Just to preface, these last two years of living in the pandemic have not been about taking risks, in fact, quite the opposite: many of us are so risk-averse that we still only make trips out of the house for essential goods and services.
Travel is still greatly hindered and monitored and borders that were once free are tightly controlled to reduce the risk of transmission during a pandemic. Most of us have now felt that letdown - the annual social gatherings with faraway friends and family: holidays, weddings, and other symbolic social gatherings that are missed out on and that can take a toll on our emotional well-being.
For most people though, the biggest jolt was felt when they found themselves facing loneliness when always being in the confines of their home. Working full-time jobs, raising and trying to educate children, taking care of household duties, and other simultaneous external demands were simply overwhelming.
Two years on and while the world is collectively working together to end the pandemic, many people are still working from home. Tasks that were once spread out into other arenas, or were given allotted time slots pre-pandemic have been all thrown together now and transitioning to permanently working from home has been a mixed-bag for a lot of people. Not surprisingly, working from home, or WFH, has increased feelings of isolation, boredom, and a sense of feeling trapped. According to a recent study published by the Journal of Occupational Medicine in March of 2021:
“For individuals who live alone, full time WFH without face-to-face interactions and social support everyday could contribute to mental issues such as social isolation and depression. For others, blurred work-life boundaries can make it difficult to detach mentally from work, which can increase stress and anxiety.”
If the isolation is hard for people who live alone then those who have families to raise face other challenges:
“A common area of concern in work-life boundaries is balancing work schedules around other family members, where, for some parents, work time becomes “porous” as they might need to take care of house chores and run errands in between their work meetings. In some cases, parents might choose to sacrifice their sleep hours and work at nights or early mornings since these are the only quiet hours where they could concentrate on work and avoid frequent interruptions. Ongoing work-family conflict can lead to emotional exhaustion.”
Putting Your Best Interests at Heart
of the Matter
“Self-care is your fuel … Whatever the road ahead or the path you’ve taken, self-care is what keeps your motor running and your wheels turning.”
— Melissa Steginus
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel emotionally exhausted and trapped but quitting your job or simply removing yourself from the responsibility of a family and household isn’t possible, then you wouldn’t be alone, But unfortunately, you also won’t be able to go on much further without reaching the point of breakdown.
It may take courage to admit that something is wrong because then there is no going back and ironically the most predictable aspect of life is unexpected chaos: we all know the parable of the Titanic: dangerous icebergs are most dangerous lurking behind the fog in calm waters. Indeed. So in order to improve our lot we must move from the known to the unknown, Yet, another unexplainable truth of the law of attraction in this life is that ‘for everything we want, there is something we must give up’. In this case, we sacrifice security on some level for the possibility of limitless personal expansion.
If you see it as a process that yields answers and revelations along the way, then you’ll be in the right place to start this: meaning you understand that eventually you’ll be asked to give up things that have defined you in the past to create a new you.
Here are five steps you can take that might change your life, but first, consider some preparation
It’s important to not have technology around. Make time in one-hour increments to work on your process. If it goes on longer, that is fine, but know that there will be some emotionally heavy-hitting issues put on the table, so make sure you leave enough time to heal yourself with the valuable self- love and tenderness if you need it afterwards.
I know this sounds strange, but you have to ‘talk to yourself’, and I mean out loud! When we let what is running around in our mind out, some of it is meant to be taken seriously, and then some of it is meant to be seriously laughed at. In this process remember levity is your greatest ally, nothing is unfaceable. Hearing it out loud somehow does the trick of letting the thought either move forward or go to the recycling bin.
You may be unhappy in a number of areas of your life, but complaining about it does not bring about change. Take responsibility- identify right now what is making you miserable.
2. Accept Risks
The riskiest step is always the first. But with every step in the right direction your courage muscles get stronger. Realize that risk leads to growth and it usually starts with fear, but rarely ends with it.
3. Focus Priorities
Value your needs. Remember to place value on your own well-being in every sense , not just physical, but starting with that first! Do not assume you have time later to address ‘you’ because you might not.
Having an “evolving” attitude inspires authority to renew yourself and make whatever changes will lead you to that renewal. Do you need to have more time to exercise, meditate, socialize, and / or be alone? Discover whatever it is that will make you feel good and make time to do it often and unapologetically.
5. Face Your Fears
If you are afraid of a certain event such as a marriage crisis, or burnout from a job, or even a medical emergency, do not wait for said crisis to occur before having an awakening about the quality and value of your life. Good pilots anticipate and train for in-flight scenarios of disaster and malfunction and they are familiar with alternate methods to calmly and safely bring the plane down in an emergency.
You’re the pilot of your life and you can save it when something goes wrong!