We’ve all been there at this moment where the overwhelm is so intense that we can not even think or act. I’m talking about the moment where you just can’t. You are ‘done.’ You feel stuck, sad, and frustrated. You would scream, but if you only had the strength!
I know, I’ve been there too. I remember clearly, me laying down on the floor staring at the green walls of this apartment I used to hate, crying in silence, feeling hopeless while wishing I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. But “where is the tunnel again?”.
It is not a good place to be at all. But at the same time, it is perfect as it is. Have you noticed what happens after a major breakdown? When we decide to break out of it, there is a breakthrough. And I love breakthroughs. They help us move on in life, usually more mindfully and more meaningfully. Breakthroughs help us see beyond our limitations and encourage us to pass through barriers that sometimes we don’t even realize were there in the first place. Breakthroughs are insightful and liberating. But how do we get there, from a breakdown? The answer is right down below.
1. Drop everything you are doing
To stop and drop whatever you are doing is probably the most crucial step to take since a breakdown usually comes after a series of non-stop, forced actions. We try so hard and go so deep without taking the necessary rest that eventually, we reach a point where we can not keep going anymore, or it’s just too painful to continue. So, what you must do right now is simply stop and breathe. Allow yourself some time to recenter and accommodate time for the following steps.
2. Scream, shout, let it out
When was the last time you let it all out? How many emotions have you been bottling up? It is now time to let the feelings come to you, actually feel them, and then let them go. If you haven’t cried in a while, allow the tears to fall. If there is a scream desperate to come out, scream. Remember: you are human, and feeling feels is as normal as breathing air. So, feel whatever you need to feel and then let it go. You deserve this time to process your emotions, and it is essential for your mental health that you do so.
3. Center yourself
After all the release from step 2, you will need a tool to help you center yourself and realign your energy. My go-to, in this case, is meditation. It can be as simple as sitting down in silence with your back straight, eyes closed, and breathing in and out slowly. Focus on your breathing and allow any thoughts to go as they come, without attaching to them. This simple meditation will help you become more present and prevent the usual spiral of thoughts that comes with a breakdown.
4. Re-evaluate the situation
If you got through the previous steps, I’m pretty sure you can think more clearly now, and you must feel a lot better. If you don’t, don’t worry. Know that this process takes time, depending on the person and the situation. So maybe give yourself more time and
whenever you are ready, start the re-evaluation.
The re-evaluation process is when you sit down with your thoughts, a pen, paper, and objectively re-evaluate what took you to break down. Here, you will elaborate on what happened, what part you played on it, and what you’ve learned from the situation. You must write everything down, so you can look at what happened “from the outside” and read it whenever you want to.
A breakthrough can happen anywhere between steps one and four, but what is a breakthrough without some action to follow up? That is why it’s essential to create an action plan.
5. Create an action plan for the future
Now that you have been through all the steps, it is time to take advantage of the insights you got and act on them. To do so, I encourage you to read the following questions one by one and give yourself a couple of minutes to think about the answers.
What is it that you uncovered in this process? What would you like to do differently? What new actions are you putting in place to prevent this from happening again? What is the goal now that you have all this information? What do you need to do today to achieve this goal? What can get in the way of what you want to achieve? How will you stay on track?
By answering these questions, you have all the information you need to design your action plan.
Remember: having a breakdown can be an opportunity to recenter, re-evaluate and repurpose our lives. All we have to do is create the space for that to happen, and that would include a pressing pause in our busy lives and some inner work followed by intentional action. Even though it is simple, I realize how difficult this may sound right now, but I promise it is worth it. And if you are worried about productivity, wait until you get back to business. You will be amazed!
I would also like to say, take your time. This process can be made in one go, or you may need weeks to process everything. The secret here is to not force or rush it and let it happen.
Give yourself the opportunity, the time, and the space to make it happen.