I was passing beside my colleague in the hallway today. I asked a typical ‘How is your day looking today?’ morning greeting.
‘It’s a bit of a heavy day today,’ She replied, honestly. ‘My clients today are really struggling.’ She paused for a moment. ‘So many of my clients are struggling right now,’ she shared with a heavy heart.
All I could do was offer her space and acknowledge the realities of our pandemic world. ‘It is hard right now, so many people are struggling.’
We talked about if someone has a slightly rocky foundation pre-covid, the whole foundation seems to be like an earthquake right now. Unsteady, unpredictable, unfamiliar, and unknown. It’s scary to not know how to make sense of one’s world.
Many people are experiencing higher than their “typical” levels of anxiety. My understanding is that there are a few significant contributing factors to this. Firstly, we are living in a world with constantly changing rules, regulations, and safety. Secondly, we aren’t able to care for ourselves in ways we typically would.
A great antidote to anxiety is routine, regularity, planning, and having a sense of control/safety over one’s own life. All those things have gone out the window in this pandemic!
We might have a semblance of routine, or have created a new routine. Perhaps we are even lucky enough to be able to still work in our place of work. However, so many things are still different. We are less able to plan into the future because the future is uncertain and having a sense of control or safety in the world changes from person to person and day-to-day. Our lives as we knew them pre-pandemic are incredibly different now, for the vast majority of us.
Additionally, we aren’t able to care for ourselves as we did pre-pandemic in terms of our social lives and hobbies. Perhaps we loved a certain pottery club, or a fitness space, or going to the movies, or traveling to see loved ones. Perhaps we loved having people over for dinner, going out for dinner, or going to the pool with ease. All the things we used to do with a sense of ease now come with restrictions, regulations, and barriers to access them.
Does it not make sense in an uncertain world, where we aren’t able to provide ourselves with the same levels of comfort we once did, that our anxiety is going to be higher? This is a perfect mix to increase anxiety.
So what do we do about it?
At present, I think it is important to acknowledge the difficulties and move towards accepting we will do the best we can and that is all we can do! We are living in uncertainty and if we look for certainty, we will likely cause more distress for ourselves and our internal systems.
Embrace the opportunity to change up your routine and engage with different activities.
Get creative and stretch your comfort zone!
Ensure you are connected to your trusted people either through outdoor walks, video calls, or the good old-fashioned phone call.
This is a time where we can band together and support each other so let’s do that.
Lastly, practice some self-compassion!
You have never done this before and most of our living world has not lived through a pandemic before. Let’s have compassion for ourselves, for our humanness, and let’s see the humanness in others.