When the pandemic first started, we may have been in the middle of any number of projects, like studying a language we've always wanted to learn, gearing up to apply to schools, maneuvering towards a promotion at work, or planning a long-awaited trip.
And then the world Stopped. COVID has changed almost every aspect of our lives. Video chats have become our classrooms, and living rooms have become our workspaces.
And, if we think about our progress since then, chances are, we aren't quite where we wanted to be. Our uncertainty has kicked in, and we have told ourselves that the timing just isn't right!
While there are valid reasons for stalling, there's also a good chance that we've decided to put our life on hold.
Avoidance is Unhealthy Coping
Instead of acknowledging and accepting our anxious thoughts and emotions, we tend to push them away or avoid them. We tell ourselves, "not now," not yet," forget it," or "it won't work." However, multiple studies show that the more we try to push away and ignore our emotions, the stronger and longer-lasting they become.
"Timing just isn't right" may be a reasonable conclusion, but beware! It can also become a destructive pattern that stifles us from achieving our goals and becoming our best selves.
Here are some strategies for getting your life from "on hold" to "full swing."
- Acknowledge the Stress Don't escape and evade emotions or dismiss goals. It may feel good in the short term, yet it is harmful when we keep doing it over long periods. Label what you experience and for what you hope. Acknowledge the life that is on hold, accept the reality of complicated emotions and decisions, and speak about it with others.
- Reshape- Don't Cancel Don't push off or scrap meaningful projects without assigning an alternative. It leads us to feel stagnant and frustrated, which can trigger anxiety and depression. Life is different, and some options are just not available to us now, but in thinking out of the box, we can innovate, change, and reshape our activities in this new landscape.
- Is the gym closed? Take a walk or go for a run outside.
- Too cold to go out? How about joining an online exercise class or dance to our favorite music?
- Isolated from family and friends? Why not start a book club or watch a favorite movie together online?
In the end, this flexibility may lead us to new strategies and ideas that we would never have thought of in the first place.
- Find meaning Focus on meaningful and joyful activities to get through difficult times. Netflix binging, indulging in unhealthy food, or all-night game-playing might be easier, but activities that are meaningful to us help us maintain optimal mental health.
- If music is important to us, this might be a great time to learn to play the guitar.
- If we consider family time valuable, staying home affords us an excellent opportunity to connect with our loved ones.
- Be True to Yourself Choose activities based on what is important to you and what dreams and goals bring joy despite this challenging situation. Choose what you cancel or postpone based on your priorities to create a sense of fulfillment.
These tips deter us from "putting our life on hold," and If you need further support in achieving your goals and maintaining your mental well-being, reach out for help to ensure that your life is in full swing despite the challenges.