How To Manage During The Pandemic
The ongoing Corona virus pandemic has been a lot to manage and accept. It never seems to end, wave after wave! But in terms of how to cope and carry on, the best first step may indeed be accepting the realities we’ve faced, however difficult or grim.
What is – IS
Psychologists say acceptance is a value that can go far in helping us manage stressors big and small, from coping with a Wi-Fi outage to living through a global pandemic.
Acceptance. “Sometimes it’s necessary to accept who you are, what you do, and what society does to you,” It’s not the same thing as resignation, or saying “it’s fate” either, it’s more so accepting the current situation in order to make peace with it and either make the best of it or move on. I call this state “current reality”
Buddhism uses an English word “harmony” to describe how acceptance is powerful. “Human beings are understood to be ‘beings in nature.’ Hence the importance of establishing harmony with it and with everything else in the world”. This underlying way of acceptance of the way it is helps us in these times when everything doesn’t go according to plan.
How to embrace “What is, is” in your own life:
This goes beyond self-acceptance. It’s about accepting the realities that surround you, too – your relationships, your roles in the communities you’re a part of, and the situations you face – rather than fighting them – what is, is.
What’s more, psychology research tells us being more accepting of our own thoughts and emotions without judging them promotes improved mental health and helps us better cope with the stressors we do face.
The practice acceptance makes space in your life to move on from negative or unpleasant situations. For example: To find motivation to get a new job, you first have to accept you’re ready to move on from your current role — or, to start grieving the loss of a loved one, you have to accept they’ve passed on and are no longer part of current reality.
Acceptance is much different from resignation, which is when you submit to something you’re facing and give up in terms of making a change for the better or getting out of that situation. It also isn’t necessarily something you block out a half hour in your calendar to practice. Rather, it’s a mindset to guide your thinking day after day.
I describe it as a “day to day philosophy,” meaning the more your in current reality and how you interact with people and the world, the more naturally you’ll find yourself using it in response to stressful and negative situations. So how do you get started? Here are some tips:
Make time to connect with nature.
When it comes to accepting reality, the very ground we stand on is a good place to start, go for a walk, change your environment. A walk or hike will help you establish that harmony with nature, after all we don’t expect a tree to be anything other than a tree which is fundamental to acceptance of what is, is.
Recognize what’s actually stressing you out?
It’s going to be tough to accept situations if you’re misinterpreting what’s upsetting you, or what stressors you’re actually facing. Get clarity and current reality. Are you arguing more with someone in your household because they’re behaving differently – or because you’re both stressed about the hardships brought on by the pandemic, for example? Are you really stressed about your dry cleaning not being ready – or because you have a big work deadline that week that’s putting you on edge outside of working hours, too?
Sometimes it may not be obvious when you’re experiencing it. Oftentimes the problem isn’t you or the other person (in whatever situation you’re stressed about), it’s some underlying problem that’s ramping up tension. Try to practice connecting more with the root issue and not burying it and creating more stress.
Remind yourself that everything changes, constantly
We tend to feel stressed when we feel trapped. One way to make any situation immediately less stressful is to remind yourself that it’s temporary – and whatever unpleasantness or burden you’re feeling won’t last forever.
Practice mindfulness or meditation.
Take time to do things that bring yourself to current reality. Take time to do things that help you tune into your thoughts and feelings over the noise of whatever outside stressors you’re facing. Mindfulness and meditation practices can help you do this, going for a walk by yourself, or listening to music. Anything that helps you remove yourself from a situation to create space away from the stress can help enormously, giving perspective and time.
Make incremental changes.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t expect it to. Whatever new situation you find yourself in that you’re trying to accept and adapt to, do so by making small, incremental changes to your routine, one small step at a time.
Don’t be afraid to abandon routines that aren’t working for you.
And when it comes to adopting those new routines, be flexible. If something isn’t working, figure out something else to do. If those routines are no longer making you happy, helping you find joy in the present moment, or no longer feel worthwhile in 2021 and beyond, move on and try something else.
Be kind — to others and to yourself.
Remember, it’s okay to feel fear, sadness, or anxiety. Don’t beat yourself up for those feelings or try to fight them, be kind and compassionate toward yourself. It’s part of acceptance, it is what is right now. You have to be okay with feeling the way you do. And then you can go ahead and figure out how you can make yourself feel better.
What is, is and it will be different tomorrow.
If you continue to have prolonged challenges, seek professional help here.
Always Show Up Geoffrey
Geoffrey has coached CEO’s, leaders, architects, engineers, public speakers and entrepreneurs: Here is a small collection of success stories from the different areas of Geoffrey’s background as a coach. Geoffrey has over 25 years coaching experience. He has led teams for 2010 Winter Olympic Bid, CN Financial Division, Shaw, Rocky Mountaineer, Sandwell Engineering, FKP Architects, Telus and Stantec. Geoffrey taught at the Sauder School of Business, Executive Education, at the University of British Columbia.