There’s a buzzing vibration in the air these days. Can you feel it? It seems a lot of people in my circles are feeling the wave of anxious tension that always tends to grow stronger as July marches forward.
It’s the middle of the year, and for many it’s still the middle of summer break. Kids are bored, the novelty of summer is long gone, and at least where I live, it’s way too hot to enjoy being outside very long, especially during the day. Plus, there’s a marked sense of impending doom as school draws closer and closer, but its not quite close enough to start yet.
Most of us who’ve had our lives turned upside down by trauma know how challenging the Holiday season can be. I’ve noticed, however, that few realize how brutal July can be! Generally speaking, the triggers that come at this time of year aren’t usually big or flashy or obvious like there are at other times of the year. The July ones are often hard just because we’re in the middle.
The Middle Part is Always Hard
Without question, the middle part of anything we do is always the hardest part. It’s that point in which we’ve been at it for a while, but still have a long way left to go. It’s where things get messy and muddled.
That middle part is enough to drive anyone bonkers. However, it can be exceptionally hard when trauma is involved. It’s a time when overwhelm set in and feelings of “I’m not good enough, I’ll never be able to finish this, so why keep trying” and other such nonsense rear their ugly heads and leave us full of doubt, vulnerability, and frustration.
There are Many Kinds of Middle Parts
Chances are great that we’re not just dealing with the middle of summer or July blahs. There are all kinds of “middle” phases out there that can feel just as overwhelming. Maybe you’re in the middle of family drama…or your own healing journey. Perhaps you’re in the middle of a relationship that’s lost its magic, or in the middle part of raising your kids and you’re already exhausted and wonder how you’re even going to make it to the end. It could also be that you’re in the middle of trying to figure out and address health issues, or you’re in the middle of a big project or the middle of caring for an aging parent. Truly, there are all kinds of “middle” parts.
It’s natural for stress levels and anxiety to shoot through the roof when we’re stuck in them. I have a littel secret for you, too. Sometimes it takes a while to recover from that middle part once you’re out of it. Shoot, this the first time in over 20 years that I have NO kids going “back to school”. That whole “body keeps score” thing is no joke. I’m still feeling it! Those trauma imprints are still alive and active in my own nervous system!
Tips for Getting Through the Messy Middle
In case you can relate to that, I’ve got five quick tips to help you get through the hard middle part without blowing apart at the seams and still keeping some of your sanity in tact in the process.
When things heat up, our natural tendency is to run faster to try to keep up.
That only puts more balls in the air and creates more stuff for us to keep track of. If you want a different result, you’ve got to do the opposite!
Make Time to Nourish Yourself
We can’t always plow through and give everything we’ve got to everyone else. In order to keep going, and to be able to keep doing all the things we do, we have to stop, rest, refuel, and recharge from time to time.
Maps and GPS systems exist for a reason. Their purpose is to help us navigate the middle part between where we are and where we want to be. The “middle part” of anything is a great time to step back and reassess our journey and make sure we’re still on track.
Calm Your Own Nervous System
One of the best and most productive things we can learn to do is calm our own nervous systems during times of intense stress so we can recognize and interrupt the stress and trauma loops that otherwise keep us spinning in circles, but getting nowhere.
Adjust Your Perspective
Intentionally seeking to break out of whatever is keeping us stuck and looking for ways to see things from a different perspective and from a different point of view, especially from someone else’s point of view, is a great way to reset, reorient, and see everything around us much more clearly.
I hope those tips are helpful for you as you seek to survive all the middle parts of your life. Whatever the details of yours happen to be right now, hang in there, my friend. There will come a day when the middle becomes the end, and endings become new beginnings. Until then, you can get through this!