Signs you are Shut Down and What You Must do about It to feel more Alive!
When life gets overwhelming, and seems to not be letting up, we tend to start to emotionally shut down. The interesting thing these days is that most people are operating in a state of overwhelm and think “it’s the norm”.
The following signs are indicators that you are either shut down or starting to. The reason you want to pay attention to the signs is because if you get to full shut down, it’s much more challenging to pull back out of this state than if you catch yourself while there’s still some gas in the tank.
- You are physically unavailable. You do what I call “turtling” retract and pull away. You stop calling or seeing your friends, family and spouse. You avoid social events at all costs. As you can’t imagine finding the energy it will take to get dressed up, even a bit. You stop doing the simple things that bring you joy. If you are an active person, that even takes a backseat. Thus your energy drops, which increases depression and anxiety.
- Increase addictions. Emotionally unavailable people are sometimes addicts. Whether the addiction is to work, drugs, sex, food or the Internet, the addiction takes up a considerable amount of the addict’s time and energy.
- Physical appearance varies. When we shut down, we can either over eat or not eat, so weight gain or loss can be an obvious sign we are not living consciously in the moment.
- You are hearing from your friends saying that “they hardly ever see you”. For which you respond with “how busy” you are.
- You can’t remember the last time you laughed really hard. When we shut down we turn off our pleasure sensors. So nothing ever seems too funny or too sad. We get drawn into the ‘FINE’ category.
- Sleep has become very inconsistent. You either sleep all the time or can’t seem to stay asleep, which compounds the feelings of depression and anxiety?
So What can you do about it if you find yourself in this situation?
When your energy has gotten up and left the building, it’s hard to get yourself moving again. Here are a few tips to bring you back to you.
- Find a healthy outlet for your emotions.
We bottle up a ton of emotions over our lifetime. And a common emotion we bottle up is anger. You need to figure out where and when you let it rip. Play some really primal music as loud as is permissible and let it rip. Dance, stomp your feet, hit a pillow and scream. Swear as much as you want until you feel a sense of release. If you have a good friend who will help you express these feelings, that’s even better because they can coach you to keep ripping it out there. You will literally feel lighter when you have had a good swamp session.
- Make a date with a few friends you feel good to be with.
We need friends and family around us. Isolation is no good, it makes us feel alone and like we’re the only ones dealing with what we’re going through. Human interaction is important, there are good chemicals that are released in our brains through hugs and simple physical affection, as well as just spending time with people we feel safe with and whose company we enjoy. Hang out with your friends!
- Move your body and your energy.
Get out there! Exercise releases endorphins into your body which feel good, they’re natural anti-depressants. Push-ups, yoga, walking, or running are helpful for many people. When I hike, all the stuff I’m pissed off about tends to bubble up in my mind an if needed and I can scream it all out to the universe. It simply feels great. I always say when I hike, I walk up with myself and and I walk down with the Stones. Some time for me to ‘just be’ an sometime with my favorite music.
- Watch what you are Eating.
I know we know this stuff, but shitty food makes you feel shittier. Give yourself the gift of ‘real food’ food that is not processed and instant. Food that takes ingredients to make food. Or simple foods. Fruits, Veg and good proteins.
- Give Yourself a Day’s Break from the SHAME Game.
According to Brene Brown, the foremost expert on the topic, shame is the swampland of our souls. Shame is the voice in our head made up of our past experiences and stories who says basically two things, a) You are not enough. And b) Who do you think you are? Women have bought into the idea that we can and must do it all and men have bought into the idea that they can’t be weak. Here’s the deal, in your day off from Shame, all you need to practice is empathy and being vulnerable. They are the antidote to shame.
- Detox or drop all your Social Media contacts for a few days.
There’s not much that makes me feel more crap about my life than other people’s Instagram and Facebook feeds. Social media makes us think we’re connecting with people, but it actually doesn’t provide the positive emotional and chemical payoff that face-to-face human interaction does. Not only that, but most of us put pretty, shiny versions of ourselves on social media, so we feel like everyone else’s lives are better than ours. Put down your phone and talk to someone IRL.
- Get some SUN.
I used to laugh about SAD: seasonal affective disorder. But then we had this past winter and I was so depressed for the first 3 months of this year. I realized that I was definitely happier in summer than in winter. Sun exposure is healthy and gives us Vitamin D, which helps with mood regulation and immunity. We can’t all go to Mexico in the winter, but we can force ourselves to go for a walk, or just spend a few minutes sitting in the sun. There are salt lamps you can buy that help your mood as well.
- Don’t believe everything you think.
We all have a voice in our head that tends to be negative and look for the worst situations that may happen. All you need to do is notice that voice and tell it to F//K Off. It keeps us down and safe and does everything it can to keep us from changing. Acknowledge it, and keep moving.
- Practice Being Present and in the Moment.
We live in a crazy busy world, and we can get in the habit of filling up every second of the day. Like when you sit down on the toilet and pull out for your phone? Yeah, like that. Stop, and being mindful of your state of emotions. Get in touch with how you feel. In that moment, tap into this truth: the past doesn’t exist, the future doesn’t exist either. The only moment that is real is this moment right now. So wipe your bum and get on with your day, staying present as you go.
- Have some Fun.
Hobbies are important. You’re a human being, meant to enjoy things. Make sure you spend some time each week on things that genuinely bring you joy and help your soul express itself in healthy ways. Whether it’s reading, gaming, rock climbing or baking, prioritize a portion of your time for fun, productive things that you love.
I’d love to hear your ideas on how you keep yourself inspired and energized. Send me a note and join me on Facebook at The ALIVE Revolution https://www.facebook.com/groups/1273464089416917/members/
Linda Edgecombe, Hall of Fame Speaker, Writer and Consultant.