In a rapidly changing world where “normal” is being redefined and challenged, it feels different and strange to imagine what we once knew as everyday life shifting. It’s mind-boggling to think we are adjusting and adapting. But, what are we adapting and adjusting to? Big buzzwords, for those of us who have been quarantined or stuck at home and even those essential workers going out risking their health every day, are fear, anxiety, productivity, motivation, worth, and purpose.
- What does it mean to be productive?
- What does it mean to feel motivated?
- What does it mean to feel worth and purpose?
- How are we learning to self-care and make decisions about how we view ourselves and what we want in life?
- What do fear and anxiety mean for us?
- What is mental, emotional, and physical health?
- How will socializing change or shift?
- How do we define success or accomplishments?
As we ponder and navigate who we are during this exhausting period in history, I caution us to be gentle with ourselves and take a step back. Give ourselves time to understand that it’s okay to take a minute or more to slow down. Even with our everyday responsibilities, reflection and self-care are necessary. We are not living the same way we were last year or even a few months ago. We do not have to pile on expectations and lists of things to do. We also can give ourselves permission to prioritize our mental and physical health; make goals, and shorten our lists to things that mean something to us.
Note: Don’t be afraid to put yourself first.
Take a moment to jot down your needs and personal goals. How will you self-care today? Have you been checking in with your feelings and mental state?
It’s okay to take a step back.
You define what is best for you.
“Because isolation can negatively impact our mental health, influence spirals of negative thoughts, negative self-talk, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and loneliness; understanding power, control, productivity, and expectations can redefine and reshape how we approach each day. How can we recreate, readjust, and adapt to this new form of living? How can we prioritize our mental health?…
Note: Self-care is personal and can change based on our day to day needs. Whatever we find is the best/most helpful way to cope can only be defined by us.”
Without the hustle and bustle of an everyday routine of “work, ” it can become draining and confusing to figure out what purpose means. Because we’re used to linking who we are to what we “do” we often forget that we aren’t what we do, we simply…are. We exist and that, in itself, is purpose.
Awareness of the present “self” is appreciating all that “we are” in the absence of work. Who are we when we are not working or performing tasks? How can we bask in the simplicity of being?
Note: Focusing our attention on “doing” dictates our actions and goals to define success as accomplishments achieved only by something we can perform through our behaviors and actions. Therefore, when we are not actively “doing” much of anything we lose our sense of self and purpose. Shifting our focus to “being” allows us to appreciate existing when we are not/cannot “do” anything.
Acknowledging that we have worth and value, not because of “what” we do but because of “who” we are (already) helps us to understand our fundamental “being.”
Affirmation Challenge: When waking up every morning, begin by affirming and manifesting the words, “I am.” By understanding that “doing” doesn’t define purpose, we can view our expectations of ourselves with gentleness, approaching each day with gratitude and grace. Existing and living how best we can outweigh the constant assumption of having to do more to fill our sense of self.
Reminder: It’s okay if some days are difficult to even get out of bed. Those days are our “being” days. It’s okay to focus on being.
Remember that although some of us may be out of work, away from the people we love, or can’t pursue what we want to do right now, it doesn’t take away from our worth or value. Because we sometimes link what we “do” to our value, we lose our sense of self.
Message: You are valuable despite your productivity level or how much motivation you have. Give yourself time to figure out what time looks like for you. Reflect and get to know who you are, what you like to do, and what your next steps will be. Put yourself first. Step back from the noise and connect with your needs.
Mental health and well-being are important as we navigate the what-ifs and anxiety of uncertainty.
Ask yourself, what are my needs right now? How can I meet those needs?