To say these times, feel very uncertain would be a terrible understatement. Our world, humanity and economy seems to be coming apart at the seams causing great unrest and anxiety for us all.
It has become a challenge to be able to mitigate and combat the nagging negative thoughts that revolve around in our minds in these thought loops.
We as humans generally thrive in situations where there is a sense of familiarity and stability. It comes from our need for power and control, based on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
This need for power and control is not the kind where you want to rule over others and the world, this is more along the lines of having some say over the course of your existence. What influence you would have over your outcomes.
With the novelty and the challenges that come with this new virus, the state of the economy and our movement to further human rights, the air feels laden with energy and anxiety.
Every emotion we experience serves a purpose. It doesn’t necessarily feel as thought it is beneficial, for example when there are these endless anxious thoughts circling through your head, preventing you from being productive or getting through the tasks of the day. Even with these struggles, your emotions are trying to tell you something.
Take anger for example. What would be the purpose for anger? To be destructive and aggressive? Haha no, even if for some people, it ends up that way.
The purpose of anger it to alert you to a very important value that has been violated. Or for some, the purpose of anger is a safety mechanism to ward off harm.
Anxiety is also one of those emotions that helps identify when something is off. The purpose of that nagging, incessant and shrill voice inside your head is to let you know that something is not as it should be and could potentially cause you harm.
So, what your anxiety is trying to do, is it is trying to get your attention to what is looming so that you can take care of it.
Typically, anxious thoughts are most present when things that matter to you seem to be out of your control in how you can influence or manipulate the outcome.
Those of us that are anxious about Covid-19 are nervous not only about the virus itself, but more so about the inability to discern how to handle it should you become infected.
As a single parent, the concern could be how becoming sick would negatively impact the ability to work, to physically care for your kids, to pay for the bills while you are unable to sustain an income and if you are not present, how will your kids survive?
Here, the purpose of the anxiety is to bring your attention to these issues, not to just rob you of your peace and sleep, but rather so you can come up with a game plan to challenge these setbacks that could arise.
Anxiety cannot hold a candle to facts. The struggle is matching the intensity of the anxiety with the same level of factual challenge.
For example, as a single parent, if those are the fears that I have are giving me anxiety, I have to match it with equal responses in their weight of values. 1- negatively impact the ability to work: I would not meet anyone in person, however, if I am feeling up to it once I am on the mend, I can pick up the telehealth sessions again. 2- Who will physically care for the kids: My parents would be able to take them for the entire time or I have a group of friends who are amazing and would help out. 3- Pay for the bills when I am unable to work: everything is on auto draft and also, we will have to go into our savings, which is there for times like these.
The trick here is to recognize that nothing will be a perfect match or as good as if you are able to handle it all per the norm. The point is finding solutions that will keep things afloat, not necessarily what is the optimal option.
Our fear here of losing control or influence is that our little universe that we have painstakingly created and nurtured will crash and burn as a result of losing our grasp on things.
We must challenge that notion with factual responses to show our brain that it won’t be as bad as are perceiving the loss to be.
When things feel unbearably shaky, we must allow ourselves the grace to not judge ourselves for not performing at our optimal level. Whether that’s keeping the laundry done, the house chores complete, or staying fully on top of our administrative work. If one day we need extra space for mental or physical recharging, that is okay. It can be made up the next day. Take care of what is crucial and recognize the need for rest.
Remember that our emotions serve a purpose. They are our friends; albeit annoying, nagging and ever incessant fear inducing friends at times. Our emotions are trying to tell us what we need. Honor your experience and listen to what it is trying to tell you. Embrace the feeling and then challenge the messages associated with it.