PAIN HAS EFFECTED MY LIFE IN SO MANY WAYS, I OFTEN FEEL OVERWHELMED. WHAT CAN I DO TO COPE?
You’re not alone with feeling that way. Pain or illness has a way of touching every aspect of a person’s life. In fact, there is rarely a part of life that remains untouched at some point in recovery from injury or illness.
Here are some examples of the impact:
- Trouble sleeping.
- Experiencing numerous losses.
- You may not be able to do a favourite activity or hobby.
- Withdrawal from friends and family.
- Lowered self esteem and self confidence.
- Feeling much more stressed and less resilient.
- You can’t do your job.
- Housework and home maintenance suffer.
- Financial priorities or spending has to change.
You can probably make this list twice as long!
Usually when you go into overwhelm, it’s because you are dealing with too many things at one time. No one can deal with the whole impact at once. Think of a cup that’s filled to the brim. What happens when one drop gets added? The cup overflows. However, if your cup is a bit emptier, then adding one drop no longer makes it overflow.
To get your cup a bit emptier, you can use a strategy I call “containment”.
In containment, you deal with only one issue at a time, and you create a clear starting and stopping point for dealing with it. For instance, if you are worried about money, sit down from, let’s say 2:00 – 3:00 every Tuesday and Friday, to deal with that issue. Once your block of time is over, the goal is to set this issue aside completely until your next block of time for dealing with finances comes up.
By doing this, the issue of finances no longer has the potential to effect you every moment of the day. Now the main impact will be for just those two hours per week.
You’re probably thinking that this is easier said than done. And you’re right. What will help with enforcing this is each time worries about money come up outside of your assigned time, remind yourself assertively that this is not the time to be thinking about money and then distract yourself.
As you apply containment, you may come to the realization that it is easier to let go of some of your stressors. For instance, rather than worrying for half an hour a day about your house being less clean than it used to be, you might decide to let go of that issue for now and focus on getting it back up to par once you’re able to.