Monday, July 20, 2020

Don't Close Your Book Early- Learning How to Cope

"Embrace uncertainty.  Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won't have a title until much later."- Unknown

If you ever believed you had complete control over everything in your life, recent events have proved otherwise.  How many times have we been told that we do not have control over anything except for how we react to it?  Well, I’m a believer now! 

COVID-19 is like a riddle without an answer.  We keep trying to make sense of it, but can’t quite figure it out.  Will this ever end?  When will we go back to normal?  Will we ever be normal again?

Living with the uncertainty and fear is a part of life, but the recent pandemic has taken it to a new level.  It has stripped many of us of our sense of safety, security and hope.   It certainly has me. 

After several months of boredom and stress eating—and drinking, all I have to show for it is a 10-pound weight gain and a bunch of cute summer clothes that I can’t fit into and wouldn’t have anywhere to wear them to if I could.  Wow, that was a mouth full.  See, I can’t even talk without filling my mouth!

Any who, my regular go to coping mechanisms to deal with my anxiety and depression have lost some of their mojo.  Bouncing back from the ups and downs of our current “new normal” has become increasingly difficult for me—as I’m sure it has been for many of you—and I’ve had to incorporate some new ways to cope, such as:

Take Bite-Sized Portions.  And I’m not talking about food.  Although that certainly wouldn’t hurt!  Cutting down my worrying and wondering to a 24-hour period of time has made dealing with the uncertainty more manageable.  If I have a good day, it’s a win.  If I have an especially difficult day, there is always tomorrow.  Worrying and stressing about the unknown or things you can’t control is not only a time-waster, but a waist-expander.  See how I did that?   Laughing at myself is another way I cope.

Find Inspiration.  I have been reading more self-help books about self-care, self-esteem and self-awareness.  I’m a huge believer is self-healing and taking responsibility for your own growth.  If you don’t love to read, you can gather motivation and inspiration from others who share their insight on blogs, websites, YouTube Channels and other social media platforms. 

Tik Tok has been my addiction during these past quarantine months.  You can follow life coaches, therapists, or just regular Joe’s who want to share their journey with you in short 60-second spots.  I save my favorites and watch them again when I need that little jolt of motivation. 

One I came across the other day when I was having a rough day really touched me.  It was a lady who was giving the message to not give up.  She was recognizing the pain, despair and suffering of those on the channel who were posting messages of just wanting to give up on life.  She said, sometimes we close our book too early.  We don’t finish reading the book that was already written for us.  She reminds us that no matter how hard things are—those difficulties are part of our testimony, part of our story.  “Keep your book open,” she says.  “You have more story to tell.”  Words to live by.

Change Your Scenery.   I realize we are in isolation and our scope of people we can be around and places we can go are limited.  But, if you are feeling down, drag yourself from that spot and move close to a window that has sun shining through it, sit outside under a tree or jump in your car and go for a ride.  I love to turn on the radio, have my dog on my lap and drive to the coast to see my mom.  I use that time to think, reflect and do positive self-talk.

Do Something New.   Find something new to do like a new hobby or a house project.  Other than writing, reading and exercising, I don’t have a lot of hobbies or activities to do at home.  And cleaning is NOT a hobby.   Instead, I started going through my closets and to my utter shock, I found that someone has a shopping addiction and has been cramming my closets and drawers full of clothes, purses, shoes, hats and accessories.   In order to allow them to continue, I’ve pulled anything that is too small (pretty much everything) or that I no longer wear and will be posting for sale online.  I’ve already sold several pieces.  It gives me something to occupy my mind and I get to make some money at the same time.

However you are dealing with the uncertainty of our current world, just know you are not alone.  There are millions of people who feel exactly like you do and may even be suffering with additional pre-COVID-19 stressors and health conditions. 

For those of you struggling, don’t give up.  Remember:  Don’t close your book too early.  You have more story to live and more story to tell. 

Let's embrace Mondays, and everyday, with excitement.  We will do it together, each Monday —for a moment. 

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