how small.
When you're surrounded only by the things that bring joy to your life or you need to make your life run smoother, your life isn't going to feel as chaotic on a personal level. It's one more thing you can feel you have control over when things aren't going as planned.
Find Your Tribe
Find people who understand your way of looking at things. Then reach out to them. Isolation can be devastating when you are feeling overwhelmed. I know first hand. Taking a step back is fine, especially if you are an introvert in need of recharging. Hiding out and avoiding people, especially those people who can lift you up, is unhealthy.
Get Out In Nature
Research has shown that exposure to the natural world is healing. If you aren't up for a hike through the wilderness, take your morning coffee outside and listen to the morning bird song. Grab someone from your tribe and go for a walk or run at a local park. You will be avoiding isolation, getting some exercise, and exposing yourself to nature all at once.
Detach From Social Media
Some of us, like me, depend on social media to promote our businesses. I can't be away from it for large chunks of time. But I can step away for blocks of time. One thing I did so I'm not absent mindedly clicking into Facebook when I'm out is to simply uninstall the app from my phone. I can only access Facebook from my laptop or my tablet. In fact, I don't have any social media apps on my phone, so if you want to get ahold of me when I'm away from my desk you will have to call or text. I'm looking at going further and declaring one solid day where I step back from social media.
Keep A Gratitude Journal
I can't stress this enough. I have kept one for five years now. I switched from keeping a traditional journal to a gratitude journal because I felt like I was focusing too much on the negative stuff. I don't write in it every day, but I do make sure to sit down with it several times a week, especially on those days things don't feel like they are going well. It is on those days that you especially need to sit down and take stock in every positive in your life, no matter how small. Maybe it's just that you got out of bed and combed your hair. Write it down. The plus about a gratitude journal: you won't need to burn them to get rid off all the negative stuff you don't want your children to read when you are gone.
What do you do to help keep you centered during crazy times? I'd love to hear your stories.