- Ricka Robb Kohnstamm
How will you find your way without visible light at the end of the tunnel?
When it is no longer 2 weeks or 2 months but "for the foreseeable future," we know we're in for the long haul. While it could be the COVID pandemic, or messy-as-hell cancer treatment, or working within an organization that no longer even slightly resembles the organization you knew and loved, it is normal to experience deeply itchy overwhelm.
The good news is that there are tried and true tools to help you find your way.
Dr. Elena Miller, an integrative psychiatrist and 2x cancer survivor (and one of my favorite people), recently shared these three powerful tips for coping with overwhelm.
Tip #1: a) It is normal to overestimate the likelihood of bad things happening, and b) it is also normal to underestimate our ability to handle the worst case scenario if it does happen. Whatever you are experiencing right now could be worse - notice when you are projecting rather than staying in the here and now. If you do get to worst case scenario, you will find ways to cope. One step at a time.
Tip #2: Remember that the situation does not need to change for you to change the way you feel about it. Over time, the way humans perceive situations soften and normalize, whether they are really "good" or really "bad". Our perceptions spike and then go back to baseline. Human beings are resilient and adjust.
Tip #3: Wait. Simply wait it out, knowing that nothing good lasts forever and nothing bad lasts forever, as well. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to handle it, continue on with living, with patience. You don't have to solve it, you can just wait out and whatever it is will eventually end.
I know these things to be true. And, yet it is reassuring to hear Elena explain them again, as she is a trusted teacher.
Remembering that there are tools and teachers available, is helpful for determining my actions and staying in the present. As always, my actions, aligned with my values, are what supports optimal health.