Something in your life has changed, and it’s rocking your world. Some of the ways that can happen include …
- a life-changing medical diagnosis,
- an adult child who’s mental health issues have gotten worse,
- anxiety and sadness and grief that just won’t leave you alone,
- the death of a beloved,
- a job or career that doesn’t fit you who are anymore.
You’re secretly scared that there’s something wrong with you, that a part of you is broken. You’re suffering, and it’s getting harder to hold onto hope.
I’m here to tell you that, no matter how awful things are, there is also goodness and mercy and the promise of better things all around you.
What Can Trickster Teach Us About Hope?
I interviewed a fascinating guy for my public radio show, Living From Happiness (KSFR 101.fm). Shepherd Siegel has written a lot of books, including two in which he writes about the importance of the Trickster mythology.
Shep is an activist, writer, musician, researcher, prankster and author of the book we talk about in this episode — “Tricking Power Into Performing Acts of Love: How Tricksters Through History Have Changed the World.”
The Trickster archetype, or myth, or god/goddess, is one of the most ancient deities, and found in almost every indigenous culture around the globe. In the southwestern United States, the Trickster is often portrayed as Kokopelli.
In his book, Shep writes “about how grown-ups who have retained the ability to be playful as they were when a child view and behave in the world. Such a grown-up will consciously or unconsciously engage with the Trickster.”
One of Trickster’s main characteristics is having fun and playing, no matter what else is going on around him or her.
Shep brilliantly shares his research findings, tells beautiful stories of different Trickster deities, and I ask a lot of questions during the show.
Afterwards, I started thinking about how Trickster energy might be helpful when everything’s falling apart. That was my inspiration for sharing these 5 tips for what to do when everything’s falling apart.
1. Check Your Negative, All-or-Nothing Thinking
Look at the title of this post again — ” … When Everything’s Falling Apart.” Really? Is everything falling apart? Is everything falling apart?
The brain needs things to be neat and tidy. Your mind quickly categorizes life into little boxes to help it make sense of the world. It’s a lot faster to make a sweeping, generalized, not-even-true statement than to sit quietly and figure out what’s actually going on.
- Watch your negative thinking.
- Pay attention to the brain’s built-in negativity bias.
- Get curious about the story you’re telling yourself about what’s happening. It can make a world of difference.
2. Bad Habits Love It When Everything’s Falling Apart!
Honestly? All your bad habits habits love it when everything seems to be falling apart. That’s their invitation to party hard. All those numbing out behaviors you’ve worked so hard to change — drinking, drugging, eating, shopping, work-work-working so much you don’t have to think and never have time to take a walk anymore? This is when they’ll all show up, ready to help you forget your troubles.
The problem is that all those bad habits will only make things a lot worse. Plus, then you’ll have to deal with changing all those bad habits one more time. Plus, you’ll be feeling terrible about yourself that you can’t control anything because you’re such a loser.
What does all that negative thinking and self-shaming do? Lowers your self-esteem and self-confidence big-time, keeping you stuck in an endless loop of self-sabotaging behaviors that mean you’re going to stay stuck in suffering for even longer.
Paying attention to your choices is a great practice to include in your tool bag of strategies for what to do when everything’s falling apart.
Just noticing is one thing you have a lot of control over. Do you really want that extra glass of wine? Or would you feel better if you had a cup of tea with some delicious honey instead?
3. “Be a Trickster For a Little While … “
” … and see what you stumble into,” is something that Shep said to me toward the end of our interview. One great way to balance the heavy energy when things seem to be falling apart is to play a little bit.
Reminding yourself that fun and joy are possible by experiencing and feeling these emotions, even once in a while, is a terrific re-set for your nervous system.
Try something new that’s not fix-my-life-right-now. Go for something fresh that feels playful or even indulgent. Pause working on your to-do list, give the worry a rest, put on some comfy clothes and get off the couch and go outside. And do something fun, for heaven’s sake.
Trying something new can give your brain a little jolt of dopamine, which releases a bit of pleasure, reward, and motivation juice into your system.
4. Baby Steps
One proven way to reduce overwhelm is to focus on one little thing at a time. For you, that might be moving a bit throughout the day. A 5-minute walk makes a big positive difference in your overall health and wellbeing. Or cue up a Youtube video that gets you up off your thing and dancing … and do that for a quick 4-minute break.
Maybe you’d rather focus on eating better. And if doing that for just one meal a day is all you can manage right now, that’s great — do that.
