Tips on how to get back, take charge and live well
With so many things happening in our life, it’s hard to feel in control and we simply just have to do fire-fighting to get over the situation.
When situations go overboard, you are overtaken by anxiety or overwhelmed by emotions.
It’s easy to spiral downwards to a chaotic mess but if you can take a step back and allow mindfulness to guide you. This journey of chaotic mess will get easier and step by step, you realized that you have taken back control for your life. You are in charge.
“I am already taking charge.. am I?”
Maybe it’s a norm to you – to wake up in pain from fibromyalgia, sleeping 4-5 hours daily, stepping on LEGO pieces while keeping the toys for the kids. You gulp down 2 shots of whiskey after dinner (which was kind of charred) as you left it in the oven for a tad too long. You just screamed at your child to not touch the boiling kettle and texted your husband to get new diapers from the supermarket on the way home without any response back from him.. yet.
I am with you. This is our daily norm but is this how it should be? Do you feel overwhelmed? Have you been throwing emotional fits? Run through the list below and see how normal is your life right now.
- I feel a lack of time to do everything I want to do every day
- I am emotional, typically angsty, angry or naggy throughout the day
- I have an overactive mind. It races around faster than an F1 car
- I don’t smile or laugh very often
- I do not feel any sort of connection or sense of fulfillment after all the things that are done in a day.
If you are checking all, it is likely that you haven’t been happy for quite some time and have grown apathetic about your situation.
Mindfulness tips to take charge and take back your life
10 people can go through the same tasks for a day but have 10 different emotional outlooks of what happened. Perhaps a couple of them were more optimistic, or they have a better attitude towards these tasks. However, it doesn’t mean you cannot conduct your day such that it is less stressful, calmer and peaceful.
Below are 5 tips that you can use straight away to make your current situation better with each small steps.
1. Plan your day
Easier said than done but this is a really useful way to be organized and focused on what you would like to do today. Write down the tasks and get them mentally registered in your head so that the day in a direction you have set.
2. Recognize you only have 24 hours in a day – prioritize and be kind to yourself
Prioritize and buffer your time for the day. Achieve 3 big items you would like to do and have the rest as an optional item. For example, you have a proposal to complete, while it’s not possible to finish in a day, schedule the whole morning to work on it. Schedule to read email only at 1130 before you head for lunch. Do one thing at a time and settle the big stuff first.
It happens so many time to me. To schedule 1 hour for the particular activity but to use 2 hours realistically on it. This is a trial and error process to get a correct estimate of what is the amount of time to allocate. We are typically ambitious, add some buffer into your big tasks.
3. Do not engage when you are emotional
Once again, easier said than done. Try your best to stop all engagement even when the other party is still shouting. He or she has no one to shout or continue the argument with if you stop all engagement. Take a breather and let things calm down before taking through the issue. You may even realize that both of you have forgotten what you were arguing about..
4. Allocate some time for self-care
No matter how busy your day is, spend some time to take care of yourself. It can be just a mere 5 minutes to do a proper facial routine or read even 1 page of that book you have left on your table for some time..
5. Expect the unexpected
Not everything will go your way. Take it to stride that there are some external factors that you cannot control. Learn to face the unexpected and resolve it the best you can.
My visit back to my parents did not include a faulty tap which was on maximum flow. No one expected it. While the older generation was adamant on a DIY repair, my siblings and I decided to call the plumber to fix it. Called. Came. Did his magic. Resolved. Don’t be strongly attached to a solution. Be flexible to find different ways to handle the situation.
Ways to ease anxiety and take control right now
1. Pause and stay still for 15 mins
I know you don’t have time to sit down and be still. Take a break and focus on an object. When your thoughts drift, bring it back to the object. You will feel better after 5 minutes of this practice. For the next 10 minutes. Take out your phone or paper and write down what you would like to do to correct your day.
Take out your shoes and just head out to go for a run. Not a runner? Go and walk outside for at least 15 minutes. Feel the breeze and look around to see what others are doing. Are they playing? Jogging? Talking with friends? Others can do this means you can do this too.
Exercising will jam brake the crazy racing in your mind as the body starts to work out and forced our mind to quieten. After a cool down, sort out what you should do to correct the direction.
3. Go for a nice warm shower or a cold one
Feeling flustered? Treat yourself a cold shower. Splash your face with ice cold water to wake yourself up. Still feeling jittery and flustered when you are supposed to turn in? Try a nice fuzzy warm shower to get blood circulation and relax your muscles.
4. Do some art or creative work
Break free of the vicious cycle of overthinking. Take out an adult coloring book and exercise your creativity on the colors.
DIY creativity accelerator
- Take 2 pieces of blank paper
- Draw 6 circles on each sheet
- Set a timer of 2 minutes.
- In 2 minutes, make a different pattern for each circle. Make a total of 12 patterns.
The patterns can be anything. Just draw whatever you feel like.
5. Write down everything
Writing can be very therapeutic especially if you are an introvert. Don’t think so much about how you should write. Whether it should be your day or your thoughts or reflections. Take a pen and a blank page and start writing whatever that comes to your head.
Unload the mind clutter, worries on the paper. Read and laugh over it of it’s silly. Take some time to review though.
If you would like to write to uncover root causes and reflect for next mindful action, try doing a self-reflection entry.
6. Perform a repetitive task mindfully
If you know how to crochet or knit, try knitting or doing your crotchet for 15 minutes. Focus on your action and bring back your thoughts when it drifts.
7. Do a yoga nidra
Google yoga nidra and there are ample of benefits. Allow your body to rest on a mat with legs facing outward towards the corner of the mats and palms facing out. Consciously rest for 15 minutes and slowly get up. This helps you to relax, get an efficient rest to get you going for the day. Similarly, set your intention as to what to correct for the day and go about doing it.
Practice to reap the fruits of mindfulness
Mindfulness starts with awareness. Be aware of your actions and emotion. Take charge of what you can control and correct when you need it. Lastly, be kind to yourself by pacing realistically and allocating self-care to yourself.
Over time, you will notice yourself to be calmer, flexible and resourceful. You will fringe less when there is unexpected situation and find ways to work it to your best.