You’ve heard it said plenty of times before: When it rains it pours. Here’s another: Every dog has his day. And my personal fave: Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.
I don’t know why it is this way. I just know it is. Lots of things tend to pile up together and it can be enough to break you. Try not to let it. Plan for the storm ahead of time. As a therapist, I work with people all the time on how to prepare for life’s storms. Planning and getting our mind right is just not something we think about when all is well- but to weather a storm- you have to.
I am in a storm right now. Lots of stuff is piling up at once. I can’t explain it. I can’t make sense of it. I just know it is here. I am grateful that I did some things to take care of myself before I got to this place. For once in my life, I feel fully prepared for the storm I am in. It is hurtful. It is tiring. It is exhausting, but I am not broken. Even better, I know there will be an end. I sent a message to my adult daughter a few days ago that explained to her why I have been out of reach. She replied, “Maya Angelou said, ‘Every storm runs out of rain.'” Sometimes simple and true sentiments are enough to hold on to.
Many of my clients have shared with me that they have made therapeutic emergency kits for their storms in life. I call them anchor boxes. I even talk about how to make one in the 4th book of the Kayla picture book series, Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess– These Shoes Are Made For Dancing. A coping skill like this is good for adults and kids and I love incorporating mental health strategies and tools in all of the books I write. A mom sent me a few pictures of her making her own box with her daughters. I can’t tell you how great this is for, not only bonding, but mental health care modeling as well.
I have my coping skills toolkit ready. I just need to do the things that will help me ride out the storm and come through on the other side. Because I will come through on the other side.
Things I am doing to make it through:
Focusing on my breathing regularly all throughout the day. Sometimes when I feel the stress, tension creeps up on me. All of a sudden my mind and my heart are racing. Practicing slow and methodical deep breathing helps address this before it happens and makes it easier to remember to do when it happens.
Taking walks. I am not a big walker though I want to change this. I used to not walk at all because I thought I had to go out and walk for an hour and that was just overwhelming to me. Instead, I just get up and stretch and walk for a few minutes all throughout the day. It probably adds up to an hour in total.
You’d be amazed how just 5-minute walks and practicing regular breathing throughout the day, alone, help reduce your level of stress.
Drink water regularly. I talk about all the reasons why you need to in an article I previously published, but again, coping skills are not difficult- we just have to remember them. You would be amazed by how regularly drinking water throughout the day proactively addresses all kinds of things. Including your body’s ability to regulate stress. Water is one of the most forgotten about and underrated coping skills of all time. Your car won’t run without gas. And your brain won’t run without water. Stay fueled and stay hydrated. Make a plan for this.
Back to the box, write down all of these techniques on slips of paper and put them in your anchor box. This box should contain reminders of all the things that hold you down in a good way. Remind yourself that you have things you can do that are in your control and that you have people you can rely on. Sometimes when you get down it is hard to remember this so be sure to do it before and remind yourself that you have a go to toolkit just for these kinds of rainy days.
Let me know what tips you use and if you make a box please send me pictures. I love to see them!