Take a break for your health when your world is spinning out of control

October 17, 2020

For the past few months, I have been running around doing a lot of things that I have no interest doing. Life was just extra busy with so many annoying things that it has been much more difficult than usual. I was so tired and frustrated and angry about the many different things I had to do that were occupying most of my time and compromising my health (dystonia and chronic pain), and I wasn’t doing anything that I enjoyed. In fact, I got to where I wasn’t even interested in doing anything at all.

I even found myself experiencing bouts of depression, which I have not experienced so deeply in a long time when I suffered with chronic depression when my dystonia was at its worst. My brain has been so preoccupied and burned out with so many things that all I was doing was worrying non-stop.

I wasn’t taking enough time to breathe and check in with myself and ask the question: “what do I need for me right now?” Actually, I was doing this, but my only answer was, “solve all the seemingly endless problems so you can rest.” This felt like the right answer, but the truth of the matter is that what I really needed was a little time for myself in the midst of it all. Not taking better care of me caused me to feel even more overwhelmed. Not doing this goes against everything I talk about and write about in my blogs and book.

Today I made some choices to do some things that weren’t particularly interesting, but things I used to find to be of interest. As I began doing them, my brain began to settle and not worry so much about the rat race I was running for so long. I just needed to take one step towards something that I enjoy doing for me to feel a sense of relief… and even a little bit of joy. I also needed to do something where I felt like I got something accomplished. On this day, it was voting, some very light grocery shopping, and a little cleaning around the house. These are things where I felt some sense of control.

I don’t know what works for you in these situations, but for me it is doing something that I enjoy doing, even if I’m not in the mood for it, and completing a task that has been on the back burner. Once I get going, my interest grows and my creative mind gets flowing, with the end result being stress reduction, which is what I felt today for the first time in a very long time. It even led to writing this blog pretty much on the fly.

In retrospect, I could have gotten to this point at any time over the past few months, but I resisted doing my regular self-care, mind-calming practices because I felt like I would lose control of everything I had to do. The reality is that the only way for me to get that sense of control was to let go. Having done that today, I feel much more grounded and a little more like the old me, with some better perspective.

Whatever you are going through, please don’t forget to take time for yourself. Give yourself space to breathe and do whatever else you can to reduce your problem solving, hypervigilant mind from going into overdrive, which is when it is most difficult to reel back in. Everything that seems like an emergency usually isn’t when we pull back and get perspective. It just feels like an emergency when we are constantly in the midst of it. Please be good to yourself and let everything fall into place. It almost always does.

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Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering with any life challenge. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers NetworkThe MightyPatient Worthy, and The Wellness Universe. To learn more about Tom, get a copy of his book (also on Amazon), or schedule a free coaching consult, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram.

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12 responses to “Take a break for your health when your world is spinning out of control”

  1. Kay says:

    Tom- I came across this yesterday morning. I was crying and crying and crying. I could not stop (and I had just ‘done’ my makeup (little humor)! I seldom ever cry.
    I remember my sister telling me a long time ago that it could be depression and/or a release of a buildup of emotions.
    When you wrote about stopping to think of what ..I… need for me, that hit me big! I have been so busy helping family and caretaking my husband, I had hit a wall.
    I loved your inspiring article and took care of myself all day yesterday. I started to go window shop at my ‘feel good’ store, but decided to just rest.
    Today was a good day. Thank you and I hope you have a very special week.

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Hi Kay. I am so very sorry you have been going through so much. I hope the crying was helpful. It can be so cathartic. I don’t think we often know the extent of our stress until we hit that wall. It is so wonderful for you to take care of others in such a loving way, and equally important to give some of that love to ourselves. I hope you enjoyed your day of peace windowing shopping and have more of those days ahead 🙂

  2. Deborah Seminerio says:

    Tom, your writings are always so dead on and inspiring – I’m in a pretty good place at the moment – today LOL – but certainly have days like this. When I’m feeling overwhelmed with a list a mile long and feel like I’m on a treadmill that never stops – I try to remember the analogy that I heard again recently . when you’re on an airplane they alway advise you – if it were to become necessary – to put your oxygen mask on first before you try to help anyone else! and that just makes a lot of sense. If we don’t take care of ourselves first – we can’t be that effective in helping others and doing what we need to do! Have a fantastic day! Sincerely, Debbie

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Thanks very much Debbie and great to hear from you. The oxygen mask analogy is always such a good one, and one we don’t often follow enough. Thank you for the reminder!

  3. Allison McGaha says:

    It’s amazing how doing everyday chores and accomplishing things on our to do list can calm and center us. I just finished doing those things when I decided to clean up my emails. I’m so glad I came across this one.

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Thanks Allison! I’m so glad you came across this during your cleanup! Getting those “little” things done can make such big difference. Just tidying my desk the other day gave me a sense of relief. I hope you continue to feel better.

  4. Helen says:

    Thank you for being so honest about what you’ve been going through Tom . Glad to hear you are nipping it in the bud .
    I’ve found that if I skip my meditation practise on consecutive days my mind starts going into overdrive! Isn’t it crazy that we sometimes avoid doing what helps us 🙃

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Thanks Helen. It’s funny how we often avoid the things we know help us. For whatever reason, I think this is a form of resistance that we need to overcome. We white knuckle life to much and try to control it, and for me, when I do this, I am controlled by everything around me even more.

  5. Patti Brett Flynn says:

    Thanks, Tom for another inspirational blog! I love the audio version! I finally signed up to receive your blogs in my email. I found I was not always getting them on Facebook. Thanks again for sharing!

  6. Amy DeHart says:

    Tom- I am crying as I read this! Your feelings and words
    Are currently mine as well. I am spinning out of control and I am waiting for someone to help me. I do understand that I have to be in control of myself by doing the things that you have mentioned. Everything is out of control. I needed this post today more than ever.

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Amy- It is so good to hear from you but not under the circumstances. I am sorry things have been so tough lately. I hope reading this brings you some peace in knowing that you are not alone and that there is always a way through the pain and suffering we experience. Please allow yourself time to take care of you!

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