Last Sunday I returned home from a wonderful Italian vacation, far away from my everyday life and what awaited me. Travel is my delicious joy in life….always has been. Travel fills my soul and nourishes my spirit and senses open as I explore a new culture.
With my senses wide open, I wasn’t emotionally prepared for bombardment of the tragedies and sadness in our 24/7 media. I arrived home to post-hurricanes’ devastation, the shocking aftermath of the Las Vegas mass shooting, and ravages and loss of life from the still uncontrolled horrific California fires. Those were the macro issues. In my circle of loves ones, I returned to an unexpected death of a neighbor, and several very serious and life threatening issues. My heart aches for the pain in the world and for those I love. I’m agitated and tear up frequently. I know I’m not alone in this feeling. Many of us are dealing with the painful stuff of life.
If I am going to be a positive force for good, I have to get back to my calm and sane center although emotional turmoil spins around me. I don’t want to add to the collective stress in the world, so here’s what I did.
Shut off all media–-news, talk shows, and social media. It becomes a continual stream of the same news over and over. Whether its FaceTime, Twitter, TV, internet surfing, or talking news heads, they all escalate and feed the stress.
Choose to disconnect with media chatter in order to tap into the calm within.
Media is an echo-chamber which continually agitates, upping our level of stress and cortisol. Instead, I choose to listen to my favorite playlists, classical music, positive podcasts, or better, nature or silence
Move every day. Exercise in ways you enjoy…..walking, running, yoga, swimming, or playing a sport. It can be a simple as walking out the door around your neighborhood which increases blood flow, your breathing, and improves your mood.
Get outside and listen to the sounds of nature and you’ll feel better almost immediately.
Drink more–water that is! I started drinking a glass of water every hour or so, and I felt much better. When I’m agitated or tired, it’s often because I’m dehydrated and don’t even know it. It’s amazing how dehydration affects our mind and moods.
A glass of water is easy, available and refreshing. Add a slice of fruit, lemon or cucumber.
Take a nap. We can easily tell when small children need a nap, can’t we? It’s more difficult in adults since we try to ignore it. Even resting quietly for just 20 minutes is very refreshing.
Most Americans are sleep deprived and don’t even know it. It took me several days to get back to my normal sleep pattern after travel, but I feel much better when I’m rested.
If you aren’t sleeping well at night, you might just need a nap. Good sleep hygiene includes going to bed earlier, no caffeine after 2 pm, and park those electronics and screens in another room. You’ll be glad you did.
Listen and offer support to those who need it. I realize that what’s happening in the world and with those I love are all beyond my control. I can’t fix the problems, but I can find ways to do what I can.
Donating to a reputable local charity and preparing food for my immediate family and friends (soup, salad and french bread is my go-to meal) helps me feel better.
Don’t avoid those you love during their tough times. Communicate often, text and call to check in and listen. It is sufficient simply to comfort and support those who are going through a difficult time. There’s no need to fix it or offer any advice (unless asked), simply listen and express your concern.
If you have ideas that are helping you to stay sane yet want to do something for yourself or another, please comment below…we can all use some good ideas.