When you’re traversing unprecedented times like a pandemic, your mind can easily veer off into a dark, bleak place. You might feel anxious and depressed, scared and exhausted. You might waver between Oh this isn’t so bad! and The world is falling apart!
And you might feel all these feelings within a 2-hour window.
Know that this is understandable.
Maybe you’ve created a strategic plan while staying home but you’re having a hard time following it. Maybe you’re laser-focused on work but find yourself wondering at times, what’s the point? and scrolling a bunch of anxiety-provoking websites.
Maybe you’re home-schooling your kids and feel exhausted by 10 a.m. Maybe you’ve created a decluttering to-do list and you can’t even get yourself to wash the dishes in your overflowing sink.
Maybe you’re going through the motions. Maybe you’re feeling really lost.
I think it’s important to carve out new, nourishing routines, to take walks in nature, to cook nutrient-rich meals, and to do all kinds of other things to boost our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health.
And I think it’s also important to acknowledge our feelings and be patient with them. This doesn’t mean that we take up residence in the darkness, but it does mean that we take a kinder approach with ourselves.
Whatever you’re going through makes sense. Your brain is trying to protect you, and thereby inventing all kinds of catastrophic, worst-case scenarios. Your body is on high alert, releasing a string of stress hormones, heightening your panic.
During this time, give yourself some grace and comfort. Say compassionate things—the kind you’d tell a child who’s terrified, whose typical routine has been obliterated, whose whole world has just exploded. Remind yourself that you are not alone. In fact, you’re in good company.
I am upset, and that is valid. So many people—millions, in fact—are struggling now, too. They’re also worried and upset and paralyzed and devastated. They’re also trying to figure out how to create stability during an unstable, uncertain time.
So, if you’re not handling this as well as you’d like, as well as you think you should, remind yourself that you’ve never been through something like this before. You’re doing the best you can, even if it doesn’t feel like it. At all.
And when you’re ready to let this into your heart, remind yourself that there is light and hope. Actually a lot of it. But it’s also OK if it takes you a while to get to this brighter place.