We’ve all met the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s typically an incidental, tiny-little thing that sends us into an emotional explosion. If we’re really lucky, it’s accompanied by some type of behavior that leaves us needing to:
- Apologize for lashing out like a wicked banshee at the nearest person
- Borrow money to pay for the hundreds of dollars of stuff we just bought online
- Lie on our back and groan, thanks to the whole package of Double Stuf Oreos we gobbled down in a frenzy
This emotional explosion can be dangerous enough to send recovering alcoholics and drug addicts right into a relapse. Scary stuff indeed.
And it’s not the straw to blame. The straw was just the ONE MORE THING that sent us over the edge. Many other things can be to blame, but at the core is insufficient self-care. Self-care covers huge ground, but we can keep it simple by focusing on the most basic.
If you’re ever on the verge of a relapse, breakdown, meltdown, rage fest, binge session, pity party or emotional shopping spree – just remember to HALT.
Beware of HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
HALT is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. If you’re experiencing any one of those four things, you’re in a danger zone.
HALT is one of those cool things you pick up in early recovery and then forget about as you move forward. Until, of course, you’re about to have a huge hissy fit on a Friday evening. Before embarking on said hissy fit, however, you realize that:
- You still need to eat dinner (hungry)
- You’re annoyed something didn’t go your way (angry)
- You had a crappy nap (tired)
You don’t need to have all four HALTs to be on the verge of something awful. A single one will often do. The more HALTs you have, the more likely you are to explode. But please don’t try it out just to see.
Thankfully, fixing HALT can be pretty straightforward.
- Problem: Hungry
- Fix: Eat
Since food may not always be at the ready when Hungry hits, I’ve learned to travel with mints, almonds and Arbonne Fit Chews to take the edge off until a more substantial nosh comes my way.
- Problem: Angry
- Fix: Pause, leave,
Anger likes to drive us into actions that we later regret. Like punching a hole through the plate glass door in your Brooklyn apartment. Ooops. The best way to deal with anger (or any emotion) is to actually FEEL it so it can be processed and subside.
But that’s not always possible if you happen to be at work or out in public. In that case, the best course of action is to pause and remove yourself from the situation so you can cool down a bit.
More anger management stuff in my workshop: How to Handle Situations that Make You Want to Punch Someone
- Problem: Lonely
- Fix: Call a friend
Giving a pal a quick call lets you connect with someone who cares, reminding yourself you’re not alone in the world. If all you get is voicemail after going down a list of 10 friends, connect with your divine pals in meditation and prayer.
- Problem: Tired
- Fix: Sleep
Sleeping at your desk is usually frowned upon, especially if you work as a receptionist. But you can take a power nap during lunch, or a full-fledged nap if you work from home. Also try going to bed earlier, waking up later or otherwise getting adequate quality sleep.
HALT is such a handy tool – and I’m glad I remembered it in time to salvage my Friday evening. It can save you regrets, money, stomach pain and, in the case of possible relapse, even your life.
I help amazingly creative souls who want more out of life than sleep-work-sleep get their DAZZLE back so they rock their world. Book free coaching call.
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