I think sometimes our clients believe that we professional organizers are perfectly put-together, that we don’t have any messes or piles or junk drawers in our own lives. I’m here to tell you that it just ain’t so…and sorry if I’m bursting any bubbles! We organizers are quite human, and my worst hotspots are my desk and the landing area near it. I try to keep a regular habit (so important in keeping craziness to a minimum) of clearing it off once a week, and checking in on any bills, paperwork, banking etc that needs to be taken care of. If I don’t, I start to feel ungrounded, which can affect my professional work. For me, this is one technique that helps me get regrounded. Just taking 10 minutes to pick up my desk and the surrounding area brings me back into my body and helps me focus on what my priorities are.
When I am knee-deep in a stressful situation, I have some techniques that help me, but many of them have to be practiced when I am *not* in a stressful place!
Meditation: I began learning about meditation at the beginning of our new millennium. I started taking yoga classes here and there, and was introduced to the concept of meditation. Yes, some of it was the sitting-on-the-mat-and-clearing-my-mind type of meditation, but some of it was also about mindfulness meditation, which can be done using any task (e.g. washing dishes, eating a meal) to practice being present, not fretting about the past or worrying about the future. Easier said than done, which is why they call it a “practice”. I find Jon Kabat-Zinn very accessible for beginners https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/
The biggest benefit is that when I meditate regularly (10 minutes/day in the morning, usually), I feel more centered throughout the day and can more easily call on that feeling when my stress level rises, even if that day’s meditation was 10 minutes of my mind trying to make to-do lists and me bringing it back to the present.
Deep breaths: this is the quickest way for me to re-ground myself in a stressful situation. Often I find that I am breathing short, quick breaths from the top half of my chest when I am stressed out. By taking a minute to pull breath deep into my belly and slowing down the tempo of my breath, I immediately begin to calm down and come back into my body. If you try no other technique, this would be the one to work with because it’s accessible at any time and you have full control over it despite what is going on around you. I occasionally suffer from anxiety and panic, and this has been a metaphorical lifesaver for me. There are so many breathing practices, but here is a fairly easy one to learn: https://www.verywellmind.com/the-benefits-and-steps-of-box-breathing-4159900
Grounding cord: Ok, here is where I might lose some people, haha. The concept of a grounding cord employs our imagination and a little bit of playing/childlike curiosity. A grounding cord is an imaginary cord that can be made of anything you can imagine….a silken rope, a rainbow, a tree trunk, that you envision coming out of your tailbone and spiraling deep into the earth, to where you imagine the center of the earth to be, and it connects somehow (does yours wrap around? Drill in? swirling in orbit?). The idea is to feel your connection to earth, to feel your body in that connection so that you are coming down out of the clouds and headspace and settling into/onto the ground. It also gives you a way to release anything that no longer serves you. https://www.gaia.com/article/how-to-ground
After a particularly stressful situation, I will try to follow up with good self-care and grounding, which includes drinking water, getting my bare feet on the earth (weather permitting), eating some healthy food (nuts and raisins seem to especially help). Sometimes venting to my friends/colleagues is helpful (with client confidentiality in place), or taking a walk can help to clear my head/energy.
What techniques do you use to reground yourself in a stressful situation?