The pressure from every angle can feel like we a being squeezed at the moment. Speaking to friends it is evident that many of us are being squeezed not just for our finances, but for our time, our emotions and our attention.
A friend of mine recently was talking about the pressure to support and care for elderly parents, to provide financial, practical and emotional support for adult children, to deliver a high level of performance at work with less and less resources, and from each other as a couple to spend quality time with each other. My experiences are not exactly the same as yours might not be, but I definitely resonate with the sentiment of it, as you may well do.
These pressures however are normal and are an expected aspect of grown up life, up until recently we would soak up these pressures and carry on. We probably would not experience them all at once, and if we did we would accept that we may have short term pain and it would eventually pass.
That was when our bandwidth was set to default, the problem is all our default factory settings do not cut it in the batshit crazy world we are currently experiencing. This increasingly volatile, and uncertain world has had a profound effect on us all and has successfully managed to narrow our bandwidth but almost permanently putting us in a continual threat state. Therefore most things we encounter become a threat to our well-being, so we respond to them accordingly.
We are less tolerant of each other, we are more emotional than usual, we want to hide away from the world more, we start to lack energy, get indigestion, our sleep is disturbed, and everything becomes a burden. When I am feeling this way I find it really hard to see anything positive. I become a self-fulfilling prophecy, I start looking for evidence to confirm and justify my belligerence with the world.
This is when I know it is time to redress the balance and deliberately make an effort to look for what makes me happy. It is vital to counteract the confirmation bias with some critical thinking, to look for an alternative view of the world you are currently seeing. The world is incredibly challenging, but there is still plenty to be grateful for, that brings us joy. The reason it is vital is to complete our stress cycle to get our threat state to stand down so we can physically recover ready for the next real threat, and reduce all those unpleasant symptoms described above.
Recently I have found a number of activities have helped me see beyond a world of pain an misery, one is writing my blog and talking about how I feel, one is spending time with fellow coaches and supervisors that are willing to listen to me, without judgement and solutions, to allow me to sort through all my emotions and discard those emotions that were not serving me and keep those that served me well, and most importantly facilitating coaching both individually and in groups. All of these things bring me joy, make me feel socially safe and therefore completing my stress cycle.
The world is still batshit crazy, but my bandwidth has been restored for now. It will narrow again, that is a certainty, the key is not to late it narrow too much. Keep looking for moments of joy, and find someone to talk things through with. If you work in an uncertain complex industry then consider working with a coach to help you park and make sense of those emotions swirling in your head, to help you have clarity on what really needs your attention.