It’s inevitable that some days, perhaps even some weeks or months, are much more difficult and stressful than others. With work, school, social events, and occasionally, a global pandemic, life can quickly spin out of control, leaving you feeling weighed down, disorganized, and overwhelmed.
If you happen to find yourself at this kind of moment right now, then it’s time to refocus yourself through some simple, tangible steps that will help orient your life once again and give you back control.
Here’s how to get started:
Improve Your Defenses
Think of yourself as a pilot for a moment. Now imagine that your body is your plane. When your mind becomes clouded and you begin feeling lost within your own life, it becomes difficult to navigate your plane. Moreover, trying to guide yourself through any sudden storms becomes nearly impossible if one of your engines or lights aren’t working properly. To recenter yourself and find a clear path again, you should ensure your needs are being taken care of.
This can be making an effort to eat more nutritious foods that will keep you fueled and feeling more energetic. It also means finally booking that overdue appointment with your doctor to get a checkup and discuss any health concerns you have. It’s also important to take the right precautions with your body and health by regularly applying sunscreen or using UV-blocking eyewear whenever you’re outside. It also is a good idea to get screened for any underlying issues that might be hiding below the surface, especially if you’re an older adult.
While it might be a bit cheesy to imagine yourself as a pilot and your body as your plane, there are a lot of similarities. When you routinely take yourself in for maintenance and utilize healthy mental and physical habits to keep your head clear and focused, you’re more likely to have a calm and smooth “flight.”
Tackle the Things You’ve Been Avoiding
How many times have you found yourself putting off an important albeit time-consuming task, for weeks or sometimes even months? Think tasks such as going to the DMV to finally renew your driver’s license or increasing your credit score by disputing errors on your credit report. Meanwhile, as you’re putting everything off, you’re stuck stressing out about getting it done. It’s a toxic spiral more people are familiar with than you think.
Anxiety, depression, and stress can all contribute to a debilitating mindset that prevents you from making decisions and completing necessary tasks. Your mind begins telling you lies, over-complicating tasks, and mentally punishing you for not completing them fast enough. However, take a moment whenever you begin dreading doing something and consider what exactly about it is making you stressed. Is it the crowds and long lines? Having to call and battle with a company over a bill?
By dissecting the task you can better mentally prepare yourself to deal with it. You also take away the power it has over your mind by breaking it down and reducing the negative aspects of it into more manageable tasks. You also might find other possible solutions you hadn’t thought of once your mind is finally settled and you feel in charge of your life once again.
Avoid Harmful Coping Mechanisms
When we begin feeling out of control of our life, sometimes we start using certain harmful coping methods as a way to feel in control again. You can start thinking of areas in your life you do have complete control over. For many, this means eating and drinking habits. This can spark an unhealthy relationship with food or start dangerous habits such as binge drinking. While it’s understandable that stress often pushes us to these points, the best way to regain control of your life is by breaking away from these negative habits before they spiral further.
To help break the cycle, work towards changing your coping mechanisms. Avoid using drinking or drugs as a way to relieve your stress and develop a healthier relationship with food. Instead, try focusing more on positive choices, such as meditating, exercising, and attending therapy. Meditation can help lift your mental fog, exercising has been shown to relieve anxiety, and a therapist can provide more tailored, healthy coping methods for the future.
At the end of the day, learning to embrace life’s many curveballs can help you feel more in control of your life. While it may not always be easy to see it this way, those overwhelming moments we experience are often a learning opportunity that we can use to grow and learn from. With the right mindset, healthy habits, and positive coping mechanisms, you can start living life to its fullest once again.
Guest Author Bio
Jori Hamilton is a writer and journalist from the Pacific Northwest who covers social justice issues, healthcare, and politics. You can follow her work on twitter @HamiltonJori, and through her portfolio at Writer Jori Hamilton.