It goes without saying that the world looks incredibly different today than it did a few months ago. So many of us are asking ourselves “When is all of this going to be over? When will things be normal? What will be the new normal?” And the answer is that nobody knows — and that’s okay.
As we do our best to co-exist with COVID, many of us are adapting to new ways of being while attempting to maintain a sense of normalcy. New and unexpected challenges present themselves almost daily. Virtual everything is everywhere. And when the screens shut down, this slowed-down life is offering us something deeper — the opportunity to reconnect with who we are inside.
So, the real question to ask yourself is…
How am I?
So often, the default response is “I’m fine”. Perhaps you are fine. And maybe you aren’t. I once read that “fine” stands for feelings inside not expressed. What if you were to give yourself permission to say “I’m not great” if that’s true for you, even if you’re only saying it to yourself? It’s completely okay and will actually crack open the door to feeling better.
There has been a stigma in our society associated with mental health. My friend and I often joke about our alter-egos, clutching our pearls, aghast at something “inappropriate” someone has said. And while we’re joking, there is still a lot of discomfort in the world when real and raw emotions are revealed. There has been a tendency to focus on the “outer” — the white-picket fence 5-star life. Now we find ourselves in one form of isolation or another. We are all experiencing a spectrum of loss (to hug a friend, to kiss a grandchild, losing a job, or losing a loved-one). Corona is knocking, and she is extending an invitation — an invitation to ATTUNE within. To accept is to refocus on the inner, and perhaps this will be one of the greatest gifts received from this viral experience.
The best part of attuning within is that we can actually control our inner environment. There will always be something outside of us that can create a sense of imbalance- a pandemic, a boss, a spouse, a neighbor, etc. I’m not saying controlling our inner environment is instant or easy. I’m saying it’s possible. Here are a few tips to start this new relationship with the magnificent person inside.
A — Acknowledge your feelings. Ask yourself, “How am I?”. Listen. Give yourself permission to “feel the feels”. When we slow down and acknowledge how we feel, we can thoughtfully choose our next action in honor of self-healing.
T — Truth. Ask yourself, “What is true for me right now?”. It can be easy to get wrapped up in in the drama or trauma of the world at large. However, when we examine our personal reality, maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem. Is there a lesson that can be learned or gratitude that can be given?
T — Take care of yourself. Ask yourself, “What does self-care look like for me”? Our mental and emotional health is intertwined with our physical health. Therefore, it is important to take care of ourselves on all levels. Get plenty of high-quality sleep. Eat healthy, unprocessed foods. Move your body every day.
U — Unwind and unplug. Ask yourself, “What rejuvenates me?” In addition to physical, emotional, and mental health, spiritual health is equally important. Whether you practice prayer, meditation, or a silent walk in nature, take time each day to connect to a nurturing source. Even 60-seconds of meditation or focused silent breathing can completely change how you feel.
N — Now. Ask yourself, “How can I be in the present moment?”. What’s done is done. Plus, we really don’t know what will happen in the future, despite all of our best efforts to plan and procure (Hello, Corona!). Give yourself permission to let go of past situations or future worries that pull from your energy. Being present allows for more awareness, and awareness creates space for choice.
E — Enjoy! Ask yourself “What do I enjoy doing?”. Then incorporate more of it into your daily or weekly routine. A wise man once shared with me, “If you want to be happy, do happy things”. Yes, it can be that simple.
Finally, while you A.T.T.U.N.E. inside, if you find you need additional support, please ask. While we may be physically distanced, there is still ample opportunity and means to connect. If a friend or family member is not enough, there are a wealth of support resources available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Learn more by visiting: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources.