Are you feeling overwhelmed? You're not the only one. I almost didn't make this Slow Sunday, due to the overwhelm I'm feeling. I thought it would be selfish to write about relaxing, slowing down and de-stressing, when the world around us all is falling apart. Until I saw a post by a friend on Facebook. She pointed out that you must take care of yourself. First because you are a human and your wellbeing matters too. Second because this all is a lot to take and you can't keep resisting if you are paralysed in shock, as she put it.
Most of the people on my Twitter timeline are posting all the sad and the bad. And the rest are either pretending that everything is fine, or complaining about all the sad and the bad on their timelines. So I'm infuriated by both, the horrible news and those who try to ignore the horrible news. My stress and depression are trying to take control. A lot of my energy and effort goes to fighting back.
There's a reason why I started to write this series. Last year was rough. I realised I was unhappy with my business and job, something I had been doing for most of my adult life. My work felt pointless and I started to resent the other people working in my field. Feeling like this was as my identity, and whole existence, was under attack. And then all the news all over the world kept getting worse and worse. In Finland, the government was now working to derail all that's been good and well here. The education, social services and healthcare. In November I burned out.
This wasn't my first burnout. I recognised what was going on and decided things must change. I needed to start to take care of myself again.
The thing is, if you don't take care of yourself and make sure you're doing okay, you cannot help anyone else either. Like in a plane crash, you are supposed to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping those who can't help themselves. Obviously you can't put the oxygen mask on your kid's face when you are unconscious yourself.
Taking care of yourself doesn't mean you should close your eyes and ears. The people who have closed their eyes and ears, and avoid all the news and what's going on, are those who have taken our world in to this situation. People like that are easy to fool into believing that all the bad that happens in their lives is because "they" are coming for their guns, or because foreigners are taking their jobs. People like that tell you to choose your battles, only to choose not to battle themselves. People like that only help the oppressors. Becoming a person like that isn't good either. Taking care of yourself doesn't mean losing your empathy and not caring about those who don't look like you, think like you, or talk like you. Taking care of yourself isn't an excuse to be selfish.
This means you need to keep yourself in the fighting condition to be able to fight against the oppression, racism, misogyny, fascism, and all the other that's wrong in this world. When you are broken and broke, you cannot donate your time, effort and money to those in need. When you are depressed, burned out, and overwhelmed, you cannot push forward.
This means it's okay to step away and take a deep breath. When Twitter and Facebook, full of those horrible news is overwhelming you, take a break. Stop complaining, and take a break. In case you have the privilege to do it, step away for a moment. Go out, have a walk. Try different relaxation methods. Watch a movie. Read a book. Play with your kids. Have sex. Accept your feelings, the overwhelm, the sadness, the anger, the joy. Talk to someone, a friend or a professional. Unwind, recharge your batteries.
When you have recharged your batteries, get back on the track. Do your job, so that you can donate money to those who have less. Share the news, so that people can't keep ignoring what's going on. Help where you can help. Resist. Push on, push forward. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others too.
Slow Sunday is a series about slowing down, dealing with depression and anxiety, soothing your stress, relaxing, and getting over yourself. Do let me know if you have a specific subject you'd like me to write about. And please, share your personal thoughts and feelings about the subject in the comment area of the article.
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I'm Mervi Emilia Eskelinen, an artist and online presence strategist from Finland. I coach and consult indie businesses and bloggers to find focus with their branding, marketing and web. I have almost 20 years of experience, a bachelor's degree and some fun certifications in everything about digital media and marketing.