Why we're struggling now - and how to deal with it
For the best of us, these are trying times - even if we are in privileged positions. It can be hard and shameful to admit that we are struggling, while others are faced with sickness, death and loss.
It can help to understand why we are struggling and to give a name to what we are struggling with:
The reasons for our struggle have many facets:
- uncertainty over how life is unfolding (and going to unfold)
- anxiety and fear over getting infected
- anxiety over our finances and family members
- anxiety over our businesses and employees
- facing our mortality
- the loss of "independent movement" and "distractions (like work, shopping and alcohol)"
- dealing with issues in our relationships head-on
- too much time to overthink and reflect
- cabin fever
Here are some practical suggestions for dealing in this time:
1. Find some things you can control: creating a schedule or routine immediately helps you to feel more in control of your life and helps to lessen making too many choices and being overwhelmed by them.
2. Find ways to be productive: it can be a hard adjustment to work remotely, but staying productive is crucial. If you're on leave, try fixing things around the house, do an online course, help with household chores - just go to bed with a feeling that you did something today.
3. Get your thoughts and feelings on paper: set aside time to journal daily, even just for a couple of minutes. This will help you clear your mind and feel less overwhelmed by your thoughts.
4. Get in touch with someone daily: use the myriad of communication platforms to fulfil your need for contact and to combat loneliness.
5. Get distracted: do watch TV, but less news. There is definitely a place for "escapism" now by losing yourself in a book, a TV series or a movie - and even better: a comedy show.
6. Implement some form of a spiritual practice: whether it's praying or meditating, it can help you stay calm and deal with questions of mortality.
7. If you're at home with other people, find a way to break away for a while to be alone - this is especially important for introverts that need to recharge.
8. Get creative: another excellent way to process feelings and distract yourself: pick up a musical instrument, go on Pinterest, draw, paint, write - whatever gives you joy.
9. Get outside if possible: get some sun, fresh air, and views of nature to help fight cabin fever. Make buying groceries an "outing" (take the necessary precautions, of course).
10. Declutter your stuff: I guarantee you will feel better, productive and even generous if you donate some things (when the movement restrictions allow).
11. You didn't think I'd skip exercise? I've seen some illegal runners around (though I do understand their frustrations), but for the rule-followers, it's out in the garden or in front of the TV with YouTube videos. As we spend more time in front of screens, taking a break to exercise is a good "reset".
12. Get dressed: It might sound trivial, but getting dressed helps to provide a sense of normalcy, productivity, and is also a surefire to not sink into feeling depressed. Who knows? You might even miss doing your make up after a while.
13. Humor: There are so many things that aren't funny at the moment, and a lot to be serious about. BUT, man, I've had some good laughs at videos and memes and the like - it just lifts the spirits and lightens the mood (which we need from time to time).
One of my favourites.... ----->
I wish I had answers and solutions to all our struggles, but I hope my suggestions will be of use to you.
Take care of yourself, of others, and keep the faith.