Things have changed. Like, in the course of the last 2 weeks...our lives are dramatically changed. Some are temporary changes while others will be lasting.
As I talk to friends, family, neighbors, and clients one thing is for sure...people are feeling a bit stressed. They are stressed because they are cooped up at home. Stressed because the world is in crisis and thousands of people are dying. Stressed due to the economy. And stressed because of what many see as a high level of uncertainty (which one could argue things ARE certain in that this too shall pass). And stressed due to some people's total disregard for social distancing guidelines and what that might mean for others.
Yes, there are plenty of "stressful" things to focus on right now.
People are out of their normal routines. Routines are a source of comfort and security. And so many every-day routines have been disrupted. School. Sports. Eating out. Work environment. (Whether or not you even have work.) Worship services. Travel/vacations. Going to the gym. Even knowing we'll have what we need at the grocery store isn't certain these days. All of which affects our home life. Just about everything we do has been disrupted in some way.
It's understandable how and why this is stressful.
Ok, we're stressed. So...now what? What do I do with that? What's next?
I'm going to assume for a minute that you don't want to feel that way.
Yet - you can't really return to your routines as a means to relieve the stress - at least not yet.
So then...what else is available to you to relieve the stress?
The new normal is available.
New routines, procedures, protocols, and new ways of doing things are available to you right now. In fact, you're already doing things differently - even if only because you were forced or pressured.
The only shift you need to make to get out of stress (or any other negative emotion you may be experiencing)...is to look at those changes differently. What if you saw the gift in all the disruption of routine? What if you formed new expectations? Appreciated the new normal in some ways? Or held on to your ultimate outcomes and didn't see them as all-of-a-sudden impossible?
As soon as you see things as your new normal and let go of the prior rules of engagement, the quicker you can settle out of stress and into productivity (or whatever it is you DO want to feel).
My guess is you'd rather be productive than stressed. Productivity suggests progress, moving forward.
Being productive and making progress isn't an overnight magic pill but it is way better than indulgently wallowing in the stress.
There are many opportunities right in front of you. There is opportunity to adapt, which means you could (and probably will) come out stronger than ever. There is an opportunity to serve, which is deeply fulfilling. And there is an opportunity to get a taste of what working at home is like and whether or not you really like it. (Some do, some don't. It has its own set of challenges.) You can invest to take advantage of the eventual rise in markets.
This is a chance to learn and grow. Take this time to learn that foreign language you've been thinking about. Get closer to your kids as you home school them and spend more time with them in general - something so many people said they felt guilty about not doing a few weeks ago. Read the book on the shelf you've been meaning to read.
If nothing else, this pandemic gives us a chance to pause and give thanks for what we DO have and examine our priorities to see if we want to re-arrange them.
What do you need to now see as "normal," at least for now that would allow you to let go of some of your stress? What could you see as a benefit instead of as an interruption? What are you grateful for right now?
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