There are times when we scrape to find the good.
For me, the current pandemic hasn’t always been one. As an introvert who balances the want for time alone with the incessant need to please people around me, there have been built-in gifts. More time to work. To walk. To write. I’ve been fortunate to telework every other week, and used the time I saved in commuting to tick dreaded tasks off my list.
I’ve loved the quiet streets. The sound of birds singing and kids playing outside rather than traffic noise. The extension of unpleasant deadlines, like tax filings and tire changeovers. And not getting asked to group events that I will inevitably dread attending or feel bad when saying no to, even if I adore all of the people involved.
Sometimes, I’ve felt bad about feeling good. People around the world are dying, I tell myself.We’ll all be financially hobbled. What kind of a nutjob finds good in a pandemic?
But I’m reminded of bumpy times in the past that have aided crisis management And I’ve learned a few things since that I think can help you, too.
1.Find one or two or three good things that resulted from the crisis. Appreciate them. And then don’t feel guilty about it.
You’re living through something not of your choosing. You can’t fix it. But you can train your brain to notice the good, which helps to not amplify the bad.
I remember the first summer in 1994 after my daughters were kidnapped, four different friends independently bought me tickets to see Phantom of the Opera on different nights. I knew even in those moments that it was a once in a lifetime week for me, and I savored every moment of it. There was no shortage of awful then. So any time life offered a glimmer, I grabbed it.
2.Don’t focus on the long-term future when feeling engulfed.
When all the information from media and social media becomes oppressive, shut it off and think about this day. This one day. Nothing else is guaranteed, and staring at the stock market results or getting frozen with concern about the health of loved ones won’t produce results. Make a small list of the most basic tasks you need to accomplish during this day. Rinse, and repeat.
3.If symptoms of anxiety or depression are untenable, consider an online therapy session or look for a forum that provides opportunity to break out of the isolation.
Many clinicians are offering therapy using software to protect HIPPA information. I’d already begun seeing one just before COVID to help with work issues, and we still meet now online. Yours might as well.
4.Stick to yur routines and double-down on disciplines.
Sure, if you’re not working at the moment, you could stay up binge-watching Netflix and sleep in the next day. And you could also keep your sweats that you wore all day to bed. And then you’re already dressed for the next day! And while you’re at it, you may as well eat comfort food to soothe your anxiety, because who isn’t stressed? And don’t you deserve that extra mac n’ cheese?
Sometimes, the permission we give ourselves to indulge when experiencing hardships, whether it’s to sleep a little longer, eat a little more, spend a little extra, create problems that we’ll be dealing with months or years after the original issue resolved. It’s too easy to let problems multiply.
Don’t you deserve to optimize your future?
So the message in will be replaced with I deserve to feel healthy. To be well-rested. To have a small cushion in the bank.
(Buying online has been my greatest struggle during this time. I now have new Grip and Grabs, an $80 vest, extra audiobooks, and a new fan for my place before I put myself on restriction.)
These are some wild times. It’s normal to feel a continuum of emotions about things that are big and scary and with no end in sight. But that’s all the more reason to take good care of ourselves. Because when it’s all over,
5.Don’t underestimate your ability to go through hard times.
Think about all you’ve already survived. We humans are pretty buoyant. Circumstances and emotions can fillet us. But we still persist.
My challenge to you is to take one of these five tips and apply it to your life. Share it with someone you care about. And let me know how it goes at lameredith.com.
Lastly, if you’ve gone off the rails now and again during this time, don’t beat yourself up. You can turn it around. The key is to motivate yourself to take baby steps now.
You’re not alone, whether you have days of feeling hopeless or are guiltily appreciating some extra time.
We may never be the same after the Coronavirus, but we’ll figure out together how to be alright.
Thanks for stopping by.