How to Cope When Life Is Too Much

Today has been an overwhelming day. Nothing has gone especially wrong, but the little master has been almost incessantly demanding. He wants this or doesn’t want that; he argues one thing is true while Mommy insists that it is not; after devoting an hour to giving him my attention, I hear him start to whine that he wants someone to play with him. It’s one of those days when you just can’t win.

It’s also one of those days when you want to tear your hair and scream.

I’m trying to figure out how to cope with such days. I can tell you what doesn’t work, because I’ve done it all. It doesn’t work to pelt your husband, who’s trying his best to focus on his work at the office, with texts. It doesn’t work to sit on the floor and sob. It doesn’t work to snap and shout. It doesn’t work to try to hide.

But today I’m trying something different. I took five steps and ended up in a much better place at the end:

1. I set the stage for quiet time.

The first thing that I did was to sit my son down with a screen. I know that practice isn’t ideal, but this was one of those times when I needed to be undisturbed for a few minutes in order to recover.

2. I vented in writing.

The next thing I did was dump out everything I was feeling. I did it in an email to my husband, but I’m not sure that was the kindest idea. Next time I shall try simply writing it down in my journal. But it certainly helped to get everything out.

3. I tried to cultivate positive thoughts.

I followed this with some meditation. I like to write down inspirational quotes as they catch my fancy or speak to me, and I flipped through that notebook, thinking about the words of wisdom inside it. I can’t tell you how much this calmed me down. It cleared my mind enough to lead me to the next step.

4. I sought a physical comfort.

And that was to fix myself a cup of coffee. Coffee is my comfort drink, and I like to turn to it when I am unhappy (or happy!). Some people have their fuzzy socks and warm blankets; I have my coffee.

5. I found something positive to do.

So now that the physical side of me was being nurtured with a creature comfort and the emotional side of me had had a chance to vent, the mental side needed some positive employment to enable it to find something good about life. I sat down to create–specifically to come up with ideas for my blog and then to write.

And all this process worked. By the time I got well into step 5, I was in a much better frame of mind and ready to tackle the next set of difficulties. Peace returned to my life.

I wrote a post some time ago about creating our way out of survival. This whole process I outlined today is putting into practice what I described there. The options were to wallow in my misery or to find a way out of it, and life is so much better when we can find our way out. If you are stuck in an unhappy place, I feel for you. Maybe trying what I did will help you as it helped me.

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