What about sleep?? That usually goes out the window, flying off into the starry night sky, when you feel like everything’s falling apart. Here are 3 things to try for better sleep:
- have your first cup of morning coffee or tea outside, with 15 minutes of fresh sunlight (helps re-set melatonin levels to cue you for sleep that night);
- no electronic devices, including tv, for one hour before it’s time to shut your eyes;
- eat very lightly 2-3 hours before shut-eye time.
5. Acceptance and Surrender
Sometimes, you need to just let everything fall apart. When you accept that this is how it is, just for right now, and surrender to the fact that you cannot control everything in the whole danged world, you can make peace with the present.
Making peace with the present creates space for being with how things are. And that can help reduce anxiety, lower the likelihood of too much sadness for too long, and calm down your nervous system.
Then, you’ve given yourself a better chance to figure out solutions.
Sometimes life really is hard and awful. Drop the toxic positivity. That doesn’t help you when things are topsy-turvy.
What to Do When Everything’s Falling Apart
If you’ve been trying to get your life back on track, but nothing’s working, maybe it’s time to reach out and get some professional help. I know, you hate doing that, right?! It’s so hard to open up your vulnerability and ask for anything from anyone.
Sometimes, though, it’s the best possible solution to help you process what’s happening, learn some cool new strategies that will last you for many years, establish healthy new goals, and start working toward success.
The Santa Fe Therapist Approach When Everything’s Falling Apart
I’m Melanie, the Santa Fe Therapist, and I love working with *stressed* women struggling to get through those times when everything seems to be falling apart.
Life becomes a rich experience filled with meaning and purpose when you learn how to calm down your nervous system and understand how to manage your emotions.
Together, we’ll figure out what’s going on and what you need to begin feeling more in control and less stressed and overwhelmed. All the new neuroscience research gives us better and more effective ways to work with anxiety.
One of the most powerful ways to do that is to understand how your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are intertwined. When you learn how to
- make friends with your feelings,
- manage your thoughts,
- explore new anxiety management behaviors in a safe setting —
- your life will begin changing in positive, healthy ways.
You’ll remember you are and start believing in yourself again.
In balancing the science of therapy with the art of healing, I’ll create an innovative program for you that sets you on a path of success from the very first session.
Neuroscience, Eastern Wisdom, & Earth-based Practices
My compassionate, creative approach weaves together my ability to hear below the surface of the words, advanced degrees, years of specialized training, professional experience, and my own personal healing around anxiety and overwhelm.
I’m telling you, I’ve had whole decades of my life when I thought I wasn’t going to make it through one more day.
One of my specialities is giving women the tools to cope with intense emotions. I use the latest neuroscience findings, and combine Western systems, Eastern wisdom, gentle Earth-based practices, as well as creative, innovative ideas to help you feel better as quickly as possible.
My clients usually work with me once a week for 6 to 12 months. As we work together, you’ll be getting tools for long-term success and learning and using strategies and techniques to serve you for many years.
You’ll work hard for sure. But won’t all be horrible and terrible! I love sharing ideas about good books and films and laughing together once in a while.
My hope for you is that you’ll feel safe every step of the way.
How to Get Anxiety Help in Santa Fe, NM
You don’t have to struggle alone anymore with feeling lost and confused and overwhelmed, irritable, cranky, constantly worrying, or too restless to be quiet and calm.
Working with The Santa Fe Therapist can make a world of positive difference in your life. When you reach out for help, you’re making an investment in yourself that can change in your life in the best of ways.
All you have to do is send me an email to schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation: email@example.com. Let’s get you feeling better as quickly as possible.
The Santa Fe Therapist Offers Online Counseling in New Mexico
Online therapy helps busy women find the time away from day-to-day pressures to calm their nervous systems. It also makes it easy and convenient to process emotions and learn new neuroscience techniques to cope with challenges, heal the past, and begin building your future.
I strongly believe in the power of online counseling. Along with the research that proves its effectiveness, I see the positive benefits for clients every week. Click here if you’ve got questions about online therapy.
Online counseling from anywhere in New Mexico, including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos, Los Alamos, Pecos, Las Vegas, Tesuque and El Dorado.
Other Services From The Santa Fe Therapist
The Santa Fe Therapist specializes in several areas of health, wellbeing, healing and recovery. I know that one size never fits all. My services are individualized to each client, and are based on your values, your needs and desires, and your goals.
I offer individual adult counseling and guidance in Santa Fe NM for:
- dealing with overwhelming angst and despair
- anxiety help
- depression help
- emotional and spiritual healing
- processing grief
- overcoming low self-esteem
- learning how to make peace with the present
- PTSD and CPTSD/trauma
- helping you manage stress
- online therapy