The world feels like a funny place right now and I don't mean "haha" funny. Maybe weird, ironic, unsettling would feel like better words to use. There seems to be so much "in the air" and for those of us who are used to feeling settled, it can leave us with a swirling head, not knowing what to choose, which way to go our how to even just BE.
As I listen in all of the spaces I find myself (social media, conversations with friends and colleagues, in sessions with clients) we all seem to feel like we are in perpetual transition. As Black people, we probably feel like we are in transition more often than most. Between the pandemic, reports of a looming economic crisis, righteous civil unrest AND this election, alot of people are feeling anxiety. The type of anxiety that has you feeling like you are at the bottom of a large heap of "stuff" and it is all suffocating you.
If this is you, here are 3 tips to help you manage what is happening.
I know you hear it all the time: turn off the news, turn off social media, turn into yourself. You may even be tired of hearing it. However, I put it slightly differently: CURATE your life. When anxiety heightens, it is so important to manage your energy and pay attention to what you are taking in. From a neurological and scientific perspective our nervous systems can get triggered and sent into overload (i.e. panic attacks) if we do not give it a break from certain types of information. From a spiritual perspective, protecting your heart and your mind makes room for you to develop and create what you desire. Otherwise it is easy to be ovewhelmed with the agendas and priorities of others. Curating your life during these periods looks like being intentional about what you do, what you watch, who you talk to and what you listen to. Having your "go to" feel good shows, experiences and people can help you during stressful periods. They can also help you to recover daily (even moment to moment), which limits the feeling of overwhlem. By doing this you, literally and figuratively, give yourself a break from the "experiencing" so that you can continue to sustain and have tolerance for what is to come.
Understanding your feelings and your needs are critical during highly stressful times. We think we know what it is that is bothering us, but without really investigating the feelings, we don't REALLY know. Maybe you have the feeling of being lonely. You could decide to spend time with some people you trust or arrange a virtual hangout. But what if the lonely feeling is about missing close connections, physical touch or spontaneous moments? The intervention that you decide to do would be different. Taking time to stop, investigate the feeling and ask yourself some questions would be helpful here to give you greater understanding. Once you know what you are feeling then you can determine what you need.
So many of us are waiting for things to go back to how they were. And at this point in time, I don't think that they will. I don't know that there is a way to erase from our psyche what has happened this year. There are too many changes, too many losses, to much being in limbo, too many awakenings for things to ever really be like they were. So give yourself time to grieve that things are different. Give yourself time to grieve all the things you thought you had and/or knew that are no longer a part of your life. Give yourself the acknowledgement of the pain of it, so that you can be move forward and decide how to do "the difference" in a way that makes sense for you.
My prayer for us all as we move forward day to day, is that we are not waiting for 2021 to hope that things are better. I am hopeful that you can use these steps to engage everyday with ways that you can make aspects of your life better, even as we deal with consistent change and wait for what is to come.