What a year and a half it has been! Pandemic, lockdowns, social distancing, riots, uprisings, political unrest, police brutality, racial injustice, job loss, and homelessness. All these things have come together as a collective nightmare harder for some, but difficult for all. So much anger, hate, loneliness, fear, and anxiety has emerged. As a psychotherapist, I am seeing more people then ever in my group practice. People who never needed help before are coming in for therapy in droves, all looking for ways to cope with the unprecedented stress.
As we are emerging from the other side of the pandemic, of course, in ways that are comfortable, we have a tremendous opportunity to change and grow, maybe even start over. The pandemic forced us to rethink all aspects of our lives. We have had to figure out a new way to work, live, date, and entertain ourselves by ourselves and for ourselves. Switching to the online world to maintain friendships and family relationships, working and meeting via virtual platforms, purchasing essentials online. Extra challenging has been for families with children who have had to learn how to entertain and educate their children all while working from home.
Resilience has been key to survival. It is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It is about getting knocked down and having the ability to get up again. What does getting up again look like for you? Are you going to do the same things, or will you do things differently? If we could see a benefit of the pandemic, it would be that many of us have had to re-examine, streamline, and reinvent basic assumptions about our lives. Understandably so, there are many who are just surviving, and that is what they need and must do. There are also many who are in a holding pattern because that is what the pandemic and quarantine demanded. Some have flourished and used the extra time at home to evolve. For all, this is a great time to reflect and observe how we want to feel in the coming months.
ACCEPTANCE AND COURAGE
An excerpt of the Serenity Prayer says, “Grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” This is a powerful reminder that sometimes there are things in our life that we cannot change, or that the road to change will be difficult. Change is hard for most humans. We relish in the path of least resistance; to commit to change involves courage, resolve, and gumption. Daily reminders, inspirational quotes or pictures, a buddy, therapist, or a coach to help motivate you can help make the path less daunting.
Sometimes change is just not possible now or even in the future for a variety of reasons. Not accepting this keeps us stuck. Acceptance is a choice to let go of what is impossible to change. If we are to accept, that must be done in mind, body, and spirit. We can do this by turning our minds over and over to acceptance, while taking steps that would reflect that acceptance.
A VISION FOR THE FUTURE
What do we want from the opportunity to re-emerge? What is working? What is not working? Take a stance of curiosity and let go of judgment; we are brainstorming and there is no room for judgment while we are striving toward growth!
A vision board or journaling can help. As noted in the book, “The Secret,” “The law of attraction is forming your entire life experience and it is doing that through your thoughts. When you are visualizing, you are emitting a powerful frequency out into the Universe.” Meaning, if you manifest it, you can make it happen.
What would make you happier and more connected to your life? Taking a moment to notice how you are feeling now and how you want to feel. It is helpful to take a wholistic view of all the arenas in your life. Here are some examples of spheres to explore:
Do you need to let go of ones that are not working? Do you want to date? Marry? Widen your social circle? How about reconnecting in person vs. via video or phone?
CAREER AND FINANCES
Are you happy at your job? Is there anything you could improve? Is it time for a job or career change? Would there be training involved? Is there anything you would like to change or save for in your finances? Home, debt payment, or retirement?
(including spirituality, social life, education)
Do you want to learn a new skill or hobby? Photography, writing, or surfing? Travel to new places? Take a class? Return to and recommit to your place of worship, pray, or start a meditation practice? How about volunteering or engaging in advocacy work with like-minded people?
Have you been neglecting your medical check-ups? Want to move from mentally coping to self-actualizing? Gained some weight? Want to start exercising? Do yoga? Eat healthier?
Out of the flames rises the Phoenix. Whatever that looks like for you within the confines of your COVID comfortability, change or accept and take this opportunity to move from hunkering down to growing and blooming. Seize the day!
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