We are all in unchartered waters. What can make the difference in your time spent in our new but temporary normal is your attitude. How you feel during this time will be dependent upon whether you swim with the current or against it. Reality. There is not much we feel in control of right now. When will we be able to visit others? When can we resume working? What will I do financially? How will the economy survive? Will I get sick? Will my parents get sick? Most importantly for parents, will these kids ever go back to school? As a parent of 5 littles, trust me, I get it, however how we choose to utilize this time will make a difference in ourselves and for our children.
So, what is it that we can control? We are still able to go outside and enjoy nature. We can spend time with our families. We can work on spring cleaning and purging. We can read that book we have been wanting to read. We can get to many of those things at home that work often keeps us from being able to do. We can save money. We can focus on helping others in need. We can connect with others on our mutual struggles. We can learn patience, tolerance, and lessons in humbling ourselves.
BE GRATEFUL FOR THIS TIME AT HOME. I recognize that this is much easier for some than for others. However, this is our opportunity to make some changes in our lives. How we come to view this time, will make a difference in how we approach and experience it. A study out of Stanford University looked stress and how a person perceived stress. They studied two groups of people over an 8-year span. Two elements they looked at was a person’s perception of stress vs. how much stress they endured.
The two perceptions: Stress as an opportunity and motivator vs. Stress as “bad” and negative
Those who see stress as an opportunity, a motivator, positive, and something to be overcome fair much better when managing stress than those who see it as “bad”, negative, or something they want to avoid. The research showed that “viewing stress as a helpful part of life, rather than as harmful, is associated with better health, emotional well-being and productivity at work – even during periods of high stress.” Stress is often most difficult to cope with when things are not within our control and lack meaning.
What can be helpful during such trying times as these, are to focus on a purpose. Whether it be taking the time to focus on personal growth, your family, projects, those in your community, faith, or simply the greater good, having some sort of purpose will help in the reduction of stress and give you a sense of direction. Stress makes an imprint on our minds. The impression the stressor makes sets us up for how we will handle future stressors. This phenomenon of discovery and growth from difficult situations is what psychologists call stress inoculation. Mindset is everything. Seeing our stress as a challenge and something that we can experience growth from, will help to prepare us for future stressors.
Stop focusing on the unknown and the things that are not within your control. It is wasted energy and can negatively impact your immune functioning, both of which we need intact now more than ever. Be creative, find a purpose, and make your mark. You’ve got this!