June 01, 2020 6 min read
What a year 2020 has been. And we are not even halfway through just yet. Even before the rise of the coronavirus and it becoming widespread enough to be considered a pandemic, this year started off on a rocky note. Of course, as many joked that it could not get worse, they were proven wrong as one mishap after another arose.
At the start of the stay-at-home orders and social distancing decrees, it seemed the most of our worries were about travel plans and events being cancelled. Now that we are pushing June, nearly 2 months after the United States has issued quarantine policies, and looking like life will not return to normal any time soon, the reality is setting in for a lot of people. And it is not looking good.
The majority of people are claiming the year is in essence, over. We should regroup and reset for 2021. This is not the right mentality at all! When has it ever been the correct mindset to put life on pause? It seems, because we are in a national slump of sorts, we have collectively decided that it is perfectly acceptable to put everything on hold. This is the wrong way to think!
Anxiety. Uncertainty. Exhaustion. Worry. Stress. Fatigue. Loneliness. Melancholy. As these unprecedented times continue to play out, it is hard to predict exactly what will happen. What began as a tentative call to social distance and flatten the curve quickly became official mandates to shut down essential businesses and quarantine in our homes. Our “normal” changed seemingly overnight. And while it may have felt surreal and dreamlike, this new reality created harsher wake up calls as companies slowly began making moves.
Furloughs, layoffs, even entire shutdowns happened one by one. Concerns over the economy actualized and suddenly, it hits very close to home. You don’t fully realize how much variety and diversity supercharged our days until those options are taken away. Is it any wonder that we are all feeling some type of way? An initial reaction might be to bury our hands in the sand and wait for this entire thing to blow over. Early on, this seemed reasonable. But as time drags out, it is clear that we truly do not know how long this will play out. It is time to face the music.
First and foremost, we come to terms with our new normal. The complex mix of emotions and thoughts surrounding your personal experience during this global crisis may fluctuate. However, there is no right or wrong way to process the current events. It is normal and justified to feel whatever it is that you are feeling. You are not alone. If you are finding it difficult to move past the stress and anxiety that lingers, CBD is a great option to consider to calm the nerves and reduce the mental noise.
Breathe. Think. Take it one day at a time. There are a lot of conversations surrounding exhaustion, burnout, fatigue. While it makes sense for working parents who are suddenly finding themselves juggling their jobs with childcare with teaching, this sense of perpetual tiredness is consistent across the board. Even for individuals who are finding themselves at home doing less, there is a sense of lethargic energy that is present. Social Zoom calls to at-home “parties” have faded compared to the first few weeks of this quarantine. Why is it that we are burning out from doing seemingly nothing?
Perhaps it is the sense of boredom. Perhaps it is loneliness. Or perhaps it is the sense of helplessness. There could be a number of reasons. However, what is true regardless of the reason is the role of your mentality in how you feel. If you are part of the small minority that is thriving, you might have already figured this out. Humans have adapted and evolved to new environments for quite some time. We definitely have the capacity to adjust and thrive. But how to get there is the interesting question.
Resetting your mind is easier said than done, but also easier than you might think. Instead of focusing on all of the external variables, focus the energy on the things you can control. For the last two months, many people have found themselves in a constant state of reacting. Reacting and thinking that they can tough it out for two weeks until things return back to normal. And as weeks go by with new extensions, the hope that “normal” is coming back soon begins to diminish. It is no wonder we are exhausted! Being in a state of constant high alert is tiring. And being in a position where we feel helpless and unable to do anything is even more draining. And once you are tired, it is easy to mentally check out.
If you continue to focus on external factors, you will not win. Instead, pay attention to what you can control. And what you can control is you, your actions, your day-to-day, and your emotions. Allow yourself to mope if that is necessary. Stop pretending like everything is fine. It is okay to feel scared. Allow yourself to process all the negative emotions instead of avoiding them. The quicker you can do that, the easier it is to move forward and look at things objectively. How many times did you secretly wish that you could work from home? That you could have more time with your kids? That you could have a chance to learn a new hobby. That you could finally begin that creative project?
The difference between those thoughts and the current ones is simply mindset. As individuals, we like to be given a choice. In this case, the situation was thrust upon us, so we may not feel empowered. It was much too sudden. But it has now been two months, and it is not “sudden” anymore. Change your tune and begin focusing on how you can take advantage of this time.
“Quarantine Thriving” is not a one size fits all. It is also not a competition. Super Mom who is juggling a job, cooking new things, teaching her kids, and somehow still finding the energy to get dressed and put on makeup? That may be lovely and all, but it is completely fine to define “thriving” in your own way. It is all about the small wins.
Start slow. Make a list of what you want to do. It can be as simple as finally reorganizing the closet. Or reading a book. The momentum comes from doing things on your terms. The more you make the decision to do something and actually follow through with it, the more energized you will feel. It feels good to take matters into your own hands. Forgive yourself if you have an off day where you slip back. It is similar to working out and trying to stick to it. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Once you have solid momentum, up the ante on what you want to accomplish. This does not have to mean jumping on the bandwagon and learning how to make sourdough from scratch and personifying the sourdough starter sitting in your kitchen. Or maybe it does! If that is what you want. There is a sense of freedom in having absolutely zero obligations and commitments socially. This is an opportunity! Seize it.
Time moves forward and is objective. No matter how we spend it, this time will pass anyway. Why not take the chance to pursue a passion (however big or small) and get ahead of the curve.
Feeling uninspired? What about “would be nice” type goals? Learning a new language, finally getting back in shape, home improvement DIY projects, digitally catching up with people, etc. The possibilities are endless.
We are all human. There are good days and bad days. And there are times we collectively struggle. That is part of what makes us human. But there is never any good reason why anyone should put life on pause. New hurdles and circumstances will come up all the time. The power lies in our attitude and way of thinking.
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