I don't know anyone (at all!) that has never experienced survival mode. I'm sure you know it.
Something traumatic happens. Your life is shattered into pieces of what it was or what you expected it to be and now your entire life is different.
Life is hard.
Getting out of bed is hard.
Even the most basic self care is HARD.
Even the smallest interruptions will make you feel like you're going to explode or push you to the point of crying in public- like full on bawling your eyes out.
You feel like a crazy person because your emotions are all over the place, but you also don't really feel like sharing with everybody around what's going on. Maybe you don't even feel like a crazy person because your emotions are on LOCK DOWN- no one even knows that you are struggling.
Either way, it's hard to go to work. It's hard to maintain the home. It's hard to keep your kids on a regular schedule, and make sure that all of their needs are met that their schoolwork is done, that they're able to play with other kids and be social.
When we finally get to the point where we can start to relax a little bit because surviving gets easier, (eventually it does- things change, opportunities open up life gets easier, and we're able to relax a little bit more) the habit of being stressed out, of being in survival mode, of being on edge- that habit isn't easily broken.
So, how do we move from survival mode to a place of loving our life again?
First of all, everybody's situation is different and it always takes time to get to the point where you realize that you don't need to be in survival mode anymore. When you have reached the point that you know that you're not in survival mode, or that you no longer have to be but you find yourself still visiting survival mode for no apparent reason- we use those moments of awareness to make a change.
When you become aware that you are feeling stressed out, or reacting to your life the way that you have for months, weeks, years however long you have been living in survival mode- that's when you just need to take a step back and acknowledge that what you're feeling doesn't match what you're experiencing. Acknowledge that your fear that you used to live in daily, is no longer warranted.
Now, having this thought isn't going to magically just make everything hunky dory. However, it is going to grow on you over time. Remember I called it a habit, a habit of stress, a habit of survival mode. It is a habit that you need to reframe and retrain. And we do that through the awareness that it doesn't serve us anymore. And once we become aware that no longer serves us we can make a game plan for how we want to see a change, or where we want to see a change or what that change looks like.
For example, I moved out of my mother’s house at 18 and I lived in poverty (as kids desperate for freedom often do). There were days that I wasn’t sure were my meals would come from and paying rent on time (or at all) felt like the biggest luxury. It was rare that I would have any money beyond my bills… and it was pretty amazing to actually be able to pay those bills. That went on for at least 6 years! Then our situation changed. We had more than enough to pay our bills and go to get the groceries.
Then, one day I realized, “Oh my gosh, I'm freaking out over money right now. And I don't need to.” It became a habit.
When I realized that I was living that cycle still, even though I was pulling up to the grocery store in a completely different place in my life, one where my family can afford our bills, our food, and we are thriving- I decided that that was not something I would do anymore. And that didn't mean it stopped just because I decided- because it was a habit. It just happened. It was something that I would do, every time I needed to go grocery shopping and how I got past that was starting with the awareness that, “yeah, this isn't legit anymore. This isn't my situation.”
Creating space between my current situation, and the feeling I'm experiencing (because that feeling is relative to my previous situation)- that space that I created, which is just an awareness, just not holding on so tightly to those feelings and realizing that they were from the past. That made a huge difference.
All of this probably sounds a little bit ambiguous. If you need more guidance and information on this process, then I highly recommend you jump on over to my Facebook group (Heart-Centered & Intentional Horsewomen) where I go in depth into this process with the Adventure from Outbursts to Peace in 90 days.
Another thing that I highly recommend, if you have a block in your life or something that just keeps coming up. (For example, me feeling stressed about money.) If you have something like that, I highly recommend an Emotion Code session. I would love to chat with you as to whether that's something that suits you or not, you can grab a free 15 minute consultation here.