Okay- What. the. hell. How are the holidays already here guys? Usually around this time of the year, I tend to get way too ambitious with ideas of things I need to do or accomplish.
My inner dialogue is all like, "Hey, girl, remember all those things you told your extended family about last year at Thanksgiving you wanted to accomplish and didn't?? Well, I'm not going to stop thinking about all those crushed dreams and convince you to accomplish all the things within about 2-6 weeks time, k?"
Sounds funny (okay, it sorta is...) but when I'm right in the middle of the never-ending to-do list of "shoulds", I can forget to play and just enjoy myself. I get so caught up with doing that I forget to just be. And I crash. Hard.
That's why I love grounding. Grounding activates our parasympathetic nervous system (aka the brakes to our internal car) when our sympathetic nervous system (aka the gas to our internal car) is in overdrive. Okay- don't leave me here- let me explain in non-nerd language before you give up on what I'm trying to say because it's important I swear!
You're cruising down I-35 south towards San Antonio on that long stretch of road that allows for 80 mph. You're late and in a hurry so you go about 5-7 mph over the speed limit so you're going about 86 mph (don't worry- no scary math problems are ahead!). You finally see your exit coming up and when you try to hit the brakes, they suddenly stop working.
You push your foot on the brakes harder and harder but your brakes have completely stopped working and there's traffic ahead. You don't know what to do, you close your eyes while panicking and stomping as hard as you can on the brakes, praying that by some miracle you'll make it out of this situation alive.
Okay, I'm sorry for the elevated nervous system you're probably enduring now from that story. But it's scary right? This is what happens when we feel overwhelmed, triggered, or overstimulated for too long. Our internal brakes just shut down and sometimes will even stop working.
PLEASE don't do that to yourself. I beg of you. And if you do feel overwhelmed, find a way to turn on your brakes and ground by engaging your senses. Lately I've been reading "House Plants and Hot Sauce" by Sally Nixon which can be best described as a feminist adult version of "I Spy" as my way of grounding and I highly recommend it! Here's a few other ideas for grounding to give you some inspiration for building your own holiday brake kit for when shit inevitably hits the fan over the holidays:
1. Take a warm bath
2. Go for a walk
5. Read something for fun (those self-help books can wait for later)
6. Drink some hot tea
8. Take a shower
9. Wash your face
10. Splash ice cold water on your face
11. Take a nap
12. Wrap up in a blanket
13. Listen to music
14. Take 5 deep breaths
15. Talk to a friend
There are SO many more ideas for how to ground but the main idea here is to SLOW TF down! What else would you add to this list? Send your suggestions in the comments and happy grounding!
Sara Paules, LPC
Mindful Soul Center