"I am so upset about what's happening right now that I can't sleep. I am so sad for these other families that I can barely care for my own. How in the world do we survive this?"
I've seen this question from caring people in so many forums this week, and I woke up in the middle of the night with some ideas running through my head. I couldn't go back to sleep until I got up and wrote them down.
When we calm ourselves--body, mind, and spirit--we're not being uncaring. We are doing what needs to be done so that we can regain positive energy to release into this needy world.
The absolute best thing we can do for ourselves and our sanity is to
Just three minutes of slow, deep breathing is enough to produce positive brain changes.
Try it and see!
Stop right now and simply BREATHE for three minutes. (You can put on a favorite calming song to help time yourself.)
Now, read on for 67 additional actions you can take, right this minute.
- Laugh. You cannot be distressed while laughing, so give your body a laugh break.
- Watch baby goats frolic.
- Observe the hilarity of the back-flipping hamster.
- Go outside for 15 minutes of vitamin D therapy (aka sunshine).
- While you're out there, run through the sprinkler.
- Blow bubbles.
- Decorate your driveway with sidewalk chalk.
- Grab a popsicle and savor it.
- When you get back inside, watch a sweet, snuggly episode of Queer Eye.
- Phone a friend.
- Text "I love you" to a family member.
- Use a mantra, like; "This will pass through me and only I will remain."
- Sing a Daniel Tiger song, like: "You're big enough to think of what to do."
- Cue up Mr. Rogers singing, "It's you I like, everything about you."
- Write a thank you note.
- Throw yourself a one-song dance party.
- Get your heart above your head in Down Dog for 5 or 6 breath cycles.
- Roar it out with Lion's Breath.
- Journal for 20 minutes.
- List three courageous people, including someone you know personally.
- Sign up to volunteer.
- Donate to a great cause.
- Plan your next holiday.
- Reminisce about a favorite past holiday. Pull up photos and remember the good times.
- Bake brownies and take them to a neighbor.
- Paint rocks and leave them around town for others to discover.
- Sign up for dance lessons or a pottery class.
- Visit a museum and walk around in beauty for an hour.
- Read The Road Back to You and discover healing through the Enneagram.
- Color mandalas.
- Cross stitch some swear words.
- Canvass the neighborhood for your favorite candidate.
- Sign up for a protest rally in your area and make some signs today.
- Create ephemeral art in your own backyard, or in a table top sandbox.
- Make oobleck and let it ooze through your fingers.
- Plant some flowers near your front door, or put a pot of herbs by your kitchen sink.
- Pet your cat.
- Snuggle a baby.
- Make a "Free Hugs" sign and walk through the grocery store, giving away hugs.
- Hug yourself. Seriously. Put your arms around yourself. Hug.
- Try yoga online.
- Re-read a favorite childhood book.
- Watch The Princess Bride.
- Carpool karaoke with James Carden and Sir Paul McCartney. Sob along with Let It Be.
- Lounge in a kiddie pool with a cool drink in hand.
- Plan your favorite dinner.
- Find a therapist.
- Walk around the block.
- Join an online special interest group or support group.
- Choose one fun activity for yourself each day, and do it.
- Name the emotion: sad, mad, scared, glad.
- Practice radical self-acceptance.
- Treat yourself like your own best friend.
- Make a cup of tea. Sit still and rest while you drink it.
- Paint your toenails rainbow colors.
- Sit outside in the grass.
- Listen to the wind blow.
- Sing along with Fleetwood Mac.
- Watch the karaoke version of Mama Mia.
- Put Disney songs on and sing along.
- Lie still on your back and breathe.
- Put up prayer flags and imagine them blowing peace and love everywhere.
- Light candles to symbolize your well-wishes for the world.
- Rent a tandem bike and invite a friend along for a ride.
- Write down three things you really like about yourself.
- Alternate nostril breathe.
Finally: choose the boundaries that work for you.
Take inventory of yourself, decide what is healthy for you right now, and make it happen. Others may be disappointed if you can't meet all their needs, and that's okay. They can do their own emotional work.
We can't be all things to all people all the time. We are human. We accept this about ourselves and live within our emotional and spiritual means, for the good of everyone.
Unfollow on Facebook, restrict the number of minutes that certain voices are aloud to speak in a day, turn the sound off on the news.
You are allowed to have peace and quiet. When you've got that peace and quiet inside, you can bring peace and quiet to the chaotic world.
When you feel it slipping away, stop and breathe.
Love begins with us taking care of ourselves, receiving what we need, so we're ready to share again in a minute.
Group hug, y'all!
We've got this!