With all the current uncertainty and turmoil in the world, people are searching for answers; resulting in an increasing sense of overwhelm.
The lack of certainty & rising panic as a result of the things we are seeing; and some of the behaviours being displayed are enough to cause us all unrest. Recently I have been asked how I manage to remain positive despite the challenges life throws my way. I have been reflecting, and I have realised that when the situation gets tough; I handle it by choosing to take control of something I previously thought impossible, which now pales into insignificance in light of the new challenge. It gives me focus and is like a life raft to cling to in the stormy sea of my mind. I can’t control what’s going on outside so I am choosing to control what’s going on inside.
Too often, we focus on the fear of the what-if, the unknown and more importantly, the things we cant change. The truth is worrying won’t change anything; it will, however, change us.
It changes the way we behave and the way we look at the world. Take the current situation, while some people are focussing on the things in their control and looking to appreciate what they have. Others have been swept away by fear resulting in some tragic scenes of apparent selfishness fuelled by panic. I am sure we have all seen scenes we would rather forget of the poor bewildered old lady looking at empty shelves and wondering how she will feed herself, or the child thrown across the supermarket as the adults undertook a mad dash to get toilet rolls.
So how do we take back control, quieten the voice of fear and focus on our hopes for the future?
I have never been in this situation before, but I have faced my share of challenges from intensive care to divorce, miscarriage to affairs, life has presented me with plenty of plot twists. Throughout them, all the overarching feedback I get from people who meet me is, why are you so cheerful. How do you remain positive and robust?
Don’t get me wrong; these things take their toll; you have to acknowledge the uncertainty, the fear, and the hurt. You can’t ignore it you have to recognise it and then accept it.
Easy for me to say huh, but the truth is unless we accept it, we can’t move on and focus on our hopes.
My Top Tips for overcoming overwhelm:
- Acknowledge what is happening and how it’s making you feel. – Spend time thinking about the situation and try and view it from every angle.
- Understand the parts you either can’t change or can’t control. – Which bits are out of your control. For example, in the current situation, unless you are a scientist, a cure is out of your control. Getting the rest of the world to follow the guidelines to ensure we all stay safe, or getting people to stop stockpiling, so there is plenty for everyone is out of your control. Getting angry, anxious or frustrated by it will only serve to upset you it won’t make a material change to anything apart from your anxiety.
- Identify the things you can change and can control – You can ensure that you follow the guidelines, and so do your immediate family. You can be sensible and buy what you need and avoid the desire to stockpile. You can help others. You can use this moment of enforced rest to develop yourself, to learn a new skill, take up a hobby or do the things you never have time for before.
- Determine the actions you are going to take – Identify the things you want to do and commit to them. I am using the enforced pause to develop my coaching skills further and to launch an online group to share the knowledge I have already learnt to help others. I am also finally taking up exercise and have joined an online fitness group set up by my best friend to stay connected and stay fit.
- Take the next step – To quote Frozen 2 “Just do the next right thing.” that’s the problem with overwhelm we can lose ourselves in having to solve the whole issue when the reality is we need to take the next step. With every step, we change our position, and we change our view. The result is what was previously hidden to us comes into sight.
- Choose your Mindset – Perhaps the most important of them is to pick your mindset, what we focus on we get, so focus on what you want to happen and take steps towards it. – I always start and end the day with appreciation, what it is I am grateful for, be that a new day or waking to my little girls smile, it never fails to set me up for the day. I also love a quote and use one daily to help me pick my mindset for the day. My current favourite is “In today I trust”, which means that I trust that every day will bring me a positive, even if it also brings me a challenge.
- Don’t do it alone – as with all things in life, be that love, life or business we are stronger together, so don’t face this alone. Find a support group be that family member, partner, friend or an online group, ensure you have other people around you to share your thoughts with, your hopes dreams and fears. To be there to lift you when you fall and to celebrate when you fly.
We are in a period of need to keep our distance, but for me, it isn’t about social distancing, its about physical distancing. As human beings, we have a primal need to be connected to lean on ad support each other. Right now, we need to distance ourselves physically while taking advantage of the advances of technology to ensure we stay socially connected.
So Stay Communicating, Stay Connected, Stay Safe.
Until next time friends