We are knee deep in a world-wide ‘pandemic’ that has us all feeling a bit helpless and overwhelmed… with every emotion in between. Now, more than ever, we need a reminder of the things we can do to continue the trek forward without losing our sanity.
Below are some research-backed tips to help you find some light for yourself. Choose one or two to focus on today, and you WILL feel a shift internally.
ID Control/No Control
We are each being bombarded with constant news updates, empty toilet paper isles and a cancellation emails every 5 minutes. It’s a lot to take in, and these times are a recipe for our brains to spiral out of control. My favorite thing to when I’m overwhelmed is to make a list of everything I’m worried about… and then take a step back. I walk back through the list and cross off every single thing that I have absolutely no control over. This is one small act to help me realize that I am wasting time and energy on things that are completely out of my control.
My own examples include:
- Can I control this dang virus and if everyone is freaking out around me? NO
- Can I influence how my kids and I spend our time after school? YES
- Can I control what they share or how they share information on the news? NO
- Can I control how much news I watch/listen to? YES
You might not be able to attend your preferred workout class, but without movement you are going to get less and less motivated to stay on the positive side of life. Walk your dog, walk your kids, ride a bike, do some yoga in the basement, or start moving those boxes that have been staring at you in the garage. Create momentum in your body so that you can positively fuel your brain.
I have a science background and support the strategy of social distancing… to a degree. I canceled a work party this weekend due to us anticipating between 40-50 people. However, removing yourself completely from ALL social interaction is incredibly dangerous. As a social species, we feed off of interacting with each other – even if it’s in small quantities.
The beauty about our world these days is how connected we are, despite our physical distance. Think of the options available – FaceTime, Zoom, Marco Polo, Phone calls, group texts, FaceBook,… and so many more. Finding friendship and connection during these times are key, so be sure to find ways that you can connect with others. Although I will be avoiding large group gatherings, I will be creating space for personal interactions to keep my soul and heart fed.
Prioritize Random Kindness
Research has shown that if you can increase the number of random acts of kindness you provide to others, you will immediately boost your own internal happiness index. Send a kind text or email, buy someone a coffee, or even tell someone you appreciate him or her. You will both benefit without a single thing being lost.
Fill Your Bucket
What do you need to keep your own bucket filled? I know that the things that directly fill me up are exercise, nature, friends and laughter. This next week, I will prioritize meeting friends for walks and watching movies that get me laughing out loud. I’m not naive, nor do I want to ignore what is happening… but I DO want to be able to be the best version of myself while times are rough. And I know from experience that it needs to start with me.
Studies have also shown that by focusing on things we are grateful for, we can have an immediate impact on our positivity. Everything feels pretty doomsday right now, but there are things to be grateful for. I have noticed how grateful I am for this LAST day of school before my kids are home with me for 2-3 weeks. I’m also grateful for everyone that is still working hard at busy, overcrowded grocery stores to keep the rest of us fed.
You are amazing for taking every small step you to take to keep yourself on the right side of crazy. I know these times can feel as if there is so little we can do, but we CAN influence ourselves and others in positive ways.
If we each take one small step, we will find the light together.
You’ve got this.
WE’VE got this.