I’ve heard the words ‘I’m so over it’ come out of my mouth more often than I can count. Apparently, the universe doesn’t care whether I’m over it or not, because things are still weird and stressful.
I know that you too long for the way things were prior to 2020, well at least from March. I also hold on to the life I had where I left my home freely, didn’t have to think about having a mask in my purse and felt a strong sense of autonomy over my life. That I had all the power in the world to decide the choices I made and how I show up in the world. One of the hardest parts of this pandemic for all of us is the loss of autonomy that we strongly hold on to.
We’re being told how to be, what to put on our faces and where to stand.
As humans, we don’t like losing out autonomy – it grates against our desire for freedom. All of these changes cause stress. Stress is simply defined as pressure or tension that we feel from adverse circumstances in our lives. We have all been living in a prolonged state of stress and somehow seemed to have forgotten about it. This is the magic of adaptation – humans are professional adapters! What we seem to forget is that the symptoms of stress continue to be felt even though we’ve adapted to the circumstance.
How have you been feeling? Having headaches, trouble concentrating, sleep disturbance, apathy, lack of motivation, tired all the time, mood swings, irritable & short-tempered? Have you felt isolated, worry thoughts intruding, a drop in sex drive or intimacy, finding conflicts more often in relationships, indecisiveness, or physical body aches & pains? Those are just a few symptoms of stress.
There is a lot of anxiety and stress happening within a lot of us right now. And guess what? It’s normal given the times we are currently in. BUT, this isn’t a way of life we should hold on to. We’re all feeling the effects of stress and we’re all trying and doing the best that we can. Always, always be patient and compassionate with yourself at this time. And show compassion towards others, we’re all going through the same lifetime and we are all doing our best in a globally challenging time. Just be gentle with yourself.
When you catch yourself feeling self-critical or disappointed in your reactions I want you to remember the bigger picture. Remember that you are not the only going through this, remember that we are all in a global pandemic, and remember that these feelings, thoughts, and reactions are normal for the circumstances we have been handed. Remind yourself that you are dealing with a massive change that you were not prepared for and that in the big picture you’re doing a good job.
So, next time you find yourself being critical – either to yourself or others – take a step back, think about why you’re having this reaction, why your self-sabotaging. The bigger picture will tell you that we are under a state of stress. It will tell you that the news is constantly at our fingertips which people wait for officials to announce what to do next, what the new rules are, what’s being shut down, how high the numbers are, and what we should be doing on a day to day basis.
Watch the replay of my latest Coffee Talk here. I explain in more depth why this major trick of looking at the bigger picture will help you curb the stress and anxiety you’re feeling in 2020.