How are you doing? No, how are you really doing? How are things going for you mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, financially? What are you noticing?
We have all endured the collective trauma of Covid-19. Whether you are (or were) self employed, lost a business, began to work from home, in a relationship or realized you didn’t want to be in the one you were in… nearly everyone was impacted in some significant way.
Covid gave us many lessons. Some were valuable while others were just a bitter pill to swallow.
Seeing how our collective and individual worlds could be turned upside down so quickly, shook many of us to our core. Most people function best by routine. Generally, we humans like predictability. It provides us with a sense of continuity, stability and security.
In the absence of that, many do not feel or function well. This explains why so many suffered through such turbulent times.
Were you someone who suffered with depression and /or anxiety prior to the pandemic? What did you notice during the pandemic? How about now? Depression and anxiety go together about 70% of the time, so if you are plagued with one you are likely also challenged with the other.
Perhaps you lost a loved one to Covid. If you are allowing yourself to grieve and experience the pain of the loss- something we mental health professionals recommend since stuffing all those feelings typically does not end well- than you are likely still in a season of grief.
The Live Well Kitsap team recently had a lively discussion sharing our experiences as well as what we are noticing when interacting with others.
While many businesses have opened doors again, masks have largely returned to the confines of the medical professions, and nightly dinner conversations no longer center around the pros and cons of Covid vaccines, what is lurking beneath all the outward “business as usual” is a throng of troubled, hurting, humans who are dealing with some really difficult things.
And yet…even with so much individual and collective suffering, sadly, we still see all the judgement and condemnation happening all around us.
Our one collective hope- that a worldwide tragedy would lead us to compassion for ourselves and others- seems still elusive for too many.
So, if you are ready and willing to take a deeper dive with yourself and tune inwardly to answer the question, how are you really doing, then read on. Our hope is you will get honest with yourself as you uncover some insights and begin to make your own health and healing a priority.
Here are some ideas of ways we can get through the recovery period with less stress and more ease, peace and joy.
1. TAKE THE TIME TO PAUSE DAILY AND CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF. One of the ways we do this is by engaging in doing a body scan. Starting at the top and working your way down, begin to notice one body part at a time, and without judgement, what sensations you are experiencing or noticing. Your shoulders for example may feel heavy, or you may notice your jaw is tight, or your gut feels empty, or in knots or tense. Without judging any of that, just simply notice. Your body will give you clues of what to pay attention to if you will only stop and listen.
2. WHEN YOU NOTICE PLACES OF TENSION OF DISTRESS, STOP AND TEND TO THOSE PLACES. So perhaps in your deeper dive you notice you feel stressed out, or that your gut feels tense. Stop, pause and take some deep breaths. Imagine yourself breathing deeply into those specific parts of you that were getting your attention. Remind yourself as you breathe that you notice the tension and you are ready to feel calm.
3. ENGAGE IN JOURNALING DAILY. This is an incredible therapeutic tool to actually get in touch with some of those thoughts and feelings that are in there, that you have shoved way down. Even those that often share “I don’t know what to write about”, find their pen moving at a swift pace once they paused and made time to do this.
4. PRACTICE ACTS OF SELF CARE DAILY. Far too many people have convinced themselves that partaking in any self care activities is selfish. Many people, women in particular, struggle with this due to the messages received growing up (or watching their mothers) give and do for others to the point of exhaustion. It is absurd and unhealthy to think you can give others the gift of your time, energy, patience and loving kindness when you are walking around feeling like you are hanging by the end of your proverbial rope. Replenish. Rejuvenate. Relax. Make time. You need it and deserve it.
5. START HONEST AND MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS AT HOME AND AT WORK.
If you are challenged by the fallout of the pandemic and do not yet feel like you have solid footing yet, see if you can identify specifically how that is affecting you. Share with your family. Let them know where you are struggling. Ask questions of your partner or spouse, your kids and the people in your workplace. If you are suffering and challenged in some areas, there is a pretty solid chance that you are not alone. This can make it feel safe for others to take a risk and share their experiences also. Only then can we lead ourselves and others toward compassion.
We have all lived through something that none of us had prior experience with.
Often times when something difficult or challenging happens, we can lean into prior experience from a similar past event. The pandemic did not allow for that.
Many of us derive resilience from remembering our strengths and noticing how we got through a previously tough time. We were all newbies in the same boat paddling through unknow territory in the last 3 years, without a guide or a map to a known destination.
The next time you notice you are feeling out of sorts, a little stressed, or still struggling with issues you had prior and during the pandemic, cut yourself some slack, meet yourself (and others) with a larger helping of compassion, and notice the difference in the outcome.