My Go Bag

… and tools I use to STOP the madness!

Today I found myself walking around the house in circles. By that I mean, I was going from room to room, picking up one thing at a time, then thinking of something else only to change directions and start another task. WHY? First I need to back up.

My plans for the day included another person who had either changed their plans without informing me, had forgot, or was still asleep…during our scheduled time together. As a result, I was filling my time with small, one off tasks, that were not on my daily schedule…basically busy work. I didn’t feel at liberty to engage in an activity that would tie me up if the person I was waiting on finally returned my call…I started to feel anxious.

Has that ever happened to you? You want to be productive with your waiting time but in order to get in the flow, you need to have the time to complete the tasks. If you are like me, while waiting on someone else the thought of starting a project that could be interrupted causes anxiety as does the lack of feeling productive “in the waiting” … so what do you do when you are time dependent on another person who, for whatever reason, does not seem to be respectful of your time?

Unfortunately, my pattern is that I find myself going in circles from small task to small task, not actually feeling accomplished. While yes, those items needed to be taken out of the living room and moved back into the office, I was not planning on doing it at that moment but at a later time … when I could not accomplish the things I had planned. See a theme? PLANS! Making and keeping them.

Eventually I catch myself going in circles and I tell myself to STOP! Take a breath and pray. Once I am in a state of calm…or semi calm, I follow a routine (yes I just said routine) that I created to help me break the pattern of being stuck.

Feeling stuck is a common human condition, but staying that way is not. Being aware of and recognizing your condition is only half the battle, the other half is being prepared with a plan you can implement any time you find yourself stuck, going in circles.

I use a “Go Bag” and have a video telling you how and why it originated and you can watch it here

In my bag are the tools I have collected and developed over the years which help me. Your tools may vary slightly, and if you need to borrow a tool from my bag, feel free. I only gained mine because I had to learn the hard way or, in some cases, someone special introduced me to them along they way.

Before you find yourself going in circles, designate your own “Go Bag” … if you are already feeling anxious or overwhelmed, STOP what you are doing and take a deep breath and say a silent prayer. Then check out my tool box for dealing with anxiety and overwhelm.
Fill it with the items that can help you … see What’s in my Tool Box for suggestions
Create a “get unstuck” routine – Have a go to place that you can go. Take your bag and go somewhere different. Changing your physical environment takes you out of the situation that is either causing or contributing to the feeling of anxiety/overwhelm/stuck and can have a major impact on your perception of events and can help you think differently about a current situation. Some places to consider are your local library, a restaurant or coffee shop, a bookstore or a park.
Pay attention to your body and your thoughts. When you notice you are going in circles, feel stuck, anxious, tense or aggressive, or find yourself having negative thoughts, implement your routine.

I would love to know the tools you put in your “Go Bag” … tag me on social media with #GoBagTools

What’s in my Toolbox

What comes to mind when you read the words, tools and toolbox?  Perhaps images of hammers, wrenches, stud finders and other construction related equipment?  What I am referring to when I mention tools are skills to aid you in times of stress or other emotional difficulty.

None of us are issued a toolbox full of tools when we enter this life but have the opportunity to gain and learn how to use them as we grow.  We gain our initial toolset from our family.  They could have a highly developed set of tools and therefore pass those on to you…kind of like a super computer.  They may have antiquated tools that no longer serve you well…kind of like an abacus.  It was highly sophisticated instrument when it was first developed but if you need to solve a difficult problem, using the abacus will keep you in the dark ages.

Some tools are literal, like planner/organizer, pens, paper, laptop, iPad, and cell phone.  Other tools are more abstract like prayer and meditation, choosing to love unconditionally, nonjudgmental listening, seeking to understand so you can then be understood, being intentional, looking for the positive perspective, making the next right decision…the list goes on and on.

The tangible tools I keep in my “Go Bag” to help me get unstuck can vary but the consistent items are my bible, a pencil bag filled with various pens, pencils, highlighters, page flags, washi tape, and scissors, at least one planner (usually my goal planner to help me focus on what’s important), an iPad or laptop, a protein bar, an essential oil or fragrance that is relaxing to me, CBD oil & lotion, TENS unit, list of self-care strategies, and Altoids…you’d be surprised at how centering it can be to take a moment and enjoy a peppermint!

The intangible items are always with me.  It takes intention to focus on and use them but the more I do, the more readily available they are to me.   Using them, refining them, and replacing when I find a new one that serves me better, helps me to reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm and allows me to focus on implementing the techniques to help me get unstuck.

This list is no by means exhaustive, as the items do change from time to time, but this is a very representative list of what I like to keep on hand when I need to change my scenery and get a fresh persepective.  I hope they have given you insight into some “tools” you can gather for your Go Bag.