By Jalene Case
“We have exceeded our surge capacity,” is a phrase I heard recently from Jennifer Louden. I thought, “Yes! That’s what it feels like! My inner surge protector is fried.” At the same time, I realized that I’ve been learning, along with my clients, friends, and family, how to survive the recent deluge of disasters. I bet you have, too.
Changes, especially uncontrollable changes, can leave you craving a way to get beyond the tornado of emotions so you can stand on firm ground again. How can you help yourself move forward? Self-resourcing. By gathering support resources, you can be there for yourself, and as a result, be there for the people you care about most.
Before diving into resource ideas, let’s start with a definition. I define self-resource as being a collection of support sources that can be used to help you be who you want to be, and do what you want to do, especially during challenging times.
Here are some ideas to get started. Try them or use them as springboards to create your own unique collection of self-resourcing tools.
- Pay attention to what your body is telling you. The physical pain you feel can be an emotional trauma that has manifested in your body. For example, lower back pain might really be related to a traumatic event in your life. (Like a pandemic!) Identifying the origination of the pain can change how you help your body heal.
- Give yourself permission to move your body in a way that’s pleasurable. Dance with no one watching, stretch those stiff muscles, take a walk. Don’t get trapped by thinking that you’re not doing it right or for long enough. Get curious about what your body is calling for now.
- Write down the unconscious thoughts running around in your head to bring them into your conscious mind. Then, give yourself permission to set some of them aside. By mindfully compartmentalizing your fearful thoughts, you will be able to direct your full attention more effectively toward what’s most important at the time.
- Learn something new or improve in an area that will help you in multiple areas. For example, a coaching client decided that developing her emotional intelligence skills will support her in growing into a big promotion that she received.
Depending on your bandwidth to learn right now, this can be on a large scale or tiny. No judgement here. Tiny growth is powerful!
- Why bother noticing how you’re feeling? By naming what you’re feeling, the emotion can move through you. When you deny your feelings, they get stuck inside and escape in unexpected ways such as outbursts at people you care for. I appreciate this description from The New York Times, “… naming our emotions tends to diffuse their charge and lessen the burden they create. The psychologist Dan Siegel refers to this practice as ‘name it to tame it’.” (The Importance of Naming Your Emotions, by Tony Schwartz)
- Having trouble identifying what you’re feeling? Here’s a way to practice. Set an alarm on your phone to go off three times a day. Each time, answer this question in your mind, “How am I feeling?” There’s no right or wrong answer. In my experience, I notice not only my awareness increasing but my emotional vocabulary growing. Instead of simply saying good or bad, I say focused or distracted. This exercise will improve your self-awareness which is the first step in growing emotional intelligence.
- By spiritual, I mean that place inside that feels sacred to you. How can you give yourself more time in that space, even if it’s 10 seconds here and there? The quickest way for me to get that peaceful place is to close my eyes and take one deep breath in, during which I pay attention to my body’s sensations. I usually feel tingles in my chest and a sense of settling. That’s it. That’s enough.
- If you have a spiritual practice that you’ve set aside, how might you pick up even a piece of it to resource yourself?
Bonus: Powerful Questions
I love the possibilities that good questions create. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve worked with lately. Which one(s) will increase your resourcefulness?
As you answer these questions, consider, “Will this choice enlarge or diminish me?” (Inspired by the work of James Hollis.)
- What am I willing to accept?
- What do I have to look forward to?
- What choices do I need to make?
Draw a line vertically down the center of a piece of paper. On one side write, “What feels fixed or unchangeable?” On the other side write, “What can I do to help or make myself better?” (Inspired by Jennifer Louden in The Writer’s Oasis.)
Take a moment to list five things you will do to resource yourself. Remember, resourcing yourself directly translates to serving the people who matter most to you. I’d love to hear what’s in your self-resource tool box! Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.