When you feel hopeless
If there was a theme for 2020, it would be "Rage".
Social media platforms are melting from the vast amount of anger being spewed like lava. Everyone is choosing a side and fighting to defend their position. There's a lot of yelling but not a lot of listening, which means change isn't happening.
Protestors march against injustice. Black families publically mourn the deaths of loved ones, holding press conferences to call out the murderous actions of some police officers. When people feel powerless, rage is present.
Our elected officials battle each other, putting party before country, and getting nothing done. The citizens of the U.S. feel helpless as they watch the country's descent into chaos. Many are convinced the election won't change anything.
The COVID-19 bullshit continues to move through homes and communities, leaving parents, children and teachers to move forward blindly, hoping to just not make things worse. So many of us succumb to depression, fear and anxiety.
But we can't stay there. Enduring these emotions of rage and helplessness is exhausting and debilitating. But how do we continue to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other? What do we do when we feel like nothing will ever be better or normal again?
Here are some survival steps that could bring hope back to your soul.
Admit what you're feeling and talk about it. If you're slapping a smile on your face, but grinding your teeth to powder as you sleep, you need to start paying attention. It's okay to feel any emotions, in fact, you can't begin to deal with them until you name them. Once you identify your feelings, talk to someone you trust.
Find a service project. Difficult emotions often stem from powerlessness, but if you find a way to help someone else, you'll feel a bit more powerful. If you feel anger at the immigration situation, work at a refugee center. If you're worried about hunger in your area, stop by the food bank. Just 30 minutes each week will help shift your brain from helpless to hopeful. One person CAN make a difference.
Take care of yourself. Play your zither and sing at the top of your lungs. Sit in a bubble bath with a magazine and a large glass of wine. Bake cookies while dancing to Abba. Walk through the neighborhood and admire beautiful landscaping. Whatever makes your heart soar, do more of that.
Hire a professional. If you try all these things and you're still off-the-charts terrified, depressed and anxious, reach out to a therapist who can help you navigate your boat through these rough waters.
Every day I'm amazed at the ways people find to reconnect to each other, their communities and their passions. Every day is another step forward - even if it's a baby step. Take care of yourself. You're worth it.
Peri Kinder is a Happiness Coach, Certified Yoga Teacher, Meditation Instructor and Humor Columnist.