How to Keep Calm When Everything Else is Falling Apart

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We all know by now that life is not all rainbows and butterflies. Life can be cruel sometimes. And when things fall apart around us, it’s easy for us to crumble and fall along with it. But when the going gets tough, sometimes self love is the only thing that keeps us from building walls within us and shutting everything else out.

So what can we do to equip ourselves with the emotional strength to seek help and love ourselves enough when it feels impossible? Here are a few steps:

1.       Take time

Just make sure you have a set end. Tell yourself you will take a week to dwell on whatever that’s happened. Mourn, vent, get angry, cry – acknowledge what you’re feeling and let it all out. During this time, allow yourself to feel without judging or rationalising away those emotions. But at the end of that timeframe, make sure you consciously try to pick yourself back up, and do what you can to start heading back to normalcy, no matter how difficult.

2.       Surround yourself with a support system

Friends, family, professional help… Your support system is going to be very important during turbulent days. “When people bottle up challenging situations, the problems grow and mutate into horrible worries and anxieties,” according to clinical psychologist Ryan Howes. Reach out to the people who care about you and that you can share your burden with. Know that they’re not judging you for going through a difficult time. It’s OK to be vulnerable and for admitting that you need a shoulder to cry on. More often than not, there is strength and solace in numbers. And soon enough you’ll find yourself even smiling again.

3.       Learn to love yourself again

Self-care and self-love can be difficult when you feel like you’re going through a crisis. This comes in different forms for different people and different situations. However one of the most powerful decisions and first steps to showing yourself kindness is to forgive yourself – or persons involved – and letting go of what you cannot control. Make a list of things that you cannot change, and visualise handing those items over to someone else.

4.       Limit time with toxic people

During this time of healing, spend less time or cut out completely your time with toxic people. These are individuals who are not supportive and may not have your best interest at heart. If you find yourself feeling worse than you initially were, maybe it’s time to reassess your relationship with certain people.

5.       Focus on the bigger picture

Sometimes we get blinded by what is directly in front of us, and feel as if our situation is all consuming. Often times, it is easy to feel there is no way out, the feeling of being stuck can be overwhelming. Take a deep breath, try to focus on how far you’ve come. “Don’t look at a snapshot and think it’s the whole movie,” says Wendy Mogel, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. Visualise a time in the future where you are free from current worries and focus on renewed hopes and dreams. Give yourself credit for everything you have already overcome previously, and focus on the relieving truth that time heals all, if you allow it.

And when you find yourself stumbling along the way, don’t beat yourself up. Just start over and little by little, you’ll find it easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Dominique Nguyen