This has been a rough year for millions of people and it can be hard to be optimistic and see the silver lining. A lot of people are working remotely and while it’s great in preventing infection, it can be incredibly isolating. Living and working in the same space just isn’t ideal. But here are some tips to help you cope with 2020 blues.
1. Get centered
I admit that I’ve never been one to recommend mindfulness but that’s changed since I started incorporating various practices into my life. Guided meditation, yoga, and visualization practices can do wonders for helping you to manage depression and anxiety. Many times anxiety tends to be centered around what has happened in the past or something you’re worried about in the future. Staying in the here and now can help to put things in perspective and to consciously gently challenge some of the negative automatic thoughts that precede anxiety.
2. Do something
While there’s nothing wrong with taking a break and having lazy days, there’s nothing like engaging in an activity that brings you joy. It could be an outdoor walk, trying out a new recipe, connecting with an old friend, or just sitting comfortably with an adult coloring book. Make it a priority to do three things every week that bring you joy. You’ll find that it will help you with managing stress and adjusting to change.
3. Take a break
Working remotely can mean that you don’t take as much time off work as you did before. Don’t neglect to take a vacation. Even if it’s just a staycation. PTO is available for a reason and while you might be tempted to save it all up until you can travel again, consider taking a few days off to give your mind a break. Schedule a day where you have nothing to do and stick to it. Step away from screens and stretch your body and eyes for a few moments. Take 5 deep breaths before sitting down to work. Don’t be afraid to make time for you and to step away from work so that you don’t burn out.
Sometimes I think that it’s easier to process through writing than it is through speaking. There’s the opportunity to delete, revise and edit in the writing process and talking out loud doesn’t come with those same privileges. I remember either hearing or reading somewhere about Reason, Season, and Lifetime people and I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon in my own life. It’s fairly easy to meet seasonal people. You cross paths with them while doing routine activities like going to work or attending a class. Being in a familiar place again has been eye opening and also challenging in a way that I had not anticipated. There’s something to be said about feeling the push and pull of relationships that seem to hover between the Reason and Lifetime. It’s one of those grey areas that can be a bit anxiety provoking because you don’t quite know what the outcome will be. There can be emotions that catch you off guard because the process is full of surprises along with disappointments. While you may have a preference, there’s not guarantee that the cards will play out the way that you want them to. The process isn’t linear because relationships and emotions aren’t linear and they rarely fit into a nice neat little box. The perfect solution in your head is at odds with the conflicting emotions in your heart. There is no easy answer because the questions are too complex. It’s almost like making a house out of cards and wondering which card will crumble the whole deck. One thing that I can appreciate is that the process makes you take an honest inventory of yourself in the context of relationships. Time can often be the deciding factor of which category the relationships will land in.
I have to say that living out a suitcase makes you really think about your life in detail. Moving to a new place is something that everyone should experience at some point. It’s absolutely exhilarating, exhausting, and downright scary to move across the country, get a new place and start a job within 72 hours. Living out a suitcase really makes you think about the value that a lot of people put in material things. While I miss cable, feeling somewhat stable, and coming home to my dog every day, I’m glad that I’m doing something different. I have a job that I can quit in 12 weeks without any hard feelings and an opportunity to do it again as much as I’d want to. I don’t miss paying rent and it’s cool driving around exploring. Despite a horrific new schedule and the uncertainty about where I’ll live next, I’m ok.
