We crafted this very last issue of 2022 about emotional well-being—a common topic around the holidays.
Sometimes seen as the hardest time of the year for people in the recovery community, many of us ‘double down’ on our self-care in an effort to protect our recovery from the stress of the holidays.
As I reflect on my own tools for managing stress, I’m grateful for the visual reminders I have around my home, office and even in my car; reminders of tools that are well-honed, because I turn to them so often throughout the year.
Many years ago, a wise friend suggested that I bring my fears, doubts, insecurities and worrisome thoughts to the ocean.
Her advice was to pick up a rock and imagine that emotion going into the rock, throwing the rock into the ocean, and then picking up a smaller, lighter rock and imagine the opposite emotion going into the smaller rock.
And then bringing that smaller rock home. I’ve done this THOUSANDS of times over the past twenty plus years.
It’s taught me a few things:
• the importance of taking the time to experience the emotion
• the necessity of having a place to put it (because it doesn’t serve me well to hold on to it), and give it to something more powerful than myself
• that the experience is enriched and the moments are extended because I have visual reminders around me
• the benefit of having the rocks—accumulated one or two at a time— remind me that I have tools to help with difficult emotions
I shared this once with a group of friends in a church basement and found out from a police officer in the room that taking rocks from that particular beach is actually against the law.
And later that day, I may … or may not … have added another rock for my collection.
I hope, dear reader, that you have an inventory of tools that work for you during stressful times, and that you find joy, happiness and many stacked moments of serenity for yourself this holiday season.