Zoom In, Zoom Out (not the video app!). Get Re-centered Quickly

In this under-stimulated and overloaded time, I thought I’d keep it simple. Here’s wise advice from my favorite advice columnist, Carolyn Hax:

Take this as permission to treat this period of your life as an unholy free-for-all. This is really just about getting through.

I’ve suggested it before and it has been really helpful for me lately: When you start to feel overwhelmed, try zooming either way in or way out.

So, to go way in, think of your next task and only your next task, and don’t let your mind even think of drifting to the next thing. A toddler tantrum is probably the best (ha) opportunity to work this muscle. All that matters is your child in that moment. All those big feelings a toddler doesn’t yet have the language to express. So, you listen, and soothe, and there is *nothing* else in your life until your child feels heard.

To zoom way out, think of the ocean, look at the stars, think of humanity centuries ago. Think of what people have endured through history. Think of how spring is pushing through the soil whether we’re paying attention to it or not. Look at art, listen to music.

Again–I’ve found both of these helpful, depending on what I need at the moment and what I am able to do.

Where I find it’s most stressful to dwell is in the weeks-and-months range. If you’re thinking about how long you can hold yourself together for! months! under these conditions, then you’re actually undermining your effort to hold it together. Weeks-and-months range is for optimism–it’s for “I can’t wait till [good thing]” mode.

But when negativity arises, it’s way out or way in. As always, YMMV* with mental exercises. Try it and check back in.

*YMMV = Your mileage may vary

We will get through this.


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