The past few months have been…interesting. It seems like everyone is weathering the same storm: we might all be in different boats, but we are dealing with some of the most turbulent changes many of us have experienced in our lifetime.
I was talking to a friend the other day, and we were both discussing why this time was so difficult. Yes, change is hard. But this seemed so much harder than normal change, and both of us were good at accepting change! We came to a single conclusion: this is extra hard because it feels like everything changed, and continues to change. The moving target of getting back to “normal,” what “normal” actually will be, our routines, our interactions, eating habits, sleeping habits – even our bills have changed over the past few months with many car insurance companies charging less or refunding premiums because people aren’t driving!
What a wild time.
No wonder we were spinning! Aside from leaning heavily on friends, family, and therapists, there are a few things you can do for yourself during this time of change when it feels like everything is in motion.
Focus on what is true and real now
One of the best bits of advice I’ve gotten from my therapist has helped me during this time immensely, and I’ll pass it along and save you a copay: focus on what is true at this moment. Ask yourself: what is real right now? What is true?
Do a quick diagnostic: for me, I am healthy, my family is healthy, my dogs are happy, my plants are growing, and I’m getting a decent amount of sleep for the first time in a very long time. What is true and real for you right now?
By grounding yourself in the present, you can start working away from worrying about the future.
Work on the what next, not the what next next
I see this a lot: people are worried about things that are multiple steps down the line. For those things to happen, other things need to happen. If they don’t, that farther down the line event won’t happen, or won’t happen in the same way that inspires the worry.
Stop thinking about the next NEXT and focus on the next: you can’t even begin to think about something that may or may not happen if you’re not connecting with the most immediate thing in front of you.
My grandmother used to say all the time: don’t borrow sorrow from tomorrow.
Concentrate on the things you can control
Now that we’ve (started) to ground our thoughts into reality, it’s time to focus on things you can control.
What are you 100% responsible for? Make a brief list of those things and start to do something about them! This is why a lot of people cut their hair during moments of change: it’s something you can control.
Aside from bangs (please don’t), you can zero in on the things you can control: maybe it’s a book you go to when you’re feeling lost or your favorite movie or a great yoga class. Do the things you can to regain that sense of stability in your life when everything is spinning around you.
Find your light
That book you go to or movie you turn on when you’re feeling lost? Tap that and find your light and familiar. Whenever I’m feeling particularly lost, I’ll either turn on or pull out my copy of “Devil Wears Prada” – it’s the one predictable movie and book that won’t make me cry, worry, feel too many feels – and will always make me laugh and feel great.
Whatever your light is, don’t underestimate the power of a good moment. Use it often, and if you have trouble figuring out what that light is, think about the last time you smiled so hard your face hurt. Start there.
And take care of yourself – always give grace.