What do you do when it feels like the world is on fire and you have no way of putting it out?

I sat this morning feeling very scattered - numb and paralyzed. I kept asking myself, “is this real life?” As someone who really tries to look at all sides of issues, events and situations (i.e. not to forget positives and only focus on negatives), the last few weeks (heck, years!) have proven to be heavier than ever.

My clients are experiencing the same traumas that I am experiencing - in real time. How do I help others when I feel like I cannot help myself? This begs the question of how do I help myself personally in order to also help support myself and others professionally.

After some serious reflection, I first decided to take a moment and breathe. I noticed I had been holding my breath without even realizing it. Next, I took out my journal and did a brain dump of all the thoughts and feelings swimming around my head. Lastly, I pulled out my “The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook” by Kristin Neff to actually put into practice what I would suggest to my clients.

I found some peace by focusing on the prompts and exploring how I view the world and how I view myself. My clients can attest that I speak on the concept of locus of control pretty incessantly. What is it I can control in this moment? What is it that is beyond my control?

So, I took a step back and decided to look at what I can do during this time. These are the things that popped up for me:

1. Breathe

2. Reach out for support/connect with others

3. Get involved in advocacy and legislative efforts to make change

4. Break down the steps in which I can use my abilities for change, instead of looking at the whole, intimidating picture

5. Identify daily the things that I am grateful for

6. Acknowledge the sadness that I experience instead of discounting it

7. Limit social media exposure

8. Seek out self-care

9. Be honest with myself about my limits as well as my strengths

Some of these seem like pretty easy tasks. They may also be admittedly difficult to put into practice if you're already in a high state of stress. If there is any take away from this blog article, here it is: You are not alone. We are not alone. Connect, connect, connect.

Times are tough. Be kind to yourself and others.

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Meghan Reitz

Meghan Reitz, LCPC, NCC, has worked within the counseling profession for over 19 years. Her therapist experience includes providing individual, couples, family, group, and crisis counseling. She also speaks with companies and groups on mental health and wellness topics. Learn more about Meghan here.