Happy Meltdown: Reset Your Nervous System

Is it just me, or is there stress coming at you from every front? During the pandemic over the past year, we’ve held it together. The stay-at-home order was in place, starting on March 31, 2020. But we learned flexibility, for the duration was much longer than those original two weeks. I remember using that time to clear out a storage unit (I was social distancing; no mask required, for who would want to clear out a junk pile of stuff?) Gradually life moved ahead, but there were ongoing levels of stress, anger, and fear.

And changes. Oh my. The changes were instantaneous. Masks as I went to the grocery store. Or the post office. (I must have 20 face coverings scattered about.) Social distancing. Hand sanitizer everywhere: at home, at work, in the car, in my purse. Changing the office to meet new safety requirements. Learning new computer programs, including Zoom. No get-togethers with my women’s group. No movies to distract me from myself. No hugs. And I found plenty of time to sort through the past. What I did or didn’t do. The issues were building.

Then came the pivotal day. Someone cut me off by accident, but I took it personally. I just lost it. I felt I was up above, watching this crazy lady get hot under the collar. That wasn’t me. But there I was, caught up in the moment. It passed, but I realized it was time for a change. I needed another strategy to release tension for a successful meltdown. A way to reset my nervous system.
I’d like to share what works for me:

  • Accept myself. I’m human. And I have limits. No judging allowed. There are times when I’m less than my best self. And I get over it.
  • Plan a healthy rebellion. I figured out what I could do to blow off steam ahead of time.
  • Ground myself and stay in my body. If I fly off the handle, I am no longer in touch with my body. It’s as if there’s a cut off line right beneath my chin where I don’t feel anything. Answer? I slow down. Take a few deep breaths, close my eyes, and visualize roots growing from the bottom of my feet down into the earth for a few moments. That energy flows right into the ground. Such freedom.
  • Get outside and move. Hike. Swim. Walk a couple of miles. Swim. Kayak. Go fishing. Play tennis. Pickle ball. Ride a horse. Go hunting. Take a tour of a monument.
  • Prioritize. Figure out what’s most important. Then do it, dump it, or delegate it. Shifting the load you carry can provide instant relief.
  • Break down the cause. If you return in your mind to when your stress first started to build, it’s much easier to defuse. (I’ve found the original issue is so much smaller than what I imagined.) Then take some solving actions.
  • Repeat: “This too will pass.” As much as I feel this situation has no end, I know it will pass. My feelings are not my reality. They are only feelings, and I have control over what I choose to believe and act on.

As I do any or all of these, my mind slows. My body becomes quiet. And I can breathe once again. Did I mention the easiest reset of all? Breathe deeply from your belly. Works every time.

Happy meltdown. Get your calm on. Have fun playing with your reset!

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