When a person is going through a life changing event, such as a divorce or separation, a child custody matter, death of a loved one, job loss, or one of those bad times when everything is messed up, it can take a physical, financial, and emotional toll on you. No one likes a whiner, self-pity stinks, and isolation only makes things worse. But when you feel overwhelmed, even if you are making the motions and getting through the day, you can’t just slap on a smile and pretend. Ask yourself, “How Am I?” If your answer is “Everything is awful and I’m not okay.” Here are some small things you can do which may help.
Wonder if You Are Normal? Check it out, make an appointment and see your doctor and/or a therapist and tell them what is going on and ask for advice. If you are taking medications, ask your doctor if the medications could be affecting you or need changing.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Get outside of yourself. Call and tell a friend you need to check out of the problem you have for a while and have them meet you for coffee or just to chat and ask them not to let you talk about your problem.
Feeling Unloved? Cuddle. Cuddle your dog or cat or your friend’s or neighbor’s pet, or even go to the shelter and cuddle one of theirs. In a pinch, stuffed animals can even help.
Body Tensed Up? Exercise, walk around the block, or on a nature trail, or up and down every aisle in Walmart.
Sitting Around Feeling Sorry for Yourself? Take a shower, brush your teeth, get dressed, drink a glass of water, eat something with protein.
Can’t Stop Thinking? Those random thoughts go through your head, and seem so much greater at 4 AM? Do something mindless. Color a picture, read a book, play a game on your computer, do a crossword puzzle, or a Sudoku. Keep these next to your bed so if you can’t sleep you have something to do besides worry about your problems.
Paralyzed? Can’t Seem to Do Anything? Make a list of three things to do today and do them, even if they are small, like loading the dishwasher or answering emails. Don’t include things you know you are not going to do.
Feeling Unattractive? If you are feeling unattractive, put on clean clothes, get your hair cut or washed or styled, do your nails, take a selfie and send it to your friends, tell them you are feeling unattractive and need them to tell you something good about yourself and wait for the compliments to pour in. (Is that fishing for compliments? You bet! But the replies will be true, we just rarely actually tell our friends stiff like that)
Feeling That Nothing Will Ever Make You Smile? Look at the little things. Every day, write down three things that make you happy or that you like. You can’t write the same thing 3 times, (i.e. the dog, the dog, the dog) but you can repeat some of the things during the following days. If you have a friend who will participate, exchange lists everyday. Don’t be fanatical if you miss a day here or there.
Think No One Has Problems Like Yours? Maybe not exactly like yours, but close! Join a Group. There are groups for those abusing something or addicted to something there are groups for their family members, there are divorce groups, single parent groups, groups for people who are depressed or have mental health problems, or for people who have to cope with someone else’s issues. If you are concerned about someone talking about you, go to a group where everyone is anonymous. Don’t exactly fit into any of the groups? Pick one and go anyway, you will probably get something out of it, and if not, well, at least you got out.