Hope Amidst Fear and Futility: The world is kind of shitty right now.
With a pandemic killing people worldwide, with political polarization at an all-time high, with confusion and panic, with sickness and death, there is a lot to deal with. Add the ingredients of depression and anxiety to that mix and you have a recipe for disaster.
To do the right thing and allow the hospitals and health officials catch up, we stayed in, hunkered down, as my grandmother used to say, and did our part to flatten the curve. As areas begin open up again, there is a varied degree of excitement, frustration, fear, anger, disappointment, you name it. The constant flood of negative information from the media can cause us to feel more restless, fearful or angry. Regardless of what side of the fence you sit on or what your personal views are, it is hard.
The sense that it all could be pointless or sense that it will never end, can cause us to feel panicked and as though things are futile. But we don’t have to feel hopeless or depressed. We may not have any power over what is going on in the world, but we do have power over our own reactivity.
In order to help us remain calm and to focus on the positive, we need to have action. Not just eating, watching tv and drinking type of action, or rather non-action. I am referring to being productive. The act of doing something, anything, can help. Back to the basics seems simple yet employing these actions can be paramount to creating better feelings about the life we are living today.
One of the most basic things is sleep hygiene. Not sleeping so much that you are missing out on the day, and not staying up all night binging on Netflix. Instead a regular nighttime routine, even though our daily routine is far from regular, promotes a sense of normalcy. Human connection is also integral to feeling better.
Although many of us are with our families 24/7, sometimes that is too much, in fact, the divorce rate has greatly increased during quarantine/isolation. Yet if you are alone, that can be too little. Reach out to other friends and do video calls or virtual parties. We all need to communicate with others on a daily basis. Having friends to talk to also allows us to realize we aren’t alone and sharing stories and feelings is a great way to feel some relief.
Exercising your body and mind is also a huge way to shift your outlook. Even if you deplore working out, you will feel better after you are done. If you can meditate or journal and have some form of introspection it is also healthy. Reading or learning about a new topic or skill or language or study can instill a sense of evolving.
Additionally, having a creative outlet can get your mind off of things. Whether you have the next Picasso brewing inside you, or you become the DIY Queen/King, or you give Rachel Ray a run for her money – nurturing creative hobbies can provide a sense of accomplishment which always makes us feel better. Creative outlets are therapeutic.
Whatever works for you, do it. But do it with gusto. Find your best self-inside of you and focus on it. And above all stay healthy.