By Laura Rowe

As we inch closer to the end of the election here in the US, I am hearing the same question asked by friends and clients alike,

“What is this I am feeling?”

In general, our society isn’t known for being particularly savvy about identifying or expressing our emotions. We do a good job numbing, hiding, and burying our feelings. Keep Calm and Carry On, as they say.

Here’s the thing, we have a limit to our capacity to stuff down our feelings. Unacknowledged, these feelings begin to leak out in weird ways and at inopportune times. The goal now is to stay afloat. There is more coming down the pike and things are bound to get messier before they get better. So how do we cope?

The Year of Mayhem Continues
As one major event bleeds into another this year, we find ourselves swimming along just trying to keep our heads above water. Just keep swimming. A reminder that when we are still in the trauma we can’t begin to heal so what we have to focus on is triage.

And triage is managing our emotions and our capacity. Let’s start with emotions.

Give them room to breathe. We do not have to analyze what we are feeling too deeply, in fact, don’t analyze them at all. Just feel them. There will be plenty of time later for analysis.

We can allow ourselves room and time to cry or scream or rage or laugh. If we don’t add our thoughts to the matter and feed those feelings all of our fears and worry, they will dissipate quickly and we are left feeling lighter and better able to manage the large load we are each carrying right now.

Managing Capacity
There is so much about our daily lives that we can’t control. Work schedules, child schedules, store schedules, etc., it is important to remember that we have a capacity, a maximum volume that we can hold. Do you know your capacity?

We usually only know our capacity when we have sailed right past it. Have you thought about how you can reduce your capacity? At least temporarily?

With so many things on our plate that are not flexible, we will need to find where in our schedules there is room for flexibility. Maybe it is with chores? Maybe it is recruiting help from other family members or coworkers or community?

Asking for help is often hard, so sit with it. Warm up to the idea. See what things can wait, what can’t and if it can’t how you can find a solution that works for now.

Now is not the time for perfection, it is the time for good enough. Experiment, let your creativity explore options without censoring them. Life has constricted. Our time, our options, our space, our lives are constricted.

If we allow it, this is when our creativity shines. Get crazy with it. Not every idea will be feasible. Not every option will work out but I trust that you will find the nuggets you need to keep going. To keep showing up and getting things done.

Don’t forget to breathe. Don’t forget to scream and cry, even if those aren’t your feelings you are experiencing, let the energy escape. There will be a time in the future when we can get specific and do our healing, for now it is triage and balancing our precarious capacity.