I have a difficult time existing in uncertainty. I don't like being in the the "gray" area of things. I think there are a certain group of individuals who may thrive in the uncertaintly and the excitement of the unknown. I know we all need to balance some of both in our lives to keep it interesting. I personally lean toward knowing what the heck is going on and having some kind of idea what to expect in the short term.
However, the reality is that most of the time life is not so black and white. It's not always that simple. What is going on in our world today is something that the majority of us have not experienced before. If you told me one month ago we'd be in the midst of a pandemic, I would never have believed you.
It seemed to me we were thriving. Unemployment was down, our economy was doing well, the airline industry was doing great. These are just a few of the things I pay attention to. It appears that most everything just halted. In many ways, it did.
One positive thing I see is that most people are doing whatever they can to support each other during this time. Often when things such as this happen, people step up. I believe it's a beautiful part of our humanity.
I know there is a lot of great advice and ideas that people are sharing out there to help. Here are a few things that I have found helpful for myself:
1. STICK TO THE FACTS:
It's easy during a time like this to hear something different every time you go to the internet or turn on the news or the radio. You may be seeing different posts from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you're not sure that what you are reading or hearing is a fact or something that can be proven as the truth, it could be another person's opinion or speculation. You can do your own due diligence and research to help you feel more comfortable on which one it is. In addition, you may find much of what is going on in your brain are thoughts that stem from the fear of the unknown. So, if it's not a "fact" and more of a "could be" or "what if", try to put it aside until you know for sure.
2. MINIMIZE YOUR EXPOSURE:
Although I understand it is imperative to keep ourselves informed during this time and to follow the guidelines from the CDC (Center of Disease Control), if we're spending too much time watching TV and surfing on Social Media, it will create more confusion and make #1 more difficult to achieve.
3. KEEP MOVING:
This may seem too simple to be effective but I promise you it can be enough to lift your spirits at least a little bit. We can look at this as if we are trapped and can't do anything and complain about it (I don't mean to be harsh but...) or we can look at this as an opportunity. It can be an opportunity to get some fresh air and some exercise. It can be an opportunity to take your dog for that nice long walk that you never seem to have time to do. If you have children you can view it as a gift to spend some time that you may not have otherwise. As a parent, I would do anything to have had more time and not feel like I should always be doing something else and making work and other things a priority. There are projects that you may have been putting off. You may be struggling with a decision and have not had the time to figure it out. You may have the quiet time you need right now. If reading is your jam, here is some time to catch up on it. Honestly, the list can go on and on. I understand your concerns about the financial aspect. Most of us are experiencing that right now. My point here is that by sitting still in worry or avoiding your feelings by doing things that are unproductive, it does not change the reality of what is happening. Over a prolonged period of time, it can make you feel even worse.
So really, what can you lose? Try something different today and see if it helps.
My hope and prayer is for us all to stay safe and well. May we all look forward to a brighter light in the not too distant future.
Until next time,
I was thinking today about all of the ways we avoid our feelings. What's funny is that many of us, or dare I say most of us, don't even know what we are feeling much of the time. So therefore, if we are not consciously aware of our feelings, how do we know we are avoiding them? Crazy huh? So, what if we are? (you might ask) What's so bad about that?
Here is the short version of the answer to that question. When we avoid our feelings, especially when they are unpleasant, they don't just go away. Instead they just show up in other ways. Most of the time the ways they show up are not really serving us, and they can morph into a separate problem or situation for us. Some examples are overeating or eating when you are not hungry. It may be over-drinking to numb out what you don't want to feel. You may spend too much time surfing around social media or watching too much TV and Netflix.
The list can go on and on. I am not suggesting one is worse than the other, I am simply saying they are all ways of escaping what we don't care to feel in any given moment. Instead, you divert your attention to something else.
The secondary result is that you have a new problem. You may be overweight, or drinking too much or not accomplishing other things you know you want to because you are busy doing "that other thing". We think it's easier to focus on something else than the thing you are avoiding. Many of us add insult to injury by beating ourselves up for not doing what we think we should be doing.
There is a simple solution to help you begin to change this cycle. If you find yourself doing something in excess, pause for a moment and ask yourself what you've been thinking about or trying to avoid. If you realize it's something that makes you feel like crap or stresses you out, you may just have been given your first clue.
Try sitting down with whatever it is you are feeling for a minute or two before you turn to your normal "go to" that ends up not feeling so good after all. If you need to, give it a bit longer. You may find the worst of it is allowing the feeling to be there long enough for it to do its thing and process itself. It's possible you don't need to create something else to feel bad about instead.
Until next time,