For the past 10 minutes, I have been rearranging my desk drawers. Do my pens need to be where my paperclips were? Nope. I did this because I find that my ability to concentrate on ‘brainy’ tasks, such as work that I do from home these days, has taken a hit. How about you?
Welcome to the ‘New Normal’. Brought to you by Covid-19 et al.
Even if we do not physically have this virus, we are all carrying a viral load that we cannot unload.
We have been thrown off-center…together. We are coping with similar concerns…together.
Everyone I help has voiced concern about the changes they notice in themselves. Why are they less able to keep on task when self-discipline has been a strength? Why do their bodies feel like it is set on low vibrate all the time? Why are they fatigued? Why does it feel like they are walking through molasses? This is abnormal! What is wrong with me? This is my reply.
Nothing. Nothing is ‘wrong’ with you, except that the changes in the world are cascading on us with the force of a waterfall weeping in distress so that we feel drenched.
Your new state of mind may be disconcerting and even scary, but you are still you and your capacities are still within you. They have just been derailed for a bit because today:
Abnormal is the New Normal
Here are tips for coping:
Be compassionate with yourself: What would you say to a friend in need of consolation? You would probably tell them that anybody would have trouble being at the top of their game when there are so many difficulties in our lives. How can you expect not to be influenced by this? We all lose our footing at times like these, so anything you can do is perfect. Say this to yourself!
Relax your expectations: Concentration is often the first thing to get rattled when we are under threat, and this is just that. We easily get distracted. This is anxiety talking. Break down tasks into steps. If you have a work project or paperwork to process, break it up into smaller pieces, then stretch, or look at something amusing. Laughter is medicine.
Speaking of laughter: Make space for humor and let yourself laugh, or at least smile. There are many short funny recordings to watch online when you need quick relief from overwhelm. Curl up with a humorous book or movie or share jokes with a friend on the phone or media. Laughter brings us relief and pleasure. It also brings oxygen into our blood which keeps us healthy.
Limit how much time you engage with difficult news and Facebook dissension: Yes, we want to be informed, but we don’t need to get battered by it. When we get caught in a loop of fear, frustration, and anger, we become reactive without realizing it. We are traumatized and reactivity is a hallmark of it. It is hard to step away when venting feels relieving. But we don’t want to embed these feelings in our bodies.
Keep yourself on a schedule: Get up and go to sleep around the same time each day. This will help your brain balance and your body will get used to being consistent. We will all have nights when we just can’t or just don’t want to go to sleep. Perhaps staying up late and reading past your ‘bedtime’ may be a comfort for some, for others, it works out some excess energy, so do it judiciously.
For now: While I do not think it is possible to be unaffected by the physical, emotional, financial, political and spiritual ravaging that is unfolding before us: I firmly believe that we have everything it takes to thrive. At our core, we are glorious and resilient beings. We will learn. We will grow. We will shine.