Do you remember being taught the fire drill of Stop, Drop, and Roll? This short statement is drilled into our brains from the time we are little to help us know what to do in case our clothes ever caught on fire.
The idea behind this is to condition our brain with a routine to fall back on. This can prevent us from going into panic mode and not thinking clearly. This same idea also is what saves us from running into traffic to chase a ball or cross the street, “Look both ways first!”.
We condition our brain with “fire drill” statements to help protect our physical well being. But many times we tend to neglect conditioning our brains to help protect us from mental stress or feeling overwhelmed.
This is especially true at this time of year. When we demand such high expectations for the perfect holiday it’s no wonder we are overwhelmed and exhausted. But do we stop and think about what we are doing to ourselves?
Maybe it’s time to condition our brains with a fire drill statement that will bring us back to our senses before we go over the brink.
Stop! Breath! Look around!
The “stop” is like a red light. It tells you to put the brakes on at that moment in time.
The “breath” tells you to take a few deep breaths. This sends oxygen to the brain. Our brains need that oxygen to think clearly. When we run around with too much to do we tend to go into a state of panic. That causes the body to take short, quick breaths. This kind of breathing limits the oxygen going to our brains.
Once you are able to think clearer it’s time to “look around”. This is when you go off autopilot and get into the present moment. You need to see where you are both physically and mentally.
- Are you exhausted and need to take a break?
- Can you delegate or scratch off some of the things on the “to do list”?
- Will your family even notice if you cut back on the decorating, baking, or even the number of presents?
- Are all these expectations keeping you from doing what’s really important like spending time with your loved ones?
There are a lot more questions you could be asking yourself to help put out the fire and enjoy the present moment. Take a few minutes now and write down some questions on a piece of paper that would be relevant to you. Keep a copy of these questions with you at all times.
When you feel the panic coming on say to yourself “STOP! BREATH! LOOK AROUND!” Then pull out your questions and read them. They will help you put out the fire that is causing you to become overwhelmed and panicky.
To a lighter load along the way.