How To Handle a Crisis
I feel like our country has been in a crisis...for a while.
It's interesting, I started writing this and genuinely felt a panic attack coming on. Sometimes just remembering a crisis can be triggering. I've had cancer in my family, and that initial discovery...it's numbing (nothing silences a room like the word "cancer"). And I had a panic attack when my long-term boyfriend threatened to leave. Completely different thing, still a crisis. And what about the U.S.? I feel like we've been in a crisis for almost four years. But that's me. Crises come in many many forms, and what's a crisis for me, may not be one for you.
I thought I'd give you a few tips on handling this.
- Ok, so with the first encounter with a crisis, if it's possible, sit down and breathe. Maybe have a glass of water. You may or may not be in shock, but you want to slow things down. I like to "ground", and the way I do that is to imagine roots going down from my feet and tailbone into the center of the Earth, then breathe in Earth energy through my feet, and let go of toxins from my tailbone. Btw, it's a good time to eat chocolate (less sugar is better). Chocolate is sacred (seriously) and gives the body an energy boost that will help. If you have the option of meditating (or just being quiet and still), take it.
- If there is no time to stop and think, seriously, tell your body you will deal with the shock later, and dive into whatever needs to be done. And this is important - DO deal with the shock later. Once it's quiet and safe again, imagine those first moments and sink into the big deal that it was. Do the grounding thing here instead, and send the toxicity of that crisis into the center of the Earth. The point is to fail to hold onto that stuff. Get rid of it. And again, if you can meditate, it's going to help.
- Meanwhile, some crises are a one-shot deal, while others can last hours, days, months, even years. The longer it lasts, the more important it is to deal with it as the crisis it IS. Crises move into being called other things - caregiving, dying, leaving, loneliness...and you know, this kind of normalizes something that really is messing with your head. It's important to deal with how you feel. If you were in a loving, happy, long term relationship and they up and left, that's a crisis! Allow yourself time to heal. Treat yourself like someone who has had a crisis, because you HAVE. Be gentle with yourself, and allow yourself whatever you need to get through this.
- Use your resources. Talk with friends. When you reach out for help you are telling them that they matter to you and you trust them. It's a gift. If you are worried that your issue is too much to ask them to deal with, then ask them what they would like it to look like. "I really need to talk about this with someone, but I don't want to bore you with it. How does it need to look for you in order for me not to bore you with my problem, and for me to get some support?" If you need a pro to talk with, great, find one. There are tons of books and internet sites if you want to keep your privacy and find help there. Exercising and moving around, especially outside, is amazing for the body. Sweating is a great way to let go of the toxicity of stress. So is crying btw. And hey - make sure you drink enough any time you are processing stress. It helps to wash away the toxins as you are letting go.
- You are in charge of your Being. Figure out what you need and get it in the form that is ideal for you. You need to run away? Great - get outside and expend some energy. You need something sweet to offset the sour taste of the crisis? Cool - get a dessert. Want to scream? Find a deserted spot (or a loud concert) and go for it (note - careful here as you really can damage your vocal cords). While you are using those outlets, understand why they benefit you. When you examine that, it goes deeper into what you really need and what will help.
- Finally, remember that this won't last forever. And if it does? You will learn how to handle it when you allow yourself to. You can do this.