A Brave New World?
As we ‘celebrate’ finding normalcy, see our friends and family more, return to activities we missed for the last fifteen-months, and have freedom to travel again, why are we feeling so stressed?
The struggle is real.
Navigating the eager return to ‘real-life’ while simultaneously feeling left behind is a challenge, having to ‘catch up’ with our lives that were on hold for the last year. Somewhat suddenly we are ‘free’ and have to quickly adjust to what that means, incorporating some of the positive lessons we learned about ourselves and the world.
How do you reconcile the aspects that were enjoyable in the last year while wanting life to return to the way we knew it? Can we merge the calmer, more deliberate moments with the renewed frenzy to do everything we have been missing? The mix of inertia and hyperactivity is an unexpected byproduct of returning to the world, and there are a few things we can do to mitigate the confusion through these uncharted waters.
Stay Present: If we focus on the here and now, our brain is less likely to be hijacked by ruminating on the unknown future or past concerns. Staying in the present, by focusing on our five senses and trying to be mindful is a practice that takes discipline, but you will be calmer the more often you try it.
Pick Your Practice: Some of us surf, cook, do yoga or see friends when stressed. Others may meditate, read or do something creative. Do what works for you since coping mechanisms are not universal.
Channel Your Energy: Do something that is personally meaningful for others and be sure to include yourself. We are a type-A culture that has feelings then judges our feelings, more than past generations ever have, so be easy on yourself. Being kind and helpful to someone else that may be struggling is a gentle reminder to treat yourself that way.
Remember the Basics: Our baseline wellness starts with simple daily adjustments. Having an adequate amount of sleep each night, exercising, drinking plenty of water, consuming non-processed foods, staying connected to friends and doing something you enjoy each day are small alterations with big rewards.
Gratitude: We know that finding something at the end of each day that we are grateful for leads to long term, positive adjustments in our mood. Another technique to try is known as the 5-4-3-2-1 approach; find five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell and one you can taste. This brings you back to being mindful and you may find yourself taking a few deep breaths in the process. A bonus when trying to find your way back into this new world again.