Feeling scattered, strained and stretched-thin? It’s not you, it’s the universe. We’re living in unparalleled times, and I find I often have to remind myself that I am neither defined nor controlled by these feelings and impressions that are swirling around my mind. For many of us, this global pandemic has brought with it a few “firsts.” Perhaps you are a healthcare worker and this is the first time you’ve ever been challenged to care for 40 patients in one day, or maybe you are a parent spearheading your first homeschool session with three needy children buzzing in your ears between Zoom meetings; or maybe, you’ve never really felt anxiety before, and are feeling frustrated with your mind’s innate response of confusion, irritability and mental paralyzation. No matter what you identify as — a nurse, a father, a friend, an employee, a mentor — we are all navigating uncharted waters. And while the world shifts focus, remind yourself that it’s okay to do the same.
As the days float by, rather than fixating on what distinguishes the “new norm” from the “old norm,” channel your energy and talents towards more constructive and gratifying behaviors.
Shake up your routine and do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Whether that means sitting in on a virtual workshop you’ve been putting off, finding a therapist for the first time or calling an old friend that crossed your mind — stop thinking, and just do it. You’ll not only feel fulfilled by the completion of a new activity, but you’ll be rewarded with feelings of accomplishment that directly fuel your next doing.
Turn fear into fuel. Feelings of anxiety and helplessness come from loss of control and power. Rather than wallowing in doom and gloom, channel your spirits to empower and support others. Write a letter to thank the professionals at your local hospital, if you’re running to the grocery store, offer to pick up some supplies for your elderly neighbor, or simply share your favorite quarantine reads and recipes with a friend. The littlest things often fill the deepest voids, and you’ll restore hope and faith in humanity while you’re at it.
Widen your lens to see the bigger picture, while you adjust focus. Sometimes we fall into such a structured regimen and we assume our work-life habits, tendencies and happenings are set in stone. My company — a global experiential marketing agency that works on digital and hybrid events (which was previously quite reliant on in-person physical experiences) — is currently shifting strategy to champion a virtual-first business approach as we humbly adapt to these ever-changing lifestyles. And I’m reminding myself how quickly things changed, and how swiftly we’ve all adjusted our worlds to keep up. Everything is temporary, so we are working towards the next revolution while we brave this storm (ever wonder what comes after virtual reality? Watch this space…).
Clean home, clear dome. Ever notice how put-together your life feels when you clean out your closet? Once you get past the initial dread of putting in the effort, a clean space can do wonders for mental clarity. Double points if you organize the 500 Word documents and Powerpoints on your desktop too!
Set intentions for your day and stick to them. Starting the morning on a positive note is key for a happily structured day. You can try journaling, meditating or reading a book. Use your calendar to plan out your day, but be kind to yourself – you may not have always ticked everything off your to-do list, but remember there is always tomorrow.
Take a break and move your body. Exercise is a crucial part of your daily routine — you’re hearing this from all angles, but are you listening? It’s easy to melt into the couch after a long day of quarantine, but stagnation will sever your soul and crumble your capabilities. Put breaks in your calendar, use emojis as ‘away’ statuses on Slack and do whatever you have to to get your limbs in motion. It will make a difference.
Over-communicate. Whether you are working remotely from your apartment or at home passing the days with your family, we are all living in an unrivaled bizarre time and thus, thinking and feeling things we may have never thought and felt before. The way we interact with each other is based on a complex blend of personal experiences, invisible triggers and associations. Don’t assume that everyone is on the same wavelength you are — if you’re feeling a certain way or struggling to adapt to a virtual work life, let it be known. Clarity and constructive change are achieved through thorough communication.
If there’s one thing we can all hold true, it’s that there is no blanket solution to getting by — what works for some people doesn’t always work for others. If you feel stuck, try something new. If you feel drained and exhausted, take a break and a breather. You are in control of what your days ahead can look like. The world will keep spinning, but your mind doesn’t have to.