Lately, I’ve been trying to be aware not to push myself. Not to put unrealistic expectations on myself. Not to lose myself in the work and the plans and the errands. Not to become overwhelmed amid the recent schedule changes and chaos that the spread of the coronavirus has brought. I’ve been trying to be more mindful. More present. And to meet myself where I’m at.
I’m attempting to notice when things become overwhelming. In the moment that they do. So I can stop, refocus and continue. To avoid slamming into the wall of a meltdown first before I am able to move forward.
Like last weekend when my husband and I were taking a walk outside.
We have multiple nature trails by our house where, aside from passing someone on your path, it’s just you and nature. No cars or motorcycles. No lawnmowers or saws. Nothing but you and the trees and the sky and the breeze. Nothing to become overwhelmed by. Or so I thought.
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and we were walking and casually talking. Noticing what was just off of the new trial we were taking. We saw some houses far back in the trees. An old well. And a golf course, we were speculating. I made my husband wait until we stopped for a break to look it up on his phone. To try to help him stay in the moment too.
Then, as we were talking, my husband started providing a lot of details that I couldn’t keep track of. That I couldn’t keep up with. Then a group of people began walking toward us. Seemingly in our path. And I started to become disoriented. Feel dizzy. Like I couldn’t see straight. Then like I couldn’t breathe. All familiar signs of getting overwhelmed. Then I felt the familiar twinge right before I usually snap.
But I didn’t.
Instead, I stopped, took a deep breath in facing the sun and exhaled out as I felt it warm my face. Still breathing deeply, I tilted my chin up and stretched my arms out on each side, extending into mountain pose. As if I was opening up to the sun. Giving all my troubles to the light. Grounding myself in nature.
I had stopped when my husband was mid-sentence, but he quickly figured out what I was doing.
“Get overwhelmed?” He asked.
“Yes,” I said as I took another long inhale in.
“Was I talking too much?” He asked.
“Yes,” I said with an exhale out.
It’s crucial that he knows that about me. For the sake of our communication. For the health of our marriage. But I guess almost a decade together will teach you to meet your partner where they’re at too. Something I strive to do for him as well.
Meeting myself where I’m at has been a good practice this week. Especially with everything that has come with the coronavirus outbreak. A time when it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. To panic or to let anxiety set in. To become fearful or depressed.
It’s reminded me to not place too many expectations on myself. To not do more than what I have the energy to do. To take things one thing at a time. Remembering that everything that needs to get done will. As long as I just keep going at the pace I can.
So now, when that overwhelming feeling starts to creep up on me, I stop. Close my eyes as I take a deep breath in. Tilt my chin up and my arms out as I move into tadasana, or mountain pose. Think of the sun warming my face. Exhale out. And imagine all of my troubles melting into the ground as I practice deep breathing.
After, I observe the world around me. I observe how I feel. And I try to bring myself back to the present. To ground myself in nature. And to meet myself where I’m at.