I am writing today to honor of all those in the midst of sh*t storms. I know a few people personally for whom the shit has really hit the fan this month, so, a special shout out to them, and to anyone who today, has to deal with one of life’s storms.
We’ve all been there to varying degrees – shitty days, weeks, months, and sometimes, sadly, entire years. We can look to the movements of the planets, science or religion to explain it, but it remains a basic truth of life: sometimes, things suck.
I will not go so far as to define life as suffering, but I will certainly agree that life CONTAINS suffering, and I have yet to meet someone whose life is immune to twists, turns, and, well… Sh*t Storms. If we accept these storms are a real part of life, we have, in essence, two options: get tossed around or learn to swim.
Before I give a few tips for swimming, I just need to say, if you’re in a sh*t storm right now, I’m sorry. Really. These times are inherently messy, chaotic, unpredictable, upsetting, sad, frustrating and overwhelming. They are stressful and taxing, many are even traumatic. Hang in there. I, you, and others have lived through these storms and there is an end out there somewhere, even if it’s not in sight.
Your life is full, so I’ll cut to the chase – here’s some strategies to stay above water:
1. Take it one day at a time.
For a moment, forget the big picture and just get through the day, the week, the month. Keep your scope small and as manageable as possible and say NO to anything that drains your energy. As a general rule, do what is essential and what feels good.
2. Do little things that make you feel relief
Pleasure heals. Simple things matter, even though they may seem trivial to you now. If there is an essential oil or perfume you like, wear it. If a certain pair of underwear or socks make you happier than another, wear them. Chew your favorite gum, listen to music you can connect with. Take the scenic route home from work. Bathe in healing waters, which may be as close as your tub. Do what you like, for the simple reason that you like it.
3. Find time alone
You may even need to make the bathroom your safe space, but find sometime each day when you can be with and collect your thoughts, and where you can feel your emotions bubble up & over. Cry in the shower, shout in the car, write it out furiously in a journal or on a paper at work you can shred immediately after. Give yourself time and space to think and feel, however & wherever you can.
4. Ask for help
Typically, those closest to you know you’re in the thick of it. Often, they want to help but don’t know how to. Tell them! Call and say, “I just need someone to listen” ask if they’d mind having you over for dinner, you can even ask someone to simply sit and be with you. If you don’t want to talk about the shit storm, you can always say, “I don’t feel like talking about it,” or, “it’s just too much right now.” People get that.
5. Do something kind
You never know what kind of sh*t storm the person next to you in line is in. Even though it may feel like the world is out to get you right now, offer someone a smile if you can or hold the door that extra second. Acts of kindness are as much gifts to ourselves as they are to those who receive them, so don’t let these slip by. if you have the time, take a few hours to read to some kids, volunteer somewhere or write a card to someone, do it for them and for you, just to share in some love.
6. Get out into nature.
When all else fails, head for the hills. Trees are good listeners.
7. Don’t forget the basics.
You are made up of cells. Those cells need food, water and oxygen. BREATHE. You’ve heard it before, I know, but its banal & cliche because its true: deep breaths can make all the difference in your stress levels, your mood, your brain function, and more. Also basic – don’t forget to eat good food and drink water. You don’t have to get crazy fancy, but your body will experience more stress without these basics. As regularly, simply and healthily as you can, feed and hydrate yourself.
These are just a few of many possible things that can help you through dark days. I’m sure those of you reading have more ideas, please, for the sake of those in sh*t storms, share them below! You never know how much your unique coping strategy may help someone else and make a world of difference.
To brighter times and with lots of love,