Updated: Mar 31, 2021
Has anyone asked you how you are feeling lately? Better yet, how are you dealing with the current pandemic, better known as Covid-19? Have you emotionally checked out yet? Today's post finds ways to feel more supported and connected to ourselves when our environment and surroundings are out of balance. The current pandemic has caused us to re-think our daily actions and routines. Being isolated from the world can be a double-edged sword. On the bright side, it allows us the opportunity to refocus and re-prioritize. It can also cause a negative domino effect, which is having unpleasant feelings. Let's discuss how we can overcome these challenges and produce a sufficient emotional balance.
Boredom, Anxiety, Stress, Oh My!
The world is continually evolving and changing around us. It's only natural for our feelings to fluctuate upon these changes in variables. Creating useful everyday strategies can help with our health and overall well-being. Raise your hand if you were already socially distancing and staying inside before the pandemic. The current changes are most likely a walk in the park for you. Now raise your hands if you've reached your limit of seeing the same walls every day. Humans are built to be social people, and being left alone with just our thoughts can go either way.
When we experience more than one negative feeling, it's easy for us to comfort ourselves how others in our surroundings do so. Some people choose to eat junk food, or maybe stay in bed. I am personally guilty of those moments myself. We have seen others use these measures; therefore, we choose to try them out ourselves. How about we work on changing the narrative and becoming more pro-active during these low moments. Let's increase our longevity by redirecting our energy to positive social and emotional thinking.
Building Healthy Regulation Strategies
Our emotions matter and can affect our perspective and behaviors. Some of us have mastered filtering our words before saying them, while others are inclined to tell it how it is. I am a mix of both of these individuals. Around friends and family, If I think it, I'm likely to say it. Only when I'm in social gatherings am I more aware of my thoughts and behaviors and how they can affect others. With that being said, self-regulation is the starting point of this journey. According to Singer (1999), "self-regulation is the result of the reciprocal influences of personal processes, the environment, and one's own behavior" (p. 1). Self-regulation influences our emotions to meet our goals and environmental needs. We use it when it comes to our self-motivation and any task at hand.
Taking efforts to practice self-regulating can help offer a new innovative perspective on how to practice healthy habits. Sometimes taking a step back and analyzing your environment can be a great starting point. Determine in your surroundings what is helping and what can be eliminated. Deciding the difference between the two can help place a higher priority on what's important and what should have less of your attention. This is sometimes easier said than done, but a slow start is better than not start.
Self Evaluation and Accountability
Let's include mindful breathing within our strategy. It's free and takes little to no effort at all. Let's practice right now. Take a break from your responsibilities, social media, and any other distractions. So pause for a moment and take a deep breath. As you exhale, consider the worries or distractions that compete for your attention. Sometimes just pausing and taking a deep breath can help us recenter and offer new clarity. I've had to take numerous deep breathes when I feel myself getting anxious and stressed. Mindfulness cultivates a deeper awareness of all of our experiences (Dr. Brackett, 2020). Through stillness, we gain insight into how and what these distractions are doing to us and around us.
Speaking of around us, have you evaluated your surrounding relationships? Are they cohesive to the direction you're trying to go, or are they taking you two steps back? The current pandemic can sometimes feel isolating, and it's natural for us to want to surround ourselves with people continually. Let's be honest; not everyone should have access to you—pandemic or not. A positive relationship that allows you to be seen and heard is the one to keep. Sharing similar values, goals, cultures, and beliefs creates excellent conversation and behaviors. Surround yourself with similar like-minded individuals. Creating positive dialogue can help with managing your emotions and decrease your stress levels. I joke around and say my circle is smaller than a period, but there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes quality is better than quantity.
During your self-talks, take a moment to think of things you can control, your focus point. Unfortunately, we can't predict the future, so we shouldn't allow the unknown to cause anxiety and added stress. Reflect on what you can control in the present and utilize your time and energy on that. Maybe it's time to declutter your space and mind. Use the time to figure out what brings you joy. Perhaps it's a book, a musical instrument, culinary cooking, etc. During your self-talks, listen to yourself. Whether big or small, committing to your goals creates consistencies and routines needed to develop a positive mindset.
Plan and Execute
Like, many others I have experienced highs and lows throughout the transition of the pandemic. I want to go out, but when I do go out, I find myself wanting to be back inside. There have been many changes in our environment, and now we witness the new temporary "norm." I'm optimistic that this, too, shall pass. In the meantime, instead of waiting for it to be over, create a plan and follow through with it. Correction, make many plans. My sister and I started a blog and business during the pandemic, and it just started from our self-talk conversations. We would say ideas out loud without any bias and listen. The best ideas made it to paper, and before you know it, an idea became an action.
Following through with your ideas and goals is essential. Regardless if you don't achieve your desired outcome. Not everyone gets it right the first time. The hardest part sometimes feels like the beginning, but you must manifest and claim it. The only person that can stop you is yourself. When you hit a roadblock, create your own lane. When someone says it can't work, tell them to offer you three reasons why it can. Believe in yourself first because self-love is the best love.
CASEL CARES. (2020, March 27). CASEL CARES: Strategies for Being Your Best Possible 'SEL'f with Dr. Marc Brackett [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UE2mWPPj0k&t
Singer, B. D., & Bashir, A. S. (1999). What are executive functions and self-regulation and what do they have to do with language-learning disorders? Language, Speech & Hearing Services in Schools, 30(3), 265. https://search-proquest-com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/scholarly-journals/what-are-executive-functions-self-regulation-do/docview/232584372/se-2?accountid=32521