@BYONELOVEShe wants your reassurance without you perceiving her as ‘needy’. She wants to hear you say you love her and that you’re not going anywhere. She wants your arms around her as you say it, showing her with your affection how much you care. She wants you to understand and not be annoyed when she…
Without adding any snarky comments and making a generalization about “all” men out there, I will say that this sounds nice. It’s interesting how people who appear so self assured in other areas of their life can feel so unsettled and anxious within a relationship. I think that it’s because there’s something that is out of their control. It feels weird and different and naturally some anxiety ensues because you find yourself really self-doubting for the first time in a while. Great article
Recently I had a very long conversation with a friend of mine regarding a similar experience we were having. Don’t get my wrong, I’m glad that I chose my particular career path. Social work/counseling is a good fit for my personality and I genuinely enjoy helping others. However, one sees things in a totally different light when you’ve studied human interactions and behaviors from an academic point of view. When you’ve met with hundreds and talked at length about their personal challenges and relationship woes. The way you perceive the world around you changes when perfect strangers feel comfortable walking up to you and sharing details about the personal life and current problem because (apparently) you have the “trust me I’m a therapist/safe person” face. One thing my friend and I discussed was how hard (somewhat impossible) it is to separate professional knowledge from actual emotion in personal relationships. As a therapist you question everything. One’s hidden motives, past history, emotions, and body language to come to a conclusion on the best course of action to help them. I think that’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to take anything at face value in personal relationships and the tendency can be to overthink. If overthinking was a professional sport, I would be a pro. I love connecting the dots and making sense of complicated and complex information. It’s a great professional skill to have, but using a professional skill for personal use definitely has a downside. I think it comes down to taking it a day at a time and becoming okay with not knowing all the information up front. Which, by the way, can be very frustrating but also necessary to cultivate a healthy balance.
That moment when you want to write something profound and prolific and the brightness of your screen and the text box of blankness waiting to be filled just seems to mock your efforts of gathering your thoughts together in a coherent way. That’s how I feel. This past week has been particularly busy as I’ve started school again (oh joy) and started the transitional process on the career front. One thing that has grown during this school experience has been the respect that I have for people with spouses and/or families who are being persistent and completing their degree. Something that is talked about in the social services world is the importance of balance and self care. I’ve gotten the opportunity to talk and dialogue with people who have been therapists and social workers for years and in answer to the question of how they find balance and take care of themselves, they have said that they’re still figuring it out. I think that this is because there’s no one formula. I went to a training this week about working with individuals who have experienced trauma. The main thoughts behind this specific modality was that stress is stored in the body and it need to be expressed in some form in order to reduce symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. The interesting thing about it was that the presenter asserted that one of the reasons why stress is not expressed and stays in our bodies is because we decide to ignore it. We distract ourselves with food, exercise, books, activities, etc that mask our true need of confronting the traumas and experiences that are the sources of our stress. In the therapy world these things are known as coping skills. That being said, I think that a lot of people (including myself at times) have gotten use to artfully dodging their own issues and have instead channeled all that energy to another activity instead of confronting their own past hurts. It’s a hard place to be in and nobody wants to get uncomfortable even if it’s just to heal from past hurts. Uncomfortableness is hard.
I’ll be honest, I very strongly dislike standardized tests. The source of this dislike can be credited to my mother, who also strongly opposes standardized tests. Growing up, I didn’t have many tests. The homeschooled life afforded me the luxury of learning my way. High school was challenging because I literally had to teach myself subject I knew nothing about with limited internet access and textbooks. Yet, this was not as challenging as it sounds like because all my tests were open book. When I say all, I mean ALL. Because of this experience, I am quite comfortable with open book tests. Partially because I think that it’s reassuring to know that all the answers are contained somewhere in the book and you just have to find them. Piece of cake. Consequently, when it came time in my high school career to take the tests that indicate if you’re smart and if you’ll go to a decent college, I experienced a high level of anxiety. The results of this anxiety was that I took the SAT three times (yes, three) and the ACT twice. For a grand total of…………a lot of hours spend in a cold room filling in bubbles. I prefer essay tests to filling in bubbles. Eight pages of blank paper and a one sentence question on top of each page? I’m down. I’d much rather give a speech in front of thousands of people than take a timed standardized test. Honestly, one of the things that I liked about graduate school is that I only had ONE test the entire length of my program. It was great. However, my professional goals demand that I take tests for licensure in my field. And, the time has come to start to study and prepare for this test. No, I’m not excited but I am more than ready to get this out the way so that I can move on with my life. I can’t wait.