Are you one of the many people wondering what’s so “new” about the New Year? Oh, that’s right. There’s a new variant. The overwhelm, however, feels all too familiar.

You’re tired of juggling work and school or daycare closures. Maybe your job requires a lot of contact with the public, or you feel isolated working from home. You miss planning social activities without wondering if someone will think you’re spreading the virus or not taking the risk seriously.

Navigating the challenges is exhausting.

Naggingly persistent anxiety simmers in your system through all of the big and small decisions this context requires. And every time it appears the “end” (whatever that means) seems near, you realize it’s a mirage, and the horizon is as far away as ever. So what can you do to cope when you’re already overwhelmed?

Times like these call for simple practices.

Connection soothes, and although you probably can’t connect with others as much as you’d like, you can offer soothing connection to your internal family members.

Parts show up in various ways, such as tension in your body, ruminating about fears or choices, imagining worst-case scenarios, or seeking distraction. Connecting with them just as they are will calm your system.

Use your breath to create space for connection.

  • Take a deep breath in, and exhale slowly. Repeat. Repeat as many times as it feels good to do so.
  • Welcome whoever’s there just as they are, without needing them to change. They need to know it’s okay to feel what they feel.
  • They are working hard to navigate these challenging circumstances, and no matter their tactics, start by appreciating their intention.
  • Just be. Be with your breath. Notice how your system calms, even if only a little.

Place your hand(s) on the area of your body holding tension.

  • Feel the warmth flow from your hands to your body.
  • If you can’t reach the tension, use a pillow or blanket to bring comfort and warmth.
  • Just be. Be with the warmth flowing from your hands, or flowing from your heart, extending care to this overwrought part of you.

Give yourself a butterfly hug.

  • Cross your forearms and place your hands on opposite shoulders.
  • Tap gently, alternating sides.
  • This is a great one to share with children.

Turn your gaze inward and make eye contact with parts needing attention.

  • Allow them to be just as they are without needing them to change.
  • Appreciate how they are trying to help you.
  • Let them know it’s not all up to them; they’ve got you.

Meditate on a soothing verse, something that reminds you that God is with you. Then, invite all parts of you to join you as you reflect on it.

  • Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). Take a moment to shift your attention from the challenge to the One who created you with all the resources you need to navigate it.
  • May you grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18). Imagine yourself at the center of this Love.

I’m not suggesting you need to do all of these things! Any practice that helps you connect with the overwhelmed and anxious members of your internal family will support you through this challenging season.