Staying Present in Pressing Times
Anxiety is very present in lots of people, while the world is dealing with COVID-19, which is 1000% understandable. Everything is changing rapidly and people are having challenges with settling into life. Many changes are unfolding right before our eyes making it extremely important that we stay present. Being present basically means staying in the here and the now. Specifically, being mindful, conscious and aware of what is happening in and around you. Typically, if your mind is stuck in the past you may find yourself feeling depressed or sad thinking of what was, what used to be, all wrapped up in what I call the “shouda, coulda, woulda” land.
If your mind is stuck in the future you’re most likely feeling anxious, thinking about “what if this or what if that” happens. Oftentimes imagining and envisioning the worst case or catastrophic scenario. The reason why both past and future spaces can be problematic is because we have zero control over what happened in our past and little control over what will happen in our future.
The present is the only space where we are graced the opportunity to control what is within our control. Sometimes that looks like surrendering our control, but at least we have the ability to do so.
Below are a few questions accompanied with a few tips on staying present.
1. Be Present
How long will this last? When will things go back to “normal”? I think we all would love to have the answer to those questions. I think the bigger question is what is normal for you? Or, what does your new normal look like? If you are hesitant about settling into a schedule because you are anticipating that nothing will go back to the way it was, this may or may not ever happen. In this time, we must recognize the only thing constant is change. The sooner we are comfortable with this rapidly changing environment, the less we will struggle with what was. Instead of focusing on getting back to normal focus on the now.
2. Be Responsive
We may ponder, what if I get sick? Being responsive requires you to not be reactionary. Of course, we hope that we and our families are not exposed to the virus, so we must consider the following: Are we present in this moment? Are we doing everything in our power to keep ourselves safe? If the answer is yes, then you are doing all you can possibly do. A benefit of fear is it can serve as an avenue to help us practice and prepare. If you are concerned then create a plan of safety for you and your family. This isn’t to be irrational, but makes it easier on you and your family to follow steps and procedures versus in a crisis mode. Do you learn how to administer CPR when someone is drowning? No, you learn before, ensuring you are prepared if that situation arises.
3. Be Focused
How do I manage everything? This can be tough because some individuals went from managing everything to managing EVERRRYTHING! This means, you are now the momma, the teacher, the cook and the landscaper. This can be a chance for you to find areas to delegate. If you realize you can only do one thing at a time, it is more likely going to increase your anxiety around what needs to be done. What would happen if you just focused on one thing at a time? How does that feel? If you feel extremely overwhelmed you are more likely looking at too much of your situation. You may benefit from taking a snap shot or working on a piece at a time.
4. Be Real
How do I talk with my children about COVID-19 when I’m scared too? This is a great teachable moment. You can communicate to your children that it is ok to be scared. Also, to mirror how you navigate fear. Trying to act like you are feeling something that you aren’t isn’t suggested. Communicating your concerns without freaking out can be helpful. You can develop a strategy to engage with your children to process fear. Just because you are the strong one doesn’t mean you are immune to having human emotions. You can be strong with emotions. You, can also be strong and scared.
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