I just got in from a walk with my puppy in the fresh fall air. I love this time of year. The cool mornings that bite my pink cheeks, the warm afternoons where I can smell the sun warm the fallen leaves, and the bright gold and amber leaves against a bluebird sky, it’s all magical!
The changing of the seasons is a wonderful reminder to reflect and take stock of what is also changing within ourselves.
As I’m getting more and more pregnant (I’m officially 34 weeks now), I notice I’m also in transition. I’m getting slower, more fatigued, and also craving being at home more as I’m preparing for my son to arrive.
Most of us are also uncomfortable with change, myself included.
A few weeks ago I was totally overwhelmed.
I felt like there was ALL the things to do, and it was never going to get done.
The To-Do list felt a mile long, and with baby coming, I definitely felt a deadline, or at least a very limited time to do things and the progress felt slow and overwhelming with my declining energy.
I had also been feeling this way for a while, so the anxiety was climbing every day my due date got nearer.
It felt like this was going to go on forever and I was starting to panic.
Maybe you can relate to something in your own life?
Like when it seems like one thing after another keeps piling up and you can’t seem to get a break?
Or maybe you’re in the midst of learning something new and it all feels hard and it’s like trying to learn string theory in Chinese?
Sometimes it all feels overwhelmingly too much and never ending.
In Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage he states that when we:
“…start to “overestimate the significance and permanence of the problems they encounter,”(it’s) the fastest route to depression and anxiety…”
Isn’t this the truth?
We tend to view our problems as significant and permanent, which can quickly encourage invasive thoughts leading to anxiety and depression.
Buddhist philosophy believes that the only constant is change.
Just like the constant changing of the seasons, our lives are in a constant state of change, and we too are a part of that because everything is temporary and shifting.
So you can take comfort that even the most uncomfortable times are temporary too.
Just like my rib that’s been out for almost two months.
Just like my To-Do list.
Eventually it will be over and there will be something else in its place.
A beautiful child.
Other things to focus on.
So if you are going through something right now like overwhelm, grief, anger, confusion, stuckness, depression, anxiety or frustration:
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
This too shall pass, as they say and soon enough you won’t even remember this moment because you will already be onto the next.
Learning to get comfortable with change, even simply accepting it, makes it easier to deal with the challenging times and appreciate the good ones.
One of the easiest ways I know how to do this is just to name it and acknowledge that this is now I’m feeling right now, for example:
This feels overwhelming for me right now.
Instead of: I’m overwhelmed.
I’m feeling exhausted with this right now.
Instead of: I’m exhausted with this.
I’m feeling frustrated right now.
Instead of: I’m frustrated.
There’s a few language cues that are important here:
“I’m feeling”, “I’m experiencing”, “this is” rather than “I am.”
When we use“I am,” it implies that this is a way of being which is permanent, fixed, or a part of your identity. This increases our feelings of and helplessness to the situation.
Adding “Right now” instead of ending the sentence as fact.
“Right now” acknowledges that this is being experienced in the moment, and therefore not a persistent situation. We can have confidence that the situation will change and that this is truly temporary (because it is!).
Both of these language cues shifts our perspective to feel more in control and empowered by riding the waves of what is.
This moment may be uncomfortable, but don’t panic, everything is temporary.
I’d love to hear from you now! What’s your best tip for managing tough times? Please share it in the comments below.
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