How to Care for Yourself in the Midst of an Emotional Crisis

Posted By: on July 03, 2015
Photo of a girl in the subway station

Sometimes, life can feel like a freight train, moving full speed, with so much momentum it just keeps chugging along without regard for the collateral damage it’s causing.

You feel like you’re simply along for the ride. Maybe you experience:

  • Painful, threatening, scary changes at work.
  • Emotionally difficult changes with a spouse or partner.
  • Exasperating arguments with a child or teenager.
  • The grief of losing a loved one or a close friend.

It gets even worse when life throws two or more of these crisis situations at you at once.

It’s so easy to feel lost and overwhelmed, to lose your sense of self in the chaos. Everything moves so fast as you try to keep up. In the process, you can easily lose your connection with your own needs—relational, emotional, and physical—as you become disconnected from your own feelings.

I want to encourage you that caring for yourself in these times is not selfish. It’s ok to stop for a few moments to take care of yourself, your needs and your emotions. This will help you hold on to your own sense of self, even in the midst of the chaos.

1-Minute Exercise: Stop, Close Your Eyes and Breathe

Let me offer a simple vehicle here: a simple exercise, that you can toss into your everyday life no matter how busy and chaotic it may be right now.

Simply close your eyes, start to breathe more deeply, and just start to count, 1… 2… 3… 4… slowly, and repeat the count to four, over and over.

The counting will occupy your mind and keep it from running away to the next worry. The breathing will bring your focus internally, allowing your body to relax. You’ll become more aware of your sense of self and more aware of your existence and importance in the world.


In as little as a few seconds, this simple breathing exercise can help you bring yourself back to you.

It’s like a blade of grass or small plant that grows between the cracks in the cement, reminding you that life finds a way. Naturalness can break through the cracks, and beauty can be found even in the midst of hard cement.

The next time life overwhelms you, take advantage of the cracks, the small moments of solitude.

Close your eyes, breathe deeply, count slowly and allow yourself to relax, even if it’s for just a moment.

Doing so will help you regain the rhythm of emotion and the rhythm of your natural self, so that you’re better equipped to live your life as you move forward, instead of just surviving it.

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