Recently I had one of those weeks where it felt like literally ever day got a little harder than the day before. I felt bombarded with various home and work projects, including long work hours, changing project expectations, and a client who is tremendously difficult to deal with. During my difficult week, I purposely avoided watching the news as I didn’t need the inevitable feeling of hopeless despair during an already difficult week. Instead, I occasionally numbed out over silly videos.
I wasn’t picky. Anything would do- a cat playing with a kitten, couples car karaoke, and my all time favorite – triplets playing with bouncy balls. When I realized I couldn’t watch silly videos all day to cope with stress, I decided to research tips on de-stressing from whatever bump in the road life presents.
Although I’m a horrible mediatater, prone to getting distracted by even my own breathing, I have learned that by practicing mindfulness meditation just 10 minutes a day I feel more grounded, calm, and capable of brushing off negativity. During my rough week, when I had trouble seeing past my own stress and frustration, I found comfort in calming myself down by taking 3 deep breaths and feeling my feet flat on the floor. Simple as it sounds, it helped me refocus tremendously when I otherwise would have used even more energy trying to calm myself down.
2. Get outside
According to long time zen people (unlike my type A self), getting out in nature is one of the best ways to get grounded and slow down the fight or flight stress response in our bodies. Taking a walk or sitting outside for a moment can put even the worst days in perspective.
3. Listen to music
Music is another reliable comfort and calming mechanism for our bodies when the effects of stress have kicked in. The thing I learned about myself is that music can also be an agitator. It’s all about the right music. My go to calm down music for the past 20 years has been my favorite band, Jars of Clay.
I am grateful that rough days and weeks are pretty rare, and that when they do happen I don’t have to fall into victim consciousness. Sometimes nothing works to turn my mood around but the predictable end of one day and the start of another. But in between, I am practicing living in the space that good or bad, I am empowered to take care of myself with passionate focus.
What do you do to cope during rough days? I’d love to hear from you in the comment box below. No matter what this week brings, choose love. Choose you.