The past few weeks have been like no other! "Unprecedented" is a quite often, and possibly overused description. The reality of what has transpired is mind boggling and somewhat hard to comprehend. I don't think anyone predicted such drastic changes to come so quickly. These adjustments, coupled with the reality of the pandemic itself, might leave you feeling out of sorts. You may lose track of what day it is and don't quite know how to best use your time. You are likely grieving the loss of normalcy and have fears about your health and your loved ones. It is a lot to take in.
In this midst of this uncertainty, you might be asking, "what is the best way to cope with this?" The answer is unique for each person and finding your answer is attainable. Some have taken to posting videos or memes on social media with the intent of connecting and bringing levity or humor during this scary time. Others are getting outside and enjoying nature, or exercising outdoors to try to feel a sense of control or enjoyment. Some people find creative outlets help them to feel more grounded and joyful. During this time, many need to "just chill" before knowing how they will cope best. Binge watching tv or sleeping helps them feel like they are escaping the enormity of the emotions and concerns they are having. You may have experienced any of these reactions, or likely a combination of them all. Because your feelings are fluctuating, your energy and interest levels follow along with them. It is important to try to keep your thoughts as positive as you can by staying in the moment and allowing your emotions to come and go.
It may be helpful to look at this challenging life adjustment as one where you need to marinate; now is a time to allow all of the circumstances, challenges and changes to soak in. Having self-compassion during this time will help you to see the situation more objectively and therefore with less anxiety. If we put too high expectations on oursleves right now, we will only feel discouraged and unsuccessful. This is a difficult time. Plain and simple. Being kind to yourself and anyone 6 feet or more away from you, will help your mental state tremendously. Acknowledge and accept that there will be times when you don't have a lot of energy, but there will also be times when you do! Be open to the ebbs and flows and mood changes that you and your family will inevitably have. Doing your best is enough. Your best each day might look entirely different. You will feel and perceive each day differently, depspite the "Groundhog Day effect" that we are all living with, under the same roof with the same people.
In the alphabet of our covid journey, we want to be at Z. We are not. The uncertainty of not knowing what letter we actually are right now, both individually and collectively, is unsettling. We want to plan. We want to see our co-workers, friends and family. We miss our lives the way they were. We feel sad knowing that we will never return to things being the same. We may even feel guilty that we have taken people or our health for granted. Which brings us to our next step following marinating - cooking! While you are marinating, it is an excellent time to prepare how you are going to cook, correct? Eventually, when you are ready, and each person is unique to this process, you will be ready to get cooking again! Be patient. It is going to be a delicious reward!
In the meantime, marinating provides us with an amazing opportunity to spend time planning, thinking, and reflecting. Even if it doesn't seem like it, the way you are using your time now will help you to start cooking later. Is there a project in your house you can do? A hobby you didn't have time for before that you can devote to now? Do you like to write? Paint? Appreciate music in some way? What are your skills and talents? Do you need time to think about your job, relationships, goals, ambitions and what changes you might want to implement to help them improve? What is something you have been putting off that you will attend to as soon as you can? Is there a broken relationship you would like to attempt to repair? Maybe it is the relationship you have with yourself! Maybe forgiveness is needed, for you or for someone else. Maybe you need to explore your personal faith and spirituality. What are your priorities and how do they align with your life choices? Do you want to focus more on your health? Spending time with loved ones? I encourage you to ponder these questions. It will help you feel motivated and hopeful! Goodness knows, you have the time ;) and discovering and experiencing the peace that comes with the answers will feel really good!
If you find that you are still reeling and are not quite at this planning stage yet, you will. Have patience. Some of us need more time to marinate. It is ok. However, if you often feel lonely, are losing hope or if you have high levels of anxiety, I urge you to speak to a mental health professional. This is a healthy and helpful step for you and one you can be proud to make. Letting yourself stew in a dark place is not serving you and the sooner you seek help the better. Talking to someone, whether it is friend or professional, will always make you feel better. Reach out. You deserve to feel safe, under all circumstances.
As much as we would love to use a magic wand and make this all disappear, there is not going to be a quick fix for this situation. What is going on in the world can be scary...the news can be down right terrifying at times. The best way to cope is to find yourself in all of this. Strive to find your foundation again by looking at what you have to offer. We all have our gifts for a reason. Take this "unprecedented" time to figure out what is important to you so you are prepared to live your dreams in the future. Be patient while you marinate; your best days just might be ahead of you. Thoughtful planning for making positive changes can and will better your life. Strive to find a new, even stronger foundation. Building it will give you confidence and feel more like yourself again. Tell yourself that you can handle this challenge, and you will!
If I can help you during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out. I am happy to help.