Have you reached your limit yet?
Many of us have. There is so much going on right now, it feels like “The Quickening” with life taking on a roller coaster type quality and speed….without the good thrills though.
If the last 2 years wasn’t enough for us, the torrential rain and floods in some parts of our country have added yet another major hurdle to everyday living.
For some people I know their number one concern is not what their sales target is this year, this half year or quarter, it’s “where am I going to live?” And for those of us who might have forgotten the fine print in the contract of being a human being, we’re all connected so we will all feel the ripple effects of all of this for some time yet.
Just hearing about hardship after hardship whether on our shores or overseas takes a toll on our ability to keep getting up again and feeling optimistic. It doesn’t take much these days for us to tip over into responses that surprise us and those around us….and not in a good way.
We’re at our limits. We’ve been pushed to the brink. We need to name it, acknowledge this and take action to help ourselves and those we lead and work with.
These are my 5 R’s to help you return to your best self when all around you is changing and uncertain:
Listening and noticing the signs that you’re not coping or you’re at the edge of your limits is important. Our body gives us signs: tummy pains, headaches, anxiety…so does our life: car breaking down, losing keys/wallet/phone, forgetting stuff, running late…its different for each of us and knowing yourself is key to being able to recognisse the signs. These are all indications that our parasympathetic nervous system is taking over: that our cortisol levels are high and our normal functioning capabilities are shutting down in order to deal with the “crisis” we’re in…Of course there may be an actual crisis or just our bodies responding to our emotions. Either way, cortisol is a survival response not a hormone we want on a permanent basis in our bodies.
We’re depleted. We wouldn’t expect a classic car to simply keep going if we didn’t take care of it with fuel, oil, water, cleaning it inside and out, replacing parts as they wear out and not burning out the engine through wreckless driving. Yet this is exactly how we treat ourselves at times and wonder why we get run down, get sick or start acting in ways that aren’t us at our best! We can only give when we have something to give and that requires us to replenish ourselves with rest, nutritious healthy food, meditation or another spiritual practice, laughter and time with loved ones, exercise…Now I’m not saying anything you don’t already know but if we don’t do what we know what’s the point??! What would we say to our best friend if they came to us the same way we’re showing up in the world? This is the advice we need to give ourselves, and then take action.
We can press the reset button on our lives at any time. But pressing reset when the core issue hasn’t been addressed won’t work. That’s why it comes after replenish. Once we’re renewed, we can press the reset button and start afresh. What do we need to clean up? (that includes conversations, relationships, as well as living spaces and cars, etc) What do we need to fix? What is the next right thing to do?
Responding is totally different to reacting. Reacting is a subconscious, knee-jerk, reflex way of being whereas responding has a pause in between. It’s easier to respond when we’re replenished from within because we have a reserve we can access. It’s when we’re aware of our reaction (because it’ll be there still), and then in the pause we have an opportunity to choose/decide on what action I take: is it nothing? Is it to smile? Is it to walk away? Is it to make that phone call? Is it an apology? Is it to think? Is it to have the difficult conversation? Being deliberate means we can think about the consequences of whatever action we’re about to take.
Reflection is one way of gaining wisdom. From the action we take we can then reflect on how it went, the impact of that action, what lessons we would like to take on board and then how I can take those lessons forward with me. What have I learnt about myself in that situation? What have I learnt about the situation or another person? What does that mean for me from this point onwards?
Be kind to yourself and others. While it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, I truly believe we’re all doing the best we can.