Spiritual hacks and self-development tools to help you cope when you are feeling overwhelmed
For the past few weeks I’ve been feeling so many emotions come up. I’ve felt anger at why the US government didn’t respond sooner to this. I’ve felt anxiety about my family in Venezuela — are they going to be OK despite the shortages of medical supplies?– I’ve felt gratitude because I have everything I need. I am very privileged compared to most people.
Some experts argue that this “discomfort” we are all feeling is actually grief — grief for “the loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection,” everyone is mourning for what’s to come.
With so many emotions in the air, it can be easy to lose the center of gravity. I’ve needed to call upon all of my spiritual hacks and self-development tools to feel grounded and get back to my center.
These three things have been particularly helpful:
Creating a Personal Mantra
Pre-pandemic, I attended a conscious parenting workshop at my daughter’s school. The teacher leading the session taught the parents a simple mantra for building trust and resilience in our children when they are out of balance. For those moments — tantrums, bursts of anger — she instructed us to look at them in the eye, and say gently but firmly: “Breath. You are safe. You can handle this.”
Since the pandemic started, I’ve been using this phrase as my own guiding compass, with one small edit. I switched the word “safe” for “supported.” It’s hard for me to really feel safe in this moment.
“Breath. I am supported. I can handle this.”
I say that slowly to myself each time I am feeling stressed, and do my very best to believe it.
Prioritizing What Feels Nourishing
Many are busier than ever and really struggling to cope with the new demands. Others have lost their jobs or significant portions of their workload. But has anyone slowed down?
To keep myself grounded and be a more present mother and a kinder partner and friend, I need to take deep care of myself. I need to listen to what my body needs — emotionally and physically — and question the insatiable demands of my mind.
Sometimes that means going for a walk or hiding in the bathroom to cry, scream, check-in with myself, instead of taking another virtual meeting or hustling to get more done. Other times it means getting out of social media as soon as I notice fear or comparison arising. Being extra vigilant over what I let into my life, is how I can keep myself afloat.
Dreaming of the Future
This big pause could be an invitation to reflect on our lives and the world we live in.
I’ve been focusing on the change I want to see in the world and in my dreams. I see a future where politicians lead with more compassion and consideration for the people. A future where we create actionable policies that protect the health of our planet. I see universal health care and universal basic income. I see a high-quality public education system that children and parents absolutely love. I envision more responsible and accountable corporations and less of a gap between the haves and have nots. I dream of a world where no one dies of hunger and curable diseases. A future where we care about the community and the well-being of our neighbors.
We’ve had wars, disruptions, and recessions before, and things have changed, but then gone back to the status quo. I’d like to believe that this could be the one that permanently moves us — all of us — to a better place.
Personal dreams and visions for the world can be an anchor, they bring me back to center — and from that place, I can go into action.
Wherever you are in your emotional balancing act, remember to breathe. And also remember, you can handle this.