When life throws you a curveball, it’s easy to feel completely overwhelmed and helpless. It’s only human. But there are things you can do to get your power back and move towards a better state of mind, one that will allow you to deal with challenges more constructively.
Life and health coach Sandra Rinaldi says that she’s helping her clients find their source of inner power while navigating the pandemic: “We are creating a space of personal power. Regardless of what is happening, you are in charge of your perspective, your outlook, your thoughts. We focus on the power from within and that is the most powerful of all.”
Yes, feeling empowered when it seems the whole world is collapsing around you is easier said than done. The key is to think of empowerment as something you do and practice — a series of small habits to embrace both good and bad days.
“Habits are rituals and thoughts you do or think every day without even being conscious of them. The key to living an empowered life is to create awareness around those rituals and thoughts. Without awareness first, change is impossible. Once you become aware of the rituals and thoughts that no longer serve you, you can adopt small, consistent changes towards [more empowering ones],” says Rinaldi.
Ready to feel more in control? Here are eight ways to regain your power when you feel powerless.
There is nothing worse than beating yourself up for feeling disempowered. It will only lead you further down a negative spiral. The first thing you want to do is accept the circumstances and your reaction to them without judgment. “Acknowledge and accept that this is where you are and that is OK. Then, remove all judgment towards yourself and look at the situation with curiosity. Why am I feeling this way? Where is this coming from? Forgive yourself and know it’s a new day, a new moment, a new decision. It’s never too late,” says Rinaldi.
Get into a routine
Having a stable routine gives you a sense of control. “Plan out your day/week with realistic tasks to accomplish. Wake up and go to sleep at regular times — seven to nine hours of sleep is ideal,” says Rinaldi.
According to her, we still need to feel a certain sense of purpose during these surreal times of lockdown and social distancing. And that can come from the simple things you do every day. “Use this time to take care of yourself and your family, get stuff checked off your list and enjoy this pace while it lasts.”
Focus on what is going well
“When you recognize what you do have, you have more. Focus on the things around you and in your life that bring you positive energy, shelter, love, belonging, stimulation and happiness. Saying them out loud, writing them in a journal or sharing these with a friend or family member will make them feel even more present,” says Rinaldi.
If everything feels like it’s falling apart and remaining positive is a struggle, find the smallest, most basic things to appreciate and write them on a piece of paper on a daily basis. You’ll soon find yourself noticing more of what is going well and building positive momentum.
If you’re feeling powerless, this is not the time to accomplish 100 things in one day or perform at your highest capacity. Biting more than you can chew can make you feel even more disempowered. Instead, focus on taking one step at a time and making note of your progress — even if it’s slow and steady. “Pace yourself, especially if you are dealing with being a parent, working from home and everything else,” says Rinaldi.
Rinaldi says that setting boundaries and creating time for yourself is really important in situations when you are feeling overwhelmed. “Create boundaries that are going to keep you in a good headspace and stick to them. Boundaries can be set around logging off work, getting a good night’s sleep, getting in some body movement everyday or dedicated time alone. If you create a boundary of not answering emails past 6 p.m. or taking any calls on the weekend, stick to it and use the extra time to do things you love.”
Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all. “Surrender the things you cannot control. The word surrender is such a powerful word! I think empowered living isn’t about being weighed down by things we cannot control. Consciously accepting that there are things that are out of our control and surrendering to something greater is imperative,” says Rinaldi. “Focus on the things you can do. Surrender and let go of the rest.”
Move your body
“Empowered living also means taking care of your body and moving. Keep those legs and arms moving, keep your heart pumping for 30 min every day and you will keep your mind clear and your body strong,” says Rinaldi. Not in the mood for a full-blown workout? Something as simple and gentle as going for a walk will help get your blood flowing and shift your mood to a more empowered state.
Get professional support
There is no shame in getting help. In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do when you’ve lost your sense of power. “Sometimes you need the help of a professional to get to a place of light and empowerment. A therapist or coach would likely be very helpful in getting you there by working through the issues with you and providing long-term tools to keep you on track and happy,” says Rinaldi.