A bend in the road is not the end of the road…
Unless you fail to make the turn.
We live in Texas, one of those states you really don’t want to be in right now, one of those states that seemed to be weathering the pandemic well at the beginning. One of those states which may have reopened too soon or too quickly or both.
So, what do you do when life seems to be moving backwards? Where your governor has started back stepping, and we all know where this ends up if things keep progressing in this manner (most likely another stay-at-home order). What do you do with all the feelings and emotions that are suddenly here again such as anger, frustration, irritation, fear, sadness, grief, etc.?
The following are some ideas on how to weather the ups and downs of life right now, especially when your expectations don’t align with our current reality.
In times of heightened anxiety, one of my favorite daily mantras is “Be Here Now.” A past therapist taught it to me years ago, but I feel like it’s just as relevant today as it was back then. It’s a great reminder to stay in the present moment and not get caught up in the “what ifs” in the future.
On that same front, I’m often asked in my sessions with therapy clients about how to stay content in this moment without losing your drive to continue to grow and meet your future goals. My response is to “remember the AND.” What this means is that you can hold two seemingly opposite feelings at the same time. You can feel content right here and now AND keep your drive/motivation to be a better version of you in the future.
How does this relate to the pandemic that’s currently spiraling out of control in some areas of Texas, as well as across the US and around the world? In this current day and age, you can still be intentional about how you spend your day, how you’re protecting yourself and others, your mentality around this issue, etc. AND also be intentional around keeping hope alive for the future. Basically, focusing on the things that are within your control today AND staying hopeful things will improve and get better in time.
Finally, what do you do about the anticipatory anxiety and all the life stressors coming at you at the same time? Focus on what is right in front of you, the things that are most pressing and the things that need your immediate attention. Write it all down and prioritize what needs to get done. (Plus, writing things down often makes them look simpler). Focus on your five senses as a quick grounding technique. Do a quick body scan to see where you’re currently holding your stress in your body. Go outside. Focus on your breath. Take a quick walk around the block (while still social distancing, of course!). Talk to a friend, family member, therapist, etc.
Life is definitely hard right now. If you’re feeling like you need more support, please reach out to someone you know personally or find a professional who can help you feel better.