You know when life kicks you in the butt?
I mean, really takes you out at the knees; the challenges seem never ending and just keep coming?
Can you feel me?
This is something that we all deal with, numerous times throughout our lives. The challenge is to remember ourselves and our power when we feel most powerless.
Thor Benson, a writer for Salon.com states...
"A lot of the stress people deal with today is completely different from stresses people dealt with in the past, which can make it difficult to keep up with how we’re morphing our brains. Bruce McEwen, a leading neuroscientist at Rockefeller University, told ATTN: that “pace of life for some, 24/7 email … financial concerns, job instability, worry about health and access to healthcare, being a caregiver [possibly] for an autistic child or an Alzheimer patient, commuting and jet lag, poor sleep, lack of physical activity, social isolation, social media (especially among young people) causing anxiety, sleep disruption, noise and pollution, [and] living in a dangerous neighborhood” can ALL be causes of serious stress in the modern world."
Having your focus on controlling the things which we can influence and impact, rather than wringing our hands about what we cannot, determines how effective we are as individuals and leaders as well as the outcome of any given situation.
Stepping up during crisis (and this can be anything from global economic meltdown to caring for a sick loved one while jugging business, family, finances etc.) tends to develop and move us forward in ways that we would never have experienced during a time of smooth sailing (Does smooth sailing really exist? I'm a little skeptical.).
But there reaches a point when you tap maximum capacity and really, really need to press the reset button and take a step back. When you do this, your brain has an opportunity to rest and open itself to new opportunities not seem when you are in "get it done" mode.
I recently experienced this myself (and have gone through similar scenarios in the past), hit a wall (massive stressed-ness...ceased being productive) and found the following action items to be extremely helpful in putting a smile back on my face, getting my feet back under me; and starting making a positive impact once again.
Limit time with people who take your energy - This is a tough one, because the person who is sucking your energy may be your boss, a difficult client, your kids (gasp!) or the loved one you are caring for. But here's the deal, if there is nothing left of you then you will have nothing to give them. This took me YEARS to figure out and longer still to actually implement!
"DO NOT allow other to steal your sunshine! Protect your energy, smile and positive perspective at all cost." - Kim Peterson
Sleep it off - Sometimes the best cure for massive stress overload is just to retreat and go to bed as early as possible.
"And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created."- D.H. Lawrence
Get out of town - If at all possible...even if for just a few hours...get out of Dodge! Take a long drive or schedule a mini get away. A change in scenery (even if it seems entirely impractical...there is always a way) can lift your spirits, help you gain a different perspective and clear your head.
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
Feel the sun on your face - We need the sunshine, fresh air and to commune with nature! Walk, hike or just sit and breathe in the outdoors as often as possible.
"There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more."
Practice Gratitude - This goes without saying. Even in the midst of chaos and extreme challenge, there is always much to be grateful for. Focus on what you have, where you are going and what you need to do, in order to create a brighter future for yourself and your family. Give thanks numerous times a day for every little thing that brings you comfort and joy.
"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance." Eckhart Tolle
Intentionally stepping away from stress and overwhelm can lend a new perspective and offer you answers which you otherwise would not have seen. This is a critical skill to learn as you will be far more productive, perky, peaceful and pleasant as a result.
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