Many people across the United States are feeling an overwhelming sense of uncertainty and anxiousness about what’s to come. In the midst of being stuck at home to maintain good social distancing, many of us find ourselves on social media more now than ever before. We try not to, but how can we stop? We loathe the unknown and find comfort in predictability and routine. Unfortunately, only time will tell what’s going to happen and we have no choice but to cope with it.
As I sit here typing this, my mind wanders. I think of the children who are missing out on meals because schools across the nation are closed. I think of parents who cannot work because their child’s daycare closed, senior citizens who are going hungry because their local Meals on Wheels is temporarily not delivering and nurses who are doing their best to take care of the sick without exposing themselves and bringing it home to their families.
When I go to the store I see people filling their carts with several weeks’ worth of toiletries, mothers concerned because there isn’t a package of baby wipes left on the shelf and diabetics who can’t purchase the rubbing alcohol needed for their insulin injections because it’s been nabbed by people wanting to make their own hand sanitizer. Is ambiguity triggering a fear response, causing irrational thinking and bringing out the natural survival instinct in us?
Covid-19, frightening stuff, right? It’s difficult to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, but in this time of crisis, it’s important we each take steps to be as balanced and as happy as we can be. Doing so will not only help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, but it will also help you to think about and plan for what happens next. With any luck, we’ll all take something positive away from this experience.
What does it mean to be balanced? To me, being balanced means feeling like I have a handle on most of the facets of my life. It means being able to think clearly, being grounded, feeling like my heart and mind are on an even playing field and having direction and motivation.Having balance is not easy, but to me, it starts with happiness and happiness can be achieved in many ways.
One way to find happiness is to help others. It not only makes us feel happy knowing we’ve made somebody else happy, but it helps to build stronger communities and build lasting relationships.
Take time for yourself: Admit it, we all get run down and need to recharge. Make time for “you” time. Wake up a little bit early each morning and enjoy a cup of coffee before the rest of your family wakes up, or stay up a half-hour later than normal and read a chapter of your favorite book. Don’t feel guilty, give it a try – you deserve it!
Connection: Find that person or thing that keeps you motivated, focused, encourages and supports you in trying times and latch on. Whether it’s a friend or loved one you can confide in or a vigorous exercise work out that alleviates your stress, connect.
Celebrate: Celebrating not only your own successes but the success and achievements of others is gratifying. Who doesn’t like a celebration, right?
Occasionally step out of your comfort zone: Shake things up a bit by stepping away from your norm. By doing this, it’ll give your brain a chance to form new connections. Now, I’m not telling you to go sky diving or knife throwing, but to go ahead and try something different. You might find a new hobby or make new friends along the way.
Relax more: We all get caught up in something – our work life, family, events, social media, etc. Take more time to relax, whether it’s baking, cleaning, catching up on books, movies, or podcasts, do what relaxes you and love it!
I hope the suggestions above help you find balance and happiness during a time when the world is blinded with uncertainty. Some say life is similar to a casino in that it’s full of calculated and uncalculated bets. I say, bet on your happiness and hopefully, the rest of your life will fall into play.