The week I write this post, I am in a place where I feel overwhelmed and very out of my body. I think part of it is that I continue to feel run down after a very busy, social summer. Another is that our children are adjusting to school and I support them and their feelings through the process. Another is that we are not yet in a schedule where we have after-school help with the children. I have brain fog, I procrastinate and I am not able to make decisions as quickly as usual.
Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
When I feel overwhelmed and out of sorts like this, there are a few little exercises that always help me reconnect with myself. None are revolutionary in themselves, but they can be easy to forget when you’re in this kind of heightened state. I’m sharing them today in hopes that they’re helpful to anyone else out there who feels the same way.
Little exercises that help when I feel overwhelmed
1. Grab an ice pack
When I start to get panicky feelings, I put an ice pack on my chest for a few minutes. The sensation helps me focus on the present. There is something about this very tangible action that helps so much when I’m feeling panicky or like I’m in full flight mode.
2. Move my body
When I’m feeling really low or unmotivated, that usually means I need to move my body. A short, brisk walk is often all I need to feel better. Sometimes I even dress up for a run without pressure having to run. I start by walking, and if running seems like something that would feel good, I do it, even if it’s only for thirty seconds.
3. Do a body scan
This is a really helpful, conscious way to check in on how I’m doing. Sometimes I’ll do this in the position I’m already in – whether standing or sitting – and sometimes I’ll lie down. I mentally scan my body, all the way from my toes to the top of my head, noticing where I feel tight and where there is locked energy that needs to be released.
4. Create my own version of a safe room
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I sometimes like to put on some classical music and clean up the space I’m in at the moment. I pick a small area – whether it’s my office or bedroom or kitchen – and spend a few minutes cleaning it up. This small act makes me feel like I have a safe place to be present.
5. Do what makes me feel most at home
I ask myself when do I feel most at home?? Then I make a detailed list—one that’s personal only to me—and act on one of those things. It can be something as simple as opening a window to feel a connection to the outside, or it can be calling a friend.