Are you beyond the end of your rope?
Has stress overwhelmed you for far too long?
Have you felt like you are not quite yourself?
You are not alone.
As 2020 comes to a close, we have some hope that we can move beyond this challenging year and begin to revive our soul.
When stress hits, we automatically begin to adapt. Normally, we can utilize some stress management coping such as exercise, sleep, or taking time off. But, when we are bombarded with stress from multiple sources, as we have been in 2020, our souls become utterly depleted and we’re moved into an entirely different stratosphere.
Take a look around. We are exhausted. Many of us have been stretched beyond our capacity to cope. We are exhausted and weary. We are also angry, confused and feel the great divide that has emerged in America over mask wearing and polarized politics.
Suddenly, our deepest values are challenged. Our basic sense of security has been threatened. Who are these people close to us who believe so differently? We see it everywhere, coworkers, household members, church community, neighbors, etc. The issues of masks and political party have become the divider on the court. Personal safety and the future of the country are at stake. All of this has created a personal and collective crisis we were not prepared for.
Never before have I heard such fear and confilct among our population. COVID isolation, political uncertainties, alternative school & work settings and high learning curves in technology have complicated daily routines and structure. All this adds up to more than stress. The events of this year have forced upon us fundamental change on every level.
This year I’ve been thinking we need more than just coping skills. We need ‘soul survival’.
While it is tempting to complain, escape, or stay busy to avoid the disruptive elements of stress, holding our breath “till it’s over” will not serve us well. We need to tend to our souls. We crave meaning, connection and purpose. We are divinely created to celebrate our uniqueness and enjoy this precious gift of life, even when the world shakes our foundation. Hang onto yourself and come through this “better, not bitter”.
Soul Survival invites us to dig deep within to nourish our soul.
- Identify what is most important to us. Who & what matter most to us?
- Nail down the basics of healthy living (eat well, sleep enough, move more, connect regularly).
- Attending to soul survival is sorting out personal values – does your behavior match your beliefs?
- Intentionally decide who is safe in your inner circle – where can you share your deepest self without judgement?
- Spirituality, values and belief sets guide our thoughts & actions – do you need to spend more time in activities that focus on “the bigger picture”?
- Mindfulness, staying in today to enjoy what is happening in the moment and looking for ‘what’s good about today’. Train yourself to think and talk about what’s good.
- Personal reflection and how is this year shaping you or changing your life. This extraordinary year has changed us. Reflect on what you’ve gained and learned.
- What are your top 5 to 10 things that help you be your best? Step out of “survival mode” and back into the pursuit of making yourself & life better and establish these as habits.
- Engage in hobbies, reading or activities that fulfill you rather than allow you to escape. Hobbies use another part of the brain, tapping into creative, intuitive channels allowing us to step into ‘the flow’, losing track of everything except what we are doing.
- Find an opportunity to give. Focusing on blessing someone else will bless you. We all feel better when we are able to contribute, in a positive way, to someone’s life or a cause bigger than ourselves. The giver gets blessed in the process of giving.
Perhaps Voltaire, in his tale, ‘Candide’ (1759), illustrates this well when Candide states that, ‘we must take care of our garden’. Voltaire is stating that our responsibility, first, is ‘local’ – to ourselves – and based in immediate action that supports our growth.
When we tend our own garden we feed ourselves and our soul.
CADC, NBCCHT, ACH, CCT
Dr. Denise Casey is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a Certification in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling and a National Board Certification in Clinical Hypnosis. She is also Certified in Cognitive Therapy and has studied addictions and hypnosis at advanced levels.
Her general experience in working with young adults to seniors has equipped her to deal with a wide variety of issues. Dr. Casey is highly skilled, deeply compassionate, and presents a very casual and caring atmosphere.
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