It’s really not just you.

March 2022 is presenting itself as the most stressful month we’ve seen here in the UK for people of working age for well over 2 years according to evidence from What Works Wellbeing so if you are feeling like you are struggling more than normal, please know that you are not alone. 

Our collective mood seems to be struggling under the weight of the last 2 years with optimism down, apathy up, and energy and inspiration faltering under that sustained weight we’ve all been under, albeit experienced on a wholly individual level.

When we are feeling ‘at capacity’ it’s a sure fire sign that our allostatic load – also known as the frequent and prolonged activation of our stress response, and the negative impact that chronic activation has on our health and our immune system – is actually very full. 

Think about it, we are not designed to be ‘on’ 24/7.

Our stress response is simply not designed to be switched on to constant activation mode, and we’ve not evolved as humans to be living in a hyper-vigilant state. 

Given we know that chronic stress has the ability to wreak complete havoc on our nervous system, and the neurotransmitter activity in our brain, it’s more important than ever that we strengthen our relationship with self-compassion and self-care – this really is the blueprint to your well-being. 

Think about how you can reduce and minimize some of those stressors in your life, the ones you can control and have some agency over, and indeed the ones you have little to no control over. 

How can you protect yourself from stressors that are out of your control?

Rediscover (or discover) the word no. Say no to the things that are not a ‘must do’ – all those should’s, could’s, and nice to do’s – it’s ok to shelve them until you have the capacity. You don’t have to wait for permission.

Reduce your output and zoom in on you, and your needs at this moment.

Nourish yourself with the things you need, minus the guilt because you aren’t using that teeny window for self-focus or growth on something perceived to be traditionally productive – opt out of the toxic culture of always being on.

Sometimes we need to make our worlds smaller and more contained, stripped back from all the noise, and as least emotionally taxing in order to function and get through, it’s our minds equivalent of battery saving mode. 

And the last bit from me, and this is an important one – there is no hierarchy when it comes to struggle and pain. It really is all relative, and experienced on an individual level .

The more you self-reject and self-dismiss you own struggles “because there are so many people out there who are struggling far worse than me right now” the more you send a message to yourself that your feelings aren’t valid, and that your pain isn’t worthy of being considered, and your voice not enough to be heard. 

Your struggle and stresses and pain are valid, and real, and worth being heard and considered, and most importantly of being met with compassion. 

You matter. 

Catherine Asta 

P.S. I got awarded my Psychology Masters yesterday from Leeds University.

I achieved a merit which I’m so proud of as I did this full-time, during a pandemic, whilst holding space for others, being mum, along with a few great big curveballs that hit me and my family along the way. I’ve had to park so many of my should’s, would’s and could’s and focus on the must do’s over the last 2 years, which has meant battery saving mode and my world becoming smaller (but deeper).  

In a way, having something to focus on during the last 2 years made it possible for me to navigate through some of the hardest chapters of my own life. We all have unique survival skills that we’ve discovered over the course of our lives, and these unique ways that have helped us to endure the hard times in our lives aren’t limited.

Think about your own survival skills.

What has got you, or what is getting you through your hardest times?

There is a great deal of comfort in knowing that you have these internally curated resources available to you in times of struggle. 

 

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