It is no secret life is a lot right now. We were already maxed out from the looming global pandemic and complete international shut down of everything and anything we knew.
Yet we adapted. We started working remotely and figured out how to home school our kids. Suddenly our garage or backroom became our home gym.
We all welcomed the end of 2020 and the start of a New Year. Whatever hope we had seemed overshadowed by the animalistic attack on our Capitol. I hold no political affiliation or party favor but watching people storm through the Rotunda was like a scene from an apocalypse movie.
Like everyone, whatever feeling of calm, I had collected with the end of a difficult holiday season vanished. Like everyone, I found myself caught up in the news on multiple networks with a variety of commentary.
When I finally turned off the television I was stressed, tired, and had lost hours of my life I would never get back. I sat on my couch and determined this had to stop. Yes, like everyone, I want to stay informed but catching every conversation and replays of the events was creating no value in my life.
It’s one more unexpected and inexplicable in a series of unexpected and inexplicable moments in this global trauma of which we are all in the midst.
As a trauma survivor and trauma recovery expert and coach, I had to check in with myself. My own PTSD kicked in and fear and despair started to creep into my mind. Fortunately, in my recovery and tools, I teach clients I was able to pretty quickly redirect my energy to the things I could manage in my little world.
Here are some ideas that have kept me moving, over the past hours and days.
Do you have a schedule?
This is not new information, however, keeping a routine has proven critical through the pandemic.
- Get up at the same time every day.
- Go to bed at the same time every day.
- Eat well.
Sugar, salt, and fat literally and figuratively weigh us down and clog our already taxed nervous systems.
WIN in the morning!
Success leaves clues. Winning in the morning is how we set up our day.
Do you have a morning routine? Take some time to get quiet and set your goals or intentions. For me, this is chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and studying some positive encouragement. I am not a naturally peppy or positive person. I have been deemed cynically optimistic. It takes some work to get my life condition high enough to take on everything swirling around these days. Starting my day with focused intention helps me not be swayed by whatever is going on around me.
Turn off the notifications?
In my online coaching program “Transform Trauma to Triumph”, I invite participants to turn off the notifications. Other than immediate needs like children or health-related issues do we REALLY need to know when somebody posts an opinion on Facebook or when CNN decides there is breaking news? The answer is probably NO. I too have found social media a helpful tool for staying connected during this isolating time. To that note, I give myself a specific amount of time to scroll Facebook or send notes to friends. When the timer goes off I shut it down. The same question arises. Is this obsessive scrolling making feel better and/or creating value in my life right now?
What are we posting?
In my opinion, and perhaps part of the bigger issue is that opinion and emotion is somehow now translated as ‘fact.’ I am all for venting, but I now PAUSE and ask: ‘Will this add to the discourse or spread hope?’ As much as I want to rant on Facebook, I have personally chosen to only post positive ideas and thoughts. If we want to read the news it is at our access.
Turn off the news!
As for the hours I lost watching the news I simply had to turn it off and find a new activity. I have a house full of books I want to read. I got on my mat and did some stretching. I did the dishes. I played with my cat Sadie. Taking care of these simple tasks improved my mood immensely.
Being home all day, every day has proven an interesting challenge on how to keep moving. I am learning that small moments make a huge difference.
- Stand up and stretch for two minutes.
- Do a few pushups, sit-ups, or jog in place.
- Go for a walk around the block, down the driveway, or around your complex.
- And for sure DANCE! Do your own Victory Dance and Dance Because You Can!
Oxygen is a healing force, and a little bit goes a long way. I am realizing I can stay in decent shape without the crazy amounts of time in the gym. Find an online workout video or podcast. Moving is a natural endorphin boost and stress reliever.
As a woman in trauma recovery, I am hard-wired to live in a state of panic waiting for the other shoe to drop. Can you relate? I am working to reprogram my thinking and know this moment will not last forever. Some days I focus on an hour at a time. Keep it simple.
Yes, it completely sucks right now. Yes, I am grieving in my heart that people can be so disrespectful of each other as fellow human beings. Despite deep issues and political differences, I do not understand what value is created by attempting to take over congressional offices, and have intent to kidnap or kill our civil servants and their staffers.
I do know as an SGI Buddhist values can be created from any circumstance. I have tried to implement this idea in my own life after I was crushed by a New York City bus.
Buddhist scholar Nichiren Daishonin writes:
“When great evil occurs, great good follows” (“Great Evil and Great Good,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1119). We determined that the only way to eradicate this evil was to strengthen the forces of good and widely propagate Nichiren Buddhism in our community. We resolved to become an oasis of courage and hope and fulfill our mission to advance the ideals of Buddhist humanism, which uphold and protect the sanctity of all life.
On a daily, sometimes hourly basis, I ask myself, what can I do to stay productive and positive? Let us focus on what we CAN control. At the end of the day, it’s our most significant tool.