Today, we’re going to follow up with another strategy you can use to help manage the busiest (most stressful) time of the year.
Have a “clean slate policy” to help manage stress.
When we get overwhelmed, it can be so easy to let go of our healthy habits.
Be honest, do you notice the ice cream and/or beer disappearing from the freezer and fridge a little faster? Or maybe you haven’t been to the gym in three days?
Guess what? It’s okay.
Most people (even coaches!) struggle with these things at times. This is normal. You are not screwed up or broken. In fact, you’re working beautifully.
Coping mechanisms like overeating, bingeing, drinking, smoking, staying up all night playing video games, huddling in bed under a blanket, these all have a purpose. They offer comfort, solace, distraction, and emotional anesthesia.
Think about this:
– Even if you’re not coping well, you are coping. Or at least trying to, and that’s kind of awesome.
– Whatever you’re doing, as silly, crazy, or dysfunctional as it might seem, is a sign that your body and brain are trying to help you feel better.
– Pause and reflect on what a lovely thing that is, and what elegant mechanisms our brains have to help us relieve pain.
Your mechanisms might not be the ideal way to cope, especially long-term, but it’s important to acknowledge that this is an attempt at self-compassion and self-soothing. There’s no need to do further harm by beating yourself up afterward.
Instead, anytime you “mess up” or “get off track”, try this:
- Gently acknowledge what happened in a factual way.
- See if you can identify the thoughts and feelings you’re having. (If you can’t, that’s OK.)
- Recognize: This is normal.
- Then—move on.
Clean the slate.
At any and every moment, we can wipe the board clean and start over. In life we get infinite erasers. Each moment is fresh and new. Whatever happened yesterday, or one hour ago, is irrelevant to our NOW. Right now, only THIS moment matters. Every single day, every hour, even every minute, we can wipe the slate clean and move forward.
The Clean Slate Policy means that we don’t beat ourselves up over our mistakes. We don’t wallow. We don’t call ourselves names. And we don’t say “F-it, I’m screwed forever,” and give up.
Instead, we leave the past in the past, and move forward. And, ideally, be kind to ourselves as we do it.
If you need want managing stress this holiday season, sign up for a Free New Member Consultation and let’s get started!