Yellow-rumped Warbler, © Photo by Steve Kaye

Frazzled | April 2020

What to Do When You’re Frazzled

Yellow-rumped Warbler, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post about feeling Frazzled

Yellow-rumped Warbler, appearing concerned

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.

Your mind.

Here are three ways to do that.

And recognize that these suggestions can help at any time, even when everything is going well.

1) Write

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.

For example,

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?”

2) Walk

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).

3) Wonder

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.

Much success,

Steve Kaye

Find More at:

Beyond Survival

27 Ways to Show Kindness

How Birds Celebrate Earth Day

Did You Know?

The most effective way to help birds is to buy land.

Here are three organizations that excel at doing this.

1) American Bird Conservancy

2) The Nature Conservancy

3) The Trust for Public Land

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

You can help – Please share this blog with others.
Inspiring Respect for Nature, one bird at a time.

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  • Kaye Catherine
    Posted at 10:09h, 13 April

    Kind words when we need them most. Thank you.

  • Nancy L. Hoffmann
    Posted at 10:55h, 13 April

    Thanks Steve! Hope you’re doing well out there! I’m fine, but every night at 7:00 I step out my door with a cowbell and make lots of noise with the neighbors across 23rd Street to thank the caregivers, police, MTA workers, etc.
    Otherwise, completely secluded. Phone calls help, though.


  • Brigitte Noel
    Posted at 11:01h, 13 April

    A much appreciated, constructive post. Thank you!

  • Caleb Gentry
    Posted at 14:14h, 14 April

    Thanks, Steve hope you are well!!

  • Beth Kingsley Hawkins
    Posted at 13:40h, 22 April

    Thank you for your heartfelt thoughts,Steve. Very timely! Beth

  • mozelle sukut
    Posted at 16:06h, 29 April

    wonderful suggestions for us all during this crazy time!

  • Lara
    Posted at 16:16h, 29 April

    I’d like to add one more . . .DANCE (or move for those who don’t like to “dance”). When we get stuck in our heads, like we’re bound to do in uncertain times, moving can ground us and bring us back into our bodies. Once grounded, we can begin to envision the regenerative economy that we can cause to emerge from this time in Quarantine. Love you, Steve. Thanks for being an ongoing source of joy in my life.

  • Mary Lundeberg
    Posted at 07:28h, 30 April

    Beautiful Blog. Thanks.

  • Rita Robinson
    Posted at 20:02h, 04 May

    I love this, Steve. Especially enjoyed “Then post your art on the refrigerator.”
    Light and bright. Well done.

  • Daphne Radenhurst
    Posted at 10:19h, 14 June

    Just read this, a long way into lockdown, just when I needed it as I was beginning to flake out. Thanks for your wisdom, as always.

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