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Finding Your Focus in Difficult Times

Tips to gently restructure your focus through COVID-19 - Based on experiences from the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I am locked-down in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for a second time. 

My mind races back to familiarity. It’s a little less than a year since we locked-down for Easter Sunday bombings. I recollect blasts of news, paralyzing fear, and a deep drowning grief.  Yet, life called for continuity. In a blur, we struggled through house chores and work. The usual norm felt heavy – its not what we wanted to do.  Our heart’s longed to be elsewhere – tuning to the news, sharing the grief, and hugging our loved ones.

Almost a year later, I grapple with similar fears and uncertainties, but now with COVID-19. Anxiety takes over.  Focus disappears.  Yet again, deadlines at work loom ahead and I must adjust work and home to this new norm. As I struggle, my mind brings back a few things that helped me focus in that gloomy April of 2019.

If you feel unfocused, yet must work from home and balance a million things, then perhaps these may help you to gently reconstruct that fragmented focus, as it did for me.

Allow yourself time to adjust

It takes time to adjust to a new norm.  Particularly when it dawns upon in full force. It takes some longer than the others to adjust.  Key is to be patient and kind to yourself and keep expectations at bay. It’s OK to feel anxious and scattered – accept these feelings as these are trying times. Allow your body and mind to find its way.  Be conscious to your daily experiences.  Make note of what works.  Love and explore the novelty in your non-routine existence.  There’s beauty in your daily chaos. If there’s chaos with your loved ones – then you still have them to hold.

Listen deeply to your heart

Set aside some quiet time to listen deeply to your heart.  Hear the anxiety, pain, joy, peace – whatever the truth that dwells in you.  Accept it without resistance. Get to know yourself at this inner most level. Listen deeply with compassion and love. Let go judgment. This may provide a sense of calm, fulfillment, and at times an inner wisdom or intuition to guide you through these changes. If you are a busy mom struggling with time, then try adding an extra 5 to 10 minutes to your shower time to connect deeply to your heart. 

Reduce work hours

If possible, reduce some work hours – even if it’s just half hour.  Even better, take a day off.  Grappling through tough realities drain mental and physical energy.  So, work may feel like an additional burden on a depleted mind. Be kind to yourself, reduce work hours where possible.  This will allow more space to pause as you juggle between life and work.

Connect with Nature

Nature is a healer, whether it’s a house plant, the endless sky, a starlit night, a drop of rain, the morning breeze, or a top of a tree. Doesn’t matter whether you have just a window, a bathroom window, a balcony, deck, yard space – whatever the portal is, it will deliver you to this beautiful natural world. Connect from your heart – give your all – be one with nature, and you will feel it ease your burden.

Share your feelings and release judgement

Share your joys and sorrows and communicate from your heart. Your joys will light up another’s day – whether it’s a smiling picture, a joke from a funny movie. Spread the joy and let it inspire.

Let out your sorrows with honesty.  Allow someone to hear you out. And listen deeply to others without judgement, for their journeys are unique and they have stumbled and achieved in their own way (not in your way). Create a network of conscious, kind, and honest connections.

Pray and spread kindness

Prayer, regardless of who you pray to, is calming and often aids to direct focus to the object of your prayer.  It can transport you back to the present moment – the moment of your prayer – released from the past and free from the future. In these difficult times spread kindness through your prayers and pray for all.

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