The week that I’m writing this post, I’m in a place where I’m feeling overwhelmed and very out of my body. I think part of it is that I continue to feel worn down after a very busy, social summer. Another is that our kids are adjusting to school and I’m supporting them and their emotions through the process. Another is that we’re not yet in a schedule where we have after-school help with the kids. I have brain fog, I’m procrastinating, and I’m not able to make decisions as quickly as usual.
Sound familiar to anyone else?
When I’m feeling overwhelmed and out of sorts like this, there are a couple of small practices that always help me connect to myself again. None are revolutionary, per se, but they can be easy to forget when you’re in this kind of heightened state. I’m sharing them today in the hopes they’re helpful to anyone else out there who’s feeling the same way.
Small Practices That Help When I’m Feeling Overwhelmed
1. Grab an ice pack
When I start having panicky feelings, I put an ice pack on my chest for a couple of minutes. The sensation helps me focus on the present moment. There’s something about this very tangible act that helps so much when I’m feeling panicked or like I’m in full flight mode.
2. Move my body
When I’m feeling really low or unmotivated, it usually means I need to move my body. A short, brisk walk is often all I need to feel better. Sometimes, I’ll even get dressed for a run without the pressure of having to go for a run. I’ll start by walking, and if running seems like something that would feel good, I’ll do it, even if it’s only for thirty seconds.
3. Do a body scan
This is a really helpful, intentional way to check in with how I’m feeling. Sometimes I’ll do this in whatever position I’m already in—whether standing or sitting—and sometimes I’ll lay down. I mentally scan my body, all the way from my toes to the top of my head, noticing where I’m feeling tight and where there’s locked energy that needs to be released.
4. Create my own version of a safe space
When I feel overwhelmed, I sometimes like to put on classical music and tidy whatever space I’m in at the moment. I’ll pick a small area—whether it’s in my office or bedroom or kitchen—and spend a few minutes tidying it. This small act makes me feel like I have a safe space to simply be present.
5. Do whatever makes me feel most at home
I ask myself, when do I feel most at home? Then I make a granular list—one that’s personal to only me—and act on one of those things. It could be something as simple as opening a window to feel a connection to the outside or it could be calling a friend.