|The last couple of years have pretty much been “one damn thing after another.” A virus which started small and grew into a world-wide horror show. A mutation. Another mutation. Some more mutations. Vaccines. Vaccine Apartheid. Anti-Vaxxers…
All against the backdrop of various other disasters. Droughts. Wildfires. Floods. Unemployment. Famine. Wars. Insurrections…
It’s been like playing a giant, global game of whack-a-mole.
We have been exposed to so much all-round-awfulness that the only way many of us have managed to keep on keeping on is by blunting our emotions. We have built a kind of psychic armour that allows us to pick ourselves up and get back to work after bereavements, disappointments, disease, disillusionments, horror and dread. The going has been tough, and we have all toughened up and kept going.
The problem with auto pilot, though, is that when we block out the bad, we also block out the good. We don’t feel felled by grief and anxiety the way we might have in the olden days (when we had the luxury of time and space to process our emotions), but we also don’t feel buoyed up by happiness, joy or satisfaction.
Moving through life in a switched-off state may feel self-protective, but it can also be impoverishing. We miss out on the richness of everyday joys: conversations and connections, pride in our achievements, satisfaction in sensory delights.
Of course, we must continue to manage the challenging feelings to ensure that they do not overwhelm us. Interestingly, one of the best ways we can do that is to counterbalance them with uplifting ones.
Here are some ideas to reintroduce some cheer into your life:
- Pay mindful attention to – and actively seek out – things that feel good and that make you feel good. (Chocolate, a good book, a warm bath…maybe even reading a good book while eating chocolate in a warm bath.)
- A few times a day stop everything and identify something in your surroundings that is uplifting. (The feeling of the sun on your skin, the sound of birds, the smell of coffee, the taste of your lunch, the view out your window.)
- End every day by identifying all the things that you are proud of yourself for managing that day. (From getting out of bed and brushing your teeth to landing a new contract, making someone smile or cooking a delicious meal – notice and appreciate all your accomplishments.)
I’d love to hear how you are balancing the bad with the good in your own life.
It has been a(nother) particularly challenging time, especially for us in South Africa. But it really isn’t all bad – the vaccines numbers are going up, the case numbers are coming down, Spring is coming and so is hope.
Stay warm, stay safe and stay in touch with your joy.
Until September (and Spring),