We all feel overwhelmed sometimes – a horrible state where we just lose all perspective and start to panic over what may happen or may not happen. I woke up the other day with a slight feeling of unease. In my semi-conscious state, I started to worry about all the things on my ‘to-do’ list and deadlines looming (the dreaded tax return, forthcoming exhibition, workshops to organise etc etc). One worry led to another and soon I worked myself into such a state that I became paralysed with fear of the future. I was going to fail with my business, become bankrupt, be put in prison for tax evasion, lose my home… This kind of negativity always stops me in my tracks and prevents me from doing anything to ease the situation.
I usually find, however, that if I can distract my negativity for just a moment, I can gain some perspective. So at the first sign of ‘overwhelm’ I go to my ‘happy place’. This can be a ‘happy place’ in my head: a memory or thought or it can be a sensory experience or an activity (usually creative). The idea is to stop that feeling of overwhelm as soon as it hits by finding a distraction – something positive and nurturing.
In my ‘happy place’ I start to see things from a different perspective – concentrate on what I can do to make things better.
These are my top 10 ‘happy places’:
- Looking out of the window and watching the hares and pheasants outside
- Having a cup of tea in my favourite handmade teacup
- Making a special coffee in my cafetiere and drinking from my favourite coffee cup
- Getting out the loom and freeform weaving
- Puting some music on and dancing
- Making a list of everything I am grateful for
- Looking at a copy of Selvedge magazine
- Looking at my collection of Japanese textiles
- Going for a walk or just standing outside and taking deep breaths
- Having a laugh with a friend
Once I have calmed down, I can then start organising my thoughts by writing a list of worries, looking at the list and deciding if there is anything I can do immediately. I then write down a list of baby steps I can take for each worry. If there is nothing I can do, I cross that item off my list. What’s the point of worrying about it? But if there is one thing I can do, this gives me a starting point and I start to feel in control again.
So next time you are feeling overwhelmed with uni deadlines, money worries or general fears of the future, take a deep breath and go to one of your ‘happy places’! Then write down a list of three things you can do right now to help solve one of your problems and do one of them!
I would love to know your top 10 ‘happy places’!