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Focus on the things within your control

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It is important to focus on that which is within your control in order to regain calm during these tough and unpredictable times. It is normal to feel panicked and overwhelmed. However, remaining in this state will have adverse effects on your mental health. While we may not know when a vaccine will be ready, what the government’s next strategy will be or how much longer this pandemic will last (things you have no control over)- There are some things you have within your control.

Many of us are not driving to and from work anymore, meaning we have some extra time in the mornings and afternoons. That’s some extra time that is now in your control. What do you want to do with that time? Remember that doing nothing is also a valid option. Having a quite moment to reflect and unwind can make all the difference sometimes, more especially during a global pandemic. This is extra time that can be spent with family or doing things that you enjoy. You get to decide!

You’re also in control of what you choose to pay attention to. Yes, it is important to stay informed during this time and for others this may be a coping strategy. However, being overloaded with stats and constantly engaging on the topic can be quite stressful. If this does not work for you, you can set a boundary and limit the intake of information to prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. If you decide that you want to be informed, use credible sources that provide you with the necessary information without causing further panic. Social media is currently not the best place to get information. You might find that you’re taking on other people’s anxieties while scrolling through the timelines. Acknowledge that it is a collective experience but it is imperative to take stock of and manage your feelings individually.

If you are able to continue working from home, that is an aspect of your life you can still maintain. Allow yourself to adjust to this as it may have it’s own challenges. The change of environment on it’s own may be a significant one. Not many people’s homes have a designated working space. So it may take a while for the space you created to be conducive to your productivity. There may also be a need to reflect on work-life balance, more since the home and work environments have now become one. Burnout is still a real possibility, even in the comfort of your own home.

Last but not least, you’re in control of your thoughts and emotions. The above may assist in some ways . However, the most important thing is awareness. Be aware of how you are feeling, what occupies your thoughts and informs your behaviors. It’s not easy to wake up and just feel happy or positive. The more you are aware of the little positive things in your day to day routine, the more you can be intentional about shifting your focus to them and improving your mood. If it all becomes a little too much, remind yourself of the obstacles you’ve overcome before. The fact that you overcame, points to the internal resources you posses! While this is a collective experience, those internal resources are just as useful now as they were then. Tap into them.
This too shall pass.

By Puleng Rathebe

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash