Mary Olivia Verhulst

Often living in a bustling city like Manhattan translates to surviving, or just getting by. Ever feel like you’re just looking to get through the day ahead, one hour at a time, and the rest of the week feels daunting or far off? Or like every unexpected turn in the day adds to an urgent and unsettling checklist? While these “survival mode” characteristics are more tangible and easier to describe, others include feelings of overwhelming anxiety, denial, avoidance, disconnection and numbness. 

The city, and life itself, gives us plenty of good reasons to keep busy – so we think. It’s easy to justify our survival mode with all the great reasons to be just hanging on by a thread and avoid prioritizing ourselves (work, family, making time for our partner, dating, socializing, school, homework, check lists). Often by the time we’re done rationalizing or compartmentalizing our feelings away and committed to the art of survival, when we do tune back in, we find ourselves anxious, burnt out, stressed and sad.

Do some or all of the above sound familiar? Here are some tips to transition your survival mode to living and thriving mode:

  1. Have a kind curiosity toward yourself, always. Ask yourself questions like, “is this relationship or job that is exhausting me, still serving me?” “Am I acting with love and empathy for myself, or only for others?”
  2. Identify your needs and ask for help. This can be as simple as listening to your body or mind telling you something feels wrong, and moving from there. Often we forget that we’re not supposed to be doing it all on our own. Help is waiting when you need it!
  3. Shake up your routine. Implement more things that feel colorful, creative or freeing, and shake off the dead skin activities that feel more obligatory or monotonous.
  4. Take it slower. Not everything is urgent. The world won’t crumble if you take a mental health day, or don’t finish your to-do list on time.
  5. Practice being mindful. Whether it’s mindful eating, breathing or noticing, bring some awareness to the here and now before it all passes you by. Often when we’re moving too fast from one thing to the next, we forget the purpose in coming to these things in the first place. 

We have therapists here at Let’s Talk Psychological Wellness committed to helping you shift away from survival mode into a thriving mode. Experience relief. Call, text or email us.