On the 28th April, I woke up and instantly felt burnt out. Lockdown rock bottom. I am in no way affected by this virus in an overwhelming way; I’m not a key worker, I haven’t had any real symptoms, and my family hasn’t been affected. But I still feel hit by it.
As I wrote about in https://kulayrosas.com/2020/04/20/on-lockdown-and-loving-life/, lockdown was turning out to be great for my mental health. Well, what a change in just eight days. I’m trying to keep upbeat, and just let the feelings flow and the time pass, but the afternoons are hauntingly quiet. The naps I take are simply to kill time.
I am all for letting out my emotions, not bottling up feelings, and giving myself time and space to allow the thoughts to flow. But, there is always a point where you have to say enough is enough.
So today I am actioning a plan to help myself adapt to live more simply since the lockdown is calling for just that. These are personal aims and goals, designed by myself, for myself, to slow down my thoughts when my output is forced to slow down.
It’s funny what seems to come to me when I begin writing a blog post. I choose a topic that comes to mind, or inspired by something I have read, but then more seems to come to me. I don’t really believe in coincidence, I trust in God. But things like podcasts, live videos on Instagram, and magazine articles have come to me on this topic of a simpler life, and managing your emotional health in this season.
I’m switching off my phone more. Watching less TV and Netflix. Reading more. Listening to podcasts daily to inspire me and motivate me. I’m grounding myself in the Word. I’m connecting with my family, remotely with my grandparents, and in person with my parents and sister. This is making me feel much more fulfilled. It is a blessing.
LESSONS FROM A THERAPIST
I follow a therapist called Lisa Olivera on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/lisaoliveratherapy/, who shares the most helpful quotes on her feed. She partook in a live Instagram video last night with Arfa Brands and I just happened to come across it. Nine pages of notes later, I’m blown away. I’m full of inspiration and tips to share with my soul, and with you.
Olivera talked about processing stress, change, the unknown and transition. This period of all our lives is the unknown. We have transitioned suddenly into this season, without warning. It is an uncertain time and so many people are living in fear. The word uncertainty in French feels like a better way to express its meaning: l’incertitude. Pronounced: lan-cer-ti-tude.
Re-centering on what is certain in this time is important to practice. It isn’t going to come easy, and we have to accept that we can’t control what is coming. We must also accept that we have to work at a lesser capacity. We have to allow ourselves to do less and be less.
Our brains and our bodies are so deeply connected. Because of this interconnection, we hold mental tension in our bodies. That’s why we feel it, not just experience it. Heavy mental processes result in fatigue and exhaustion. Our nervous system is regulating our emotions and it’s in fact our bodies that protect us as a reaction to our mental processes. In these moments, we must thank our bodies, trust them. We must validate that it is hard, we must normalise that hardship.
Maybe that is just where you’re at right now.
Even if it’s not where you want to be.Lisa Olivera
Movement can be so therapeutic in this season. It is not only a release but some calm physical movement relieves the tension, even if only for a little while. Drink water, stay connected to people, and get fresh air. Nourish yourself from the outside in. Even a short walk a day can brighten your outlook and lift your mood. It’s good for the spirit and keeps the blood pumping.
Further to uncertainty is this: https://blog.youversion.com/2020/04/does-life-feel-out-of-control-remember-these-3-things/. This has helped me stand strong in my faith, and it cane to me today! – I told you, things come to me for blog posts just when I need them.
If you feel stuck in the unknown, it is important to take action.
- First forgive yourself.
- Resist the urge of planning to cope with the uncertainty.
- Confront the lack of control in this world.
- Normalise then fear.
- Explore how you want to hold yourself in and relate to the uncertainty.
- Don’t exacerbate the fear.
- Control how you spend the day, and how you talk to yourself.
Maybe we don’t know what is going to happen, but we can find presence in what can control right now.Lisa Olivera
The most interesting take-away from the live video was that our emotions only last about ninety seconds, if you don’t attach a story to them. Therefore by controlling our response to the emotion, we can stop it from taking over. Question the emotion rather than creating semantics for it. Come from a place of neutrality for the emotion, and a place of compassion for yourself.
All of this takes practice, and learning, and patience, and understanding. It is all worth it, and so important to pass on.