Updated: Apr 4, 2020
I have been telling folks that as days and weeks progress lately, I feel as if I'm playing a game of dodgeball that I can never win. There are so many balls being thrown at us.
They come in the form of: headlines indicating that the world is ending and that humanity will become extinct in five minutes, social media posts making you feel ashamed or judged, colleagues sending out a thousand e-mails, books you're wanting to read staring at you resentfully from across the room, hobbies begging you to re-engage with them, meals that your partner is wanting you to cook with them, bills taunting you, problems you're having or needing to think about, or trainings or workshops you might need to attend.
It's overwhelming. It feels like there's no way to dodge these balls, or no way to catch them and throw them back at whatever hell they came from.
But! While navigating these stressors, I have found two questions that have been tremendously helpful in getting me and others through -- two magical questions that'll help us kick our opponent's butt!
The first question is-- can I practice gratitude in this moment? This is particularly helpful when we're worrying about ours and others' health. If we're wondering "what if I get sick," we can potentially think "I seem to be OK right now, and thank goodness for that."
"What if the world ends?"
Imagine tires screeching and then boom! You think: "well, the world hasn't ended yet. I appreciate the fact that I'm still here and seemingly healthy."
What we're wanting to do is notice these overwhelming and scary thoughts and feelings, and if possible, we're wanting to pivot and change course. We're wanting to pick up the ball and throw it hard at capitalism's face. Or, stress' face. Or, worry's face.
"How am I going to answer all of these e-mails?"
SKRRRRTTT. "I can appreciate that I have access to technology and WiFi. It's good to know that colleagues feel healthy and motivated enough to send out these e-mails. I will take it one e-mail at a time."
OK! Ready for the other question?
Can I help anyone or anything in this moment? Maybe the only person you can help is yourself, and that is real and fair. And, I feel you.
But, how wonderful, right? In the midst of chaos and overwhelm that we pause and we reflect on how we can help ourselves and others. Maybe self-help is just telling yourself to breathe. And, other-help could be texting loved ones "I love you so much. I'm thinking of you."
Self-help can also look like having mindful moments with your plants and/or pets. The more you make time to help yourself, the more present and healthy you can be to help others.
If you do have some resources, whether that's money and/or time, there might be lots of opportunities near you, if you're wanting to donate money or volunteer. Here are more options for ways to help older folks, restaurants, and hospitals.
I'm thinking of you.
If you like hugs and don't have anyone to hug you, and self-hugs are proving to be difficult, know that I'm hugging you in spirit.
Take good care of you and others.