Life on the mend...that’s what I’m calling this new normal after the abrupt changes we experienced in 2020. There’s something tragically special about the way our lives have changed over the 12 months. I get calls daily from people who are looking for a therapist because they are at a loss for how to function. They tell me how they’re going nuts trying to handle being a parent or lover for longer than anticipated. “I miss my commute and lunch breaks downtown in the middle of my day,” one of my client’s told me. I get it. The process of recalibrating how we do life really tugs on us. We have to sit with certain negative thoughts and habits with no option to go to the nearest Target, for fear of contracting COVID-19. Our insecurities scream at us and then, there’s no wine in the house! We question our ability to parent, be a good partner, cook a nice meal. Our kids want to play yet another episode of Paw Patrol even though we are jonesing for a little more quiet time. But then, even in the silence, we struggle with those sneaky triggers that have us feeling not good enough. We replay conversations when we shoulda, coulda, woulda said this brilliant snap back when our dads said that hurtful thing to us. It’s a thing for me. I can’t count how many times I go over this one scene in my head. I call it trying to change the narrative, but it can also cause a domino effect of the rest of my Daddy Issues.
Do you find this silence to be loud for you too? Daddy Issues flaring? Not to worry! I have a few tips for how to address the narrative when they show up unexpectedly.
Journal. Journal. Journal
I know, you’ve probably heard this before. But I’m telling you, this release is like no other. I wake up in the middle of the night and jot down things that my brain doesn’t seem to want to let go. For me, I can sleep after. For you, it may mean you have a glass of water and say a prayer or something before you’re calm. Putting pen to paper (or making bullet points in your notes app on your phone) is a sure fire way of identifying the pesky narrative that still eats at you. What better way to start becoming curious about your thought patterns than to take notes and see where a cycle needs to be broken?
Play your jams!
Not just any song, ok? No sad, sappy songs. Get the endorphins going with an upbeat, old school joint that takes you to a place with happy memories. There’s power in taking yourself back to the jam that you remember dancing to when you met your boo, took your last awesome road trip, etc. Pay attention to your body when you listen to the song and focus on that happy place. Are there butterflies in your stomach? Do your shoulders automatically relax? There’s a reason our bodies remember these references. Isn’t it great to know our bodies are designed to store goodness?
Don’t check out on me, Sis. Meditation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have your Holy Space set up with the incense and alters. That may be where you’re going eventually. But you can totally start small with a focus on your deep breath for 1 minute. Concentrate on the movement of your breath through your body and how your belly moves up and down when you inhale and exhale. Get that oxygen flowing through to your brain so your frontal lobe is ready to think rationally. Then you work your way up. There are great apps for guided meditations like Headspace and Calm. I’ve heard good things about both!
Check your anxiety levels before you begin your activity and then after. That way you’ll know which tools work best for you and when you need to pull them out. When you’re done distracting yourself, make a promise to come back and strategize for how you will do the deep work. There’s a difference between distracting (temporary getaway) and avoiding (brushing it under the rug for a while longer). Come back and let me know how these work out for you! Share your own ideas on how you distract yourself in these tough moments. For a deeper look at how to dive into addressing these triggers, check out my books!