Whatever we have experienced in the past 3 months, I doubt many of us have experienced anything like that. As we begin to emerge or prepare to emerge from what could be the first of the pandemic, many of us are nervous and cautious about our new futures. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered and may well remain so. Many of us will be suffering from the effects of this pandemic both physically and psychologically. Living and thriving through this world of uncertainty and upheaval seems like a daunting prospect. As we any big issue seeing it in its entirety can make the idea of tackling it impossible. We have got this though, but first we have to remember, this is a game we don’t have to win, all we have to do is stay in the game.
Pay attention to what you can control
We all know it, but in times like these we can easily get caught up in stuff that we have no control over. So we have to consciously make an effort to examine what is going on in our world and sort them into three categories:
- What is out of our control
- What is within our control
- What is not important
Write down what is affecting you or is going on in your life on post-it notes. Write as many things down as you can. Have a rant, get it all off your chest and put them down on those notes of paper. When you have run out of things to write down, ask yourself is there something else that is hindering me at the moment? Make sure you have some spare post-it notes, as some other issues may well come up as you are sorting through all of your hindrance’s.
Now find yourself a space either on a wall, or table, even a big piece of wall paper. Divide this space into 3 sections using the titles above. Start sorting through your post-its. Initially just using 2 categories, what you can control and what you cannot.
Once you have done that concentrate on the out of your control category and take out any of them that are not important. If you are having trouble removing any, ask yourself these questions:
- In 6 months will this still be an important issue?
- Does it affect me directly?
Once you have whittled down your out of control section, you can concentrate on what is yours to control. First put them in order of priority. Which of these needs to be tackled first? Then what next, what next and so on until the list is prioritised.
Now look at the bottom of the list and decide if it is important enough to spend time and energy on . Keep repeating with each one until you get to an issue that does require your attention. It is then time to start planning what you are going to do to address those issues.
Control is now beginning to shift back to you, even though there are still issues that are out of your control, you are now exercising choice, by choosing to not spend time and energy on them.
Live in the present
As the famous explorer Miles Hilton-Barber said (and I paraphrase) we walk through life with enemies stood either side of us, our regrets of the past, and our fears for the future. If we spend too much time listening to either or both, we fail to notice and act on what is happening right now.
At the moment I find myself remembering the past, sometimes wishing I could have those times again, and sometimes wishing I had acted differently. Other times I find myself trying to make sense of a future where everything will be different. Both destinations are not terribly helpful if I spend too long in either. They can end up distorting my view of the here and now.
The only place worth being resident in is the present. The past and the future are useful as reference points to help you plan, to solve the issues you have control of in the here and now. Spending too long in those two destinations just encourages you to concentrate on issues out of your control.
The only place that actually exists is the present. The past and the future are a series of chemical reactions and electrical impulses in your brain.
Manage your personal emergence from the first wave by practicing to control only the issues that are in your power to control Accept and appreciate your past, even use it as a point of reference, to help you make plans in the here and now that may serve you well in the future. Don’t spend too long imagining your future, the only way to make the future is to act in the here and now.