As summer winds down and everyone’s fall schedules pick up speed, caregivers – who may not have gotten much true vacation time – must return to “normal” operating mode: constant and intense activity, plus the stress of being responsible for one or more loved ones.
Add to this the frequent bombardment by unexpected, stressful news on any given day. As much as it may be painful to watch or listen to, we often feel compelled to pay attention. As human beings we are naturally wired for empathy, so we care about others’ pain and suffering.
Sometimes simply paying attention to what others are going through feels like a way to stand with them in spirit, even though they will never know we did so. By following the development of a given crisis, we also learn how we might be able to handle a similar situation, or protect ourselves and our loved ones from similar challenges.
Most of us can’t pay attention to such things without our emotions being stirred up, and we may feel immense fear, upset, sadness and grief that we can’t easily let go.
In just the past month, in addition to the solemn reminder of the 16th anniversary of 9/11, North America was bombarded by four massive hurricanes and an earthquake, bringing catastrophic damage and loss of life in the US, Mexico and the Caribbean islands. It has indeed been overwhelming and scary on many levels for many people.
And we breathe…
It is natural to care and care deeply…AND I strongly encourage you to protect your peace of mind, by backing off from continually listening to updates of the suffering, and any other communications that stir up anxiety and upset in yourself.
Then choose the thoughts, beliefs and actions that will help you keep your stress levels to a minimum. To help you do this, the best recommendation I can make is to read the powerful self-care practices I shared in an article on my blog back in 2015, called “Self-Care in Times of Crisis and Extreme Emotions.”
With the right activities and practices that are restorative, that relax you and have a quieting effect on your thoughts, you can maintain a healthy and empowering level of loving detachment.
Understand that while others may be in a distressed state, the best thing you can do is not join them there. Wish for them that they will receive the support and help they need to get through their challenges – send out your positive thoughts to them.
As you send that message out you will feel a shift within yourself as well – because your focus is on a positive message rather than a worried or negative one. Bring yourself back to that point of view as soon as possible whenever you feel yourself getting upset again.
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As a reminder, my popular and affordable Take Back Your Life: The Art of Self-Care virtual group program just re-started on Monday for the second session of 2017. If you’re ready to stop struggling on your own to make progress and feel better, check out the details of this empowering and supportive group experience, to see if it might be an antidote to your added stresses and tension.
Keep in mind that that holidays are coming up soon! Think about how last year went… were there bumps in the road, or even all-out explosions between family members? If so, think about whether you’d like some great new ideas, on-one-on Q&A time and generous community support to help you make this year’s holidays go more smoothly – and maybe even lovingly and joyfully! Click here to read more.