As I write this, Hurricane Earl is making it’s way towards North Carolina as it begins it’s journey up the Eastern Seaboard. Hurricanes are nasty forces of nature. They are unpredictable, dangerous and their paths can change at a moments notice. When a hurricane is in the forecast, normal life stops and preparations against the storm become all-encompassing.
Figurative hurricanes happen in our lives too. Sometimes we see them coming. We stop our daily routines, figure out how to prepare ourselves best and hunker down hoping we’re ready. Other times, blissfully ignorant of the impending chaos, we go about our lives until we run smack into the storm and out of self-preservation, every unnecessary activity in our lives stop until the skies clear again.
I don’t know about you, but around here, it’s looking a lot like a heck of a hurricane season. I know a lot of people who are spending much of their time running for cover. So what do we do when hurricanes hit us? How do we protect ourselves?
Here are five ways to get you started:
1. Create some silence: Chaos begets chaos. Making space for silence in your day, everyday, whether it’s for five minutes or five hours, can be incredibly powerful, healing and centering. The bigger the storm raging around you, the more silence you need. Sit and stare out the window, write in a journal, meditate, work on a jigsaw puzzle. Whatever works for you.
2. Just say no. To drugs, to extra obligations, to guilt for taking care of yourself, to overexertion, to expecting too much of yourself. Say no and mean it.
3. Sleep, sleep and more sleep. Hurricanes drain energy levels. You need sleep to navigate through them. You need sleep to heal. I’m not talking about sleeping as a way to avoid dealing with life- this is not about hiding under the covers. I mean 8-10 hours of restful, restorative sleep.
4. Eat healthy, nourishing foods. When we’re stressed out, it’s so easy to turn to processed, white flour-filled, sugary or fried foods. They give you a temporary high but they quickly turn into an energy crash. No one needs that especially when carrying a tremendous amount of stress. Eat well and eat often.
5. Find simple joys and live in the moment. This is a hard one. During hurricanes we dive into survival mode. Take a few deep breaths and think about something that would make you really happy in this moment and do it. Bake cookies, listen to some really good music, play some really good music, build something out of blocks, paint, draw, write. You want to soothe the soul here. Resist the urge to find something “useful” to do.
No matter how vigilant you are, you can’t escape life’s hurricanes. Sometimes you just have to hunker down and take cover as they come through and try to emerge as unscathed as possible.