Bringing a Sense of "Normal" in Abnormal Times
During times of uncertainty and upheaval in our lives, it can be difficult to feel much peace or comfort. When I am weathering a storm, I often feel foggy, disheartened, and unmotivated. When I can no longer stand feeling mired down, these are the ways in which I bring some "normal" back to my scrambled up life circumstances.
My Top 5 Ways to Feel Normal(ish) Again
1. Get dressed like you're going out (even if you're not going out).
It may sound unnecessary, but getting dressed, putting on my makeup, brushing out my hair, and wearing jewelry somehow makes me feel ready to meet the day. If I stay in PJs all day, I shuffle around with a fuzzy brain. When I'm somewhat put together, I feel sharper, more confident, and more able to face the day's challenges.
2. Move your body! Exercise is one of the best ways to beat stress and clear your mind. Are you mad? Try kickboxing. Want to feel strong emotionally? Try lifting weights. Feel wound up and tight? Try yoga or Pilates. Use exercise to support yourself both physically and emotionally. (Always consult your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen.)
3. Try to get up and go to bed at the same times every day. This may sound boring to you, but if you keep the same daily rhythm, you will feel much more grounded. I know if I change my bedtime or wakeup time by too much I feel "off" for the whole day.
4. Keep a daily routine. You don't have to be strictly scheduled, but if you can do things in the same order on most days, you don't have to think so hard about what comes next in your day. For example, usually after breakfast, I automatically get my workout clothes on and then go work out. I don't have to think about it, I just do it.
5. Level out your ups and downs. What do I mean? Keep stimulating things like coffee, chocolate, and sugar in moderation. Too much caffeine, for example, can leave you feeling jittery and anxious. Too much sugar suppresses your immune system. To add insult to injury, once the "upper" wears off, you'll crash and feel crummy all over again. On the flip side, keep depressants like alcohol in moderation as well. While life can seem overwhelming, relaxing activities like taking a walk, meditating, or doing a hobby can be much more beneficial than numbing out with alcohol or a social media binge.
These are tools I use for myself in troubling times, but please know that I am not standing in judgement on how you or anyone else copes (unless it's harmful to others, of course). We can all handle different things at different times in our lives. Sometimes getting out of bed is the best a person can do. I truly understand. If you can find one positive habit that helps you feel a little more like yourself, you'll start to build momentum as you walk, step by step, out of the storm.