One of the first things that goes out the window during an emotional trauma is routine.
But routine helps stability – and STABILITY is critical.
We often react in crazy ways to an emotional trauma. When I was going through my own significant life-event (divorce), I started drowning myself in a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. I would stay up until 3 in the morning drinking bottles of wine, and just generally not sleeping, not eating properly, driving like a maniac and being chaotic in everything that I was doing. This did nothing to improve my stability.
It’s like we almost enjoy the craziness, or give in to it. Don’t – resist it.
A challenging life-event can provide a very chaotic energy, and if you don’t take charge of your daily activities (routine) then your in-stability will just increase. And that’s not good. You’ll find yourself just getting buffeted along and swept along in the currents of the emotional turmoil you’ll be experiencing. Which only makes matters worse.
Now, the first step to really taking charge of your healing is to come back to the rituals that root you in life. At risk of stating the obvious your rituals, and routines will increase your stability. You can only make sensible decisions when your emotions are grounded and stable. Until then, do not make any big critical decisions!
So, establishing a grounded routine will help you take on and handle the rollercoaster of energy much better, so you can feel the feelings of the rollercoaster, but not completely get swept up in it.
It’s almost like you step a little bit back. You’re the person who is observing what’s happening, and you are noticing yourself feeling and going through the rollercoaster, but you don’t end up getting buffeted around by the rollercoaster.
If you establish a grounded routine, you will not internalise the chaos around you. You’ll be more adaptable to the changes. And you will start to feel more emotionally stable.
You can only make sensible decisions when your emotions are grounded and stable. Until then, do not make any big critical decisions!
Things to avoid are things like not eating, not sleeping. Excessive socialising one minute, while hiding in a cave or hole the next minute. So, anything that’s crazy, up, down. Changing your hair colour chaotically, excessive social drugs / alcohol, altering your sexual behaviour or doing things that are completely out of character.
Things that really ground you and help increase stability are manual gentle physical activities. Such as walking around in a beautiful park (like I’m in right now), cooking, cleaning, gardening, filing, ironing. Anything that uses your hands in a manual way is perfect. Doing things around the home. Cleaning out cupboards. Things that organise the chaos around you and bring it back into order.
Gentle exercise, walking, light regular jogs, yoga etc are great. Anything to get the blood flowing. If you aren’t use to physical exercise just add a moderate walk to your daily / weekly routine. Now is not the time to launch a massive fitness initiative, but moderate exercise is very helpful.
The more stable you can make the environment around you, perhaps not surprisingly the more stable you will feel. You’ll have more mental bandwidth to deal with the emotional drama itself.
Emotional traumas (life-events) can be totally exhausting. So the more energy you have, and can give to the situation the better equipped you will be to make it to the other side.
Einstein, Steve Jobs and others decided to only wear one set of clothes to help increase their stability, routines, and remove one more decision they had to make every day. If those geniuses go to such lengths to increase their routine during their ‘normal’ every day lives – perhaps you’ll see that increasing your routine, and stability will better prepare you for the transition and mental challenges that you are going through.
There’s now huge evidence about the role nutrition takes in our emotional state. It’s easily ignored in an emotional crisis, we often run towards the beer, pizza and other so-called ‘comfort foods’. Don’t! Or at the very least be aware and limit it to sensible levels.
Moving to, or continuing with a healthy nutritional and varied diet is a massive asset. This is a huge topic, and one that I will go into some detail another time – but please trust me on this one – nutrition matters big time.
So in short Get Grounded – Get Stable!
Our Clearing Retreat clients tell us that they love the certainty, the routine, and stability that our retreats provide. It’s the necessary foundation we need to move forward into the transitional phase. The more routines, and certainty you can add to your daily life practises will help you stabilise emotionally, it will give you more mental capacity to digest and transition through and past this life event (even if that feels totally impossible right now).
I believe we all have a responsibility to ourselves for our own physical and mental health. So take on the challenge pro-actively. Start with Stability!