Do you ever get sick of yourself? Do you ever wish you could escape the cacophony of noise in your head and get away from… you?
I am sometimes the proverbial tempest in a teacup, upset about something, or many somethings, that may or may not be important. I will turn over an idea, memory, or feeling (or all of the above) like a ship on rolling waves, crashing from one thing to the next. So many things are whipping around my mind. I try to snatch them out of the air, but it’s like trying to catch the wind.
I want to shake myself and yell, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??
Usually, the answer is some combination of nothing, everything, hormones, poor sleep, and low blood sugar. 😅
Sometimes, it all feels so overwhelming. All the things I “should” be doing but don’t have the energy for. All the worries that pile up. Some are more legitimate than others. There are the battles with impostor syndrome and quieting the jerk in my head. There are the many tabs of articles I’ve saved or left open that I should read but can’t find the focus. There are days spent staring at a blinking cursor, or worse, mired in distractions of social media memes, instant messenger chats, and online shopping… and the inevitable productivity guilt that follows.
But, Ashley, you say, don’t you teach others how to deal with these things? Don’t you write articles about how to manage and overcome them? Don’t you say that your superpower is calming chaos?
I sure do. And it is!
I am very good at calming other people’s chaos. It’s my own that’s tricky. 😉
Just like everyone else, I have to work at it, and I get a little better at calming my chaos all the time. But still, I can be that tempest in a teacup, desperately wishing I could jump overboard and find calmer waters away from… me.
So, how do you get away from yourself?
… You can’t.
So what can you do instead?
When the storm is raging, these are some things that help me.
Block it out
Reading the news, the internet, and social media adds to the din of noise (and is even more often a significant contributor).
When things start to feel chaotic, I first try to take a break from my phone and laptop. Put them away and do something that isn’t on a screen. Sometimes, I will even clean out/unsubscribe from/stop following the things I know are making me feel worse.
Block it all out for a bit. You can always come back to it when you are in a better headspace.
Move it out
When I am feeling the tempest in my body, and the anxiety is particularly bad, movement is the best way for me to get my nervous system to calm down. If I feel up to it and the weather cooperates, I go for a run or a nice walk with my husband. Otherwise, I will go to my other fitness options, with yoga always being a good standby.
There is something to be said for focusing on your breathing, the burn in your lungs, the ache in your muscles, the feel of your body moving and letting everything else go for a while.
Write it out
Writing helps me process things, so when I am most scattered, I will try to write it out. I keep a journal in a Google Doc for stream-of-conscious writing. It’s just for me; no one else will ever see it, and I don’t worry about spelling or formatting. I just write, rage, and get out as much confusion and overwhelm as possible.
Many people prefer writing in a physical journal, which is excellent, too. The format doesn’t matter; just that it gets out of your head.
Talk it out
Sometimes, it helps to spill it. Empty out all the words, fears and feelings to someone you trust. Not for them to solve but to sit in the life raft with you.
For me, it’s usually my husband who gets the deluge when I can no longer contain it. He is the lighthouse in the distance, an umbrella from the rain, the sun peaking out from the clouds. I can share anything with him, and he will talk me through it. He will point out things I didn’t think of or other ways of looking at it. He will tell me what’s reasonable, and what’s not, or at the very least, tell me it’s okay to feel however I’m feeling, regardless of how reasonable it is.
He will also hug me and tell me he loves me, stormy seas and all.
Choose someone in your life who you can talk it out with.
When things are stormy, and I get sick of… me… I usually do all of these things in some combination. They help calm the rough seas of my little teacup to make space for me to be reflective and thoughtful about why I feel the way I do.
Sometimes, all I need is a snack and a nap. Sometimes it’s a bit more complicated. 😁
Most of all, I try to be kind to myself and remember that it’s okay to be a tempest sometimes.
When you are feeling chaotic, try some of these and make some space for stormy seas. The sun will eventually break through.
If it feels like a season of stormy seas, get in touch. Let's talk about how I can help.