13 Apr Frazzled | April 2020
What to Do When You’re Frazzled
Most likely you’re a bit frazzled.
Which is a nice way of saying worried, furious, overwhelmed, outraged, or scared.
At least, that’s how I feel right now. And I expect we might share this.
Such feelings are normal during a time filled with uncertainty.
And uncertainty hurts because it can cause you to feel out of control.
So take control over the one place that matters.
Here are three ways to do that.
And recognize that these suggestions can help at any time, even when everything is going well.
Writing is the most powerful way to calm yourself.
So find a pen and paper –– even a crayon and paper bag will do.
And then write. Write about anything.
Write about your feelings. If you feel hurt, then rant, yell, and complain. If you feel good, then write about that.
Write questions. And then answer them. If you need a question, begin with “What questions would help me?”
Write conversations. Use two or more pens, one for each voice. Now you can talk to your wise self, your elders, or (even) your foolish self. You may be surprised by what appears when you do this.
Write compassion. Offer yourself confidence, encouragement, and praise.
Write gratitude. Make a list of everything that you like in your life. The fact that you’re able to write such a list is a good start.
And write nonsense — such as incomplete sentences, inside out thoughts, misspelled words. Then add drawings, cartoons, scribble. And when you finish, give yourself an A+.
Or, try coloring. It worked in first grade, and it can feel good now. Then post your art on the refrigerator.
And after you finish, you may want to save what you wrote because it could be a draft for the next best seller (e.g., “Frazzled and Me”). Or, wait a week and toss it out.
Personal Note: I wrote the draft for this post in my journal by answering the question: “What can I do?”
Even if you can go for only a minute, walk. It’s easy and healthy.
If possible, walk outside. Otherwise, walk anywhere. (I’ve walked 3 miles in our garage on a rainy day – and I can report that by now the scenery in there looks really familiar.)
And then, while you walk, feel the floor, the ground, the earth under your feet.
Yes, concentrate on that: Focus on the movement of your body while walking.
And be sure to breathe. Feel air going in and going out. Breathe deeply and deliberately.
Then swing your arms. Or raise them in the air. Or flap your elbows like wings on a bird. It’s okay, because during odd times people do odd things. So be one of them.
And wave at people as you see them. Say “Hello” or some other greeting, such as “Nice dog!” (assuming they have a dog).
Admire simple beauty. It’s a source of joy that costs nothing.
For example, while you’re walking, notice the shapes and textures of clouds. Seriously, have you seen how beautiful clouds can be?
Pause to study the complexity, colors, and patterns in flowers. Realize that these are small bits of life that pushed dirt aside so that they could rise up to bloom.
Be astonished by bark on trees, bird calls, branches, and everything else, including “weeds.” Note: I put that in quotes because those plants don’t know that they’re “weeds.”
Most important, realize that all this life is connected; and that you’re part of it.
One more thought
Live as if you will survive. Begin by accepting what is. Then avoid What If worrying because that can drive you nuts.
Make compassion your highest priority.
Return to activities that nourish your serenity. If you like to cook, then cook. If you like to draw, then draw. And if you like to drum, then drum.
Or if you like to dance, then dance – even if it’s in your kitchen. If you like to sing, then sing – even if it’s in your shower.
And through all of this, be someone you would admire.
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Did You Know?
The most effective way to help birds is to buy land.
Here are three organizations that excel at doing this.
Please visit their web sites to learn about the work they do.
And here’s an excellent book: The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation