Facing our problems head-on and controlling our livelihoods could be easy…
We like to live with schedules. It gives us the control over what needs to be done and what obligations we have. Schedules provide structure so that our time is productive. Schedules, too, provide a sense of certainty and predictability. When these elements are eliminated or significantly reduced, how does it affect you? You can feel confused, disoriented, and unable to manipulate your current surroundings. With less control, one may feel quite anxious and ungrounded. The state of the world has created this sense of uncertainty. We do not know how the pandemic will play out in certain areas. We are not sure if the economy will recover. We wonder if we will be able to travel abroad again. So many questions; too little answers. What do you do in these uncertain times?
You may not have much control over these global situations, but you can still have control over your own livelihood: how you react to these overwhelming world conditions and the care of your mental and emotional state.
1. Stress, Anxiety & Depression
Stress, anxiety, and depression have been common responses to the current circumstances that we are all dealing with. These are natural reactions, but they do not have to become long-lasting feelings. Nor do they have to overtake your desired state of contentment and ease. If you have experienced a loss of employment or have been furloughed from your job, how did that affect your daily schedule? The disruption may have initially made you feel upset and sad. You were uncertain how long this would last for you. One way to begin dealing with this change to your work schedule is to design and practice a new schedule that better suits your current conditions.
If you had the luxury to continue working from home, create a regimen that reflects the fact that you are still going to work. Get up, shower, get dressed, have breakfast, and "go to work." Yes, that may simply mean you are taking a seat at your kitchen table with a laptop and proceeding to answer emails, write documents, and have live conference calls. The idea is to simulate the fact that you are still going to work, but without leaving the house. It can be easy to remain unkempt and in your pajamas, but this may blur the lines of home life and work life. Having this separation keeps you in control of the situation. As result, you'll feel more productive at the end of the day; you'll feel good about yourself knowing you made progress, had an accomplishment, and feel successful.
2. Create Successes in Your Daily Routines
Check your responses to external events. Anger and frustration suppress feelings of being in control. They undermine your desire to feel happy and productive. If you are able to observe the negative thoughts and feelings arise within you, take the opportunity to turn those energies around. Acknowledge your reaction, they, too, are valid feelings. But instead of allowing them to fester inside of you, take action. Change your thought to something positive, physically move your body. It is a good way to shake off those negative feelings. In essence, you're taking control of the situation. More specifically, your handling your own reaction to a situation. This is an effective way to cope with things beyond your control.
3. Write it Down
Your head can get so full of thoughts that it becomes very overwhelming. With a continuous stream of ideas, worries, and problems running through your mind, it is hard to fuss. You find that it even restricts you from even taking any action on any of those free-floating thoughts. You'd rather retreat and hide than deal with the feelings you have inside. A way to unload those burdens is to get those thoughts out of your head. Write down your thoughts and feelings. Grab a piece of paper or a journal to jot down what's going through your head. It doesn't even need to make sense; the idea is to remove the distracting thoughts from your consciousness so you can clear your head and feel more focused. Notice the release of tension from your whole body when you simply write down the words that seem to be plaguing your mind.
4. Take Care of Yourself
This is extremely important. You must have reliable and healthy resources available to you that act as distractions from the negative energies. They can be accessed when you're in the midst of feeling anxious and overwhelmed. They can also be used as preventative measures: they help to stave away those disappointing. circumstances. It's like taking a multivitamin before you catch a cold. The vitamins may actually help to prevent the cold or if you do catch one, you'll fight it off faster. Engage in activities that are appealing to you.
Choose things that you already enjoy. These may be hobbies or other pastimes that make you feel good. Perhaps you enjoy jogging, reading, or listening to music. Whatever it is, be sure to add these activities to your "daily to-do-list." These are the things that ultimately help you manage the hard stuff that comes your way. Your mind and body will be better prepared for the unpredictable circumstances. And with the way things are going, that is probably a daily occurrence. Better to feel armed and ready to take charge then feel like you have to surrender to the unpleasant events.
5. Stillness & Meditation
A very good way to feel more in control of your thoughts and reactions to these uncertain times is to start a meditative practice. Meditation allows your mind and body to come to stillness and release tension that circulates through you. This type of exercise can seem intimidating at first, especially if you've never meditated before. But it can be very simple; the main action is to sit still, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. That's it! Breath is the foundation of most meditative practices. It only takes a few minutes to stop what you're doing, take a seat in a quiet space, and listen to the sound of your breath. Taking slow deep breaths takes your full attention, thereby diverting the nagging stressful thoughts. Try adding this to your new daily schedule, too.
When you find yourself lost in the wake of uncertainty and you're not sure how to regain control, turn to these suggestions as a way to monitor and remove the thoughts and feelings that accompany stress. You will experience in a short period of time a return to balance, ease, and certainty that you've created in your own livelihood.
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