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Do you ever feel like you’re living your own version of Groundhog Day?
You’re repeating the same day over and over again. Nothing is unexpected, nothing can be changed. You wake up, do the same thing, go to bed, repeat.
Any sense of spontaneity you might have experienced before has been sucked out, leaving only muted shades of black, white, and grey. You look ahead, and everything looks the same. You look back, and it’s all a blur.
It’s a common feeling during normal times. You’ve been doing the same thing for awhile. Maybe you’re working in a job, running a project, and going through your routine.
You’ve lost motivation, you’re just not that excited anymore, and things are getting stale. It’s normal, no matter what you do.
But during a pandemic? Multiply that feeling by a hundred.
In a world where mobility is restricted, many have lost their jobs, and millions have lost their lives, it’s no wonder we don’t see the point in anything.
Many of us are feeling stuck. We don’t know what to do with ourselves. Even if we did, the state of things isn’t allowing us to stretch our wings far.
Do we act like everything is the same as before, or do we just lie low and wait until it all passes over?
Set Different Expectations During This Time
None of us has ever faced anything like this before. Every single aspect of our lives changed, all across the world. No single person can say that they’re unaffected.
So of course you’re not going to feel as productive, motivated, or inspired compared to before. Everything around you has shut down or slowed down, which makes you want to go into hibernation mode as well. Accepting this fact is better than denying it.
When you try to convince yourself everything is fine, you’re doing more harm to yourself than good. It’s like beating a tired horse to get up and start galloping. Forcing something drastic to happen will likely end up backfiring.
During normal times, we put a lot of stress on ourselves to complete tasks and goals by a certain deadline. Often, that’s fine. We all need some pressure to get things done.
But when you apply too much pressure, you end up overwhelmed. You get stressed and frustrated. Expecting yourself to carry on as you did before can be downright demoralizing during this period of slowness.
Allow your expectations of yourself to change to according to the current pace of things.
Be Easy On Yourself
Take time to enjoy this slower pace of life. Many things happening right now are outside your control. There’s no need to be so hard on yourself.
In fact, you don’t need to do everything you might have expected of yourself. Before the pandemic, you might have crammed your day full of tasks. Now, you’ll start to see some empty spaces pop up. Empty spaces can be good.
When you start dropping those “must do’s” from your day, you’ll feel a big burden has lifted. Be kind to yourself. It’s okay to take things easy from time to time.
When you give yourself space, you learn new things about yourself. You’ll discover new habits and hobbies. You might re-discover things you once enjoyed before life got busy.
Things that were old have become new again. People attend drive-in movies, board games are becoming popular, and people are baking bread. People are getting back in touch with a part of themselves that they had left behind at some point.
It’s like exploring the world through a child’s perspective, which is thrilling to experience later in life. If this sudden shift didn’t happen, who knows if people would have slowed down to try something different for a change?
Appreciate the Small Things
We’ve adjusted to the swing of things by now. Many are working from home, working fewer hours than before, and both work and home are blurring together. On a daily basis, we know what to expect. Unfortunately, that’s a part of the problem.
Think of the opposite end of the spectrum. When everything changes day by day and we don’t know what’s coming next, we’re in hyper-stress mode. We don’t know how to prepare for the future or how to act.
But when everything is the same, we feel a different kind of stress. Instead of feeling frantic, there’s a lying undercurrent of anxiety.
We worry that things will remain the way they are, without any improvement. We feel a lack of control, a sense of powerlessness in our own lives. This lack of growth and progress can lead to feeling melancholy, where we don’t see the point of doing anything.
With so much free time these days, we can easily find our minds swimming around. Our thoughts travel to events that happened ages ago. At other times, we worry about what’s going to happen in the future. It seems like there’s not much of a present to anchor you in the here and now.
No matter what you’re doing right now, whether you’re sitting at home, walking around, or waiting for something to happen, this is your life as it is right now. This is what you have. It’s what matters the most.
It may not seem like much, but what you have right now is something. It may not seem very interesting or positive, but there is still good within the mundane.
One way to break out of the monotony is to get into the practice of appreciating your surroundings. If you take joy in the small things, you learn to create a more positive outlook for yourself.
Walk outside and say hi to a neighbor and their dog. Set out some books you want to read. Go over to your favorite local park a few times a week.
Practice taking notes on what happens in your day, no matter how small. This will help you to absorb the present and realize that each day is unique.
For example, here’s one entry from going on a walk:
“I turned the corner and passed a nearby park dotted with patches of snow. The sky was a dull grey and the air was crispy and cool. Further off was a small hill completely white with snow. A child slid down the hill on a sled, while his mom walked closely behind, all bundled up. Witnessing this scene reminded me that it’s good to get outside and try something new, no matter the weather.”
When you put thoughts into words, it really hits home that we experience a lot of different things every day. We simply need to open our senses and take it in.
Try recording something you did earlier. If you’re not into traditional journaling or haven’t started, I suggest using the Journey app. You can record moments through photos, entries, and maps.
When you record what happens in your life regularly, it’s fun to look back through the memories you’ve compiled.
A New Time, A New Perspective
Never have the streets, sidewalks, and buildings been so quiet. There will never be a time like this again. Not in our lives.
When you look at things from that perspective, hopefully it’ll encourage you to not only deal with the challenges, but to appreciate the opportunities you’re given. This is the time to slow down, recuperate, and reflect on what brings you peace and joy.
Journey – Designed for people who haven’t gotten into journaling, this free app lets you record your thoughts and memories in an easy format. It’s a safe place to you to put down whatever’s on your mind. After awhile, you’ll find yourself feeling more positive, calmer, and present.