Focus, a schedule, and a routine, or at least a familiar, consistent routine, may be hard to come by, as the response to COVID-19 has altered how we want to or how we can use our time.
Maybe it feels a bit like groundhog's day? Maybe you're overdoing it and busier than usual? Maybe you're numbing and shutting down? Maybe you've lost track of what routines work for you? Fair and understandable.
In can feel easier, in challenging times, to throw in the towel when it comes to our habits and schedules. To want to escape. What I know, however, is that an unsupervised mind, a mind that heads off into daydreams, is a mind more easily stressed and overwhelmed. When the mind strays, it's more likely to stray in the direction of anxiety or unpleasant things.
I wish I had a map out of my mind, so I could find a way through my thoughts, without always getting lost in a field of daydreams. - Unknown
It's not daydreaming, but the act of being pulled around by our thoughts that saps energy and leads to overwhelm. A mind guided and present, engaged in an activity, a mind with a plan, (even doing ordinary tasks, like removing crayon from the walls or meal planning) is a mind that can relax.
Focusing your time, and therefore your mind, is an act of resilience, and will increase your ability to handle what is, improve confidence, and activate peace.
You may be feeling out of control or anxious, angry or bored, lethargic or frustrated, or all of these. Fair and understandable. One way to start shifting to a slightly better feeling is to set yourself up with three specific strategies:
1. Accept that it may be different, harder, or more stressful right now and that your energy, commitments, and how you use your time have shifted. You don't have to like it, but wishing it away won't work. Acceptance is responding to what is.
2. A.C.T. - Action Changes Things - Changes how we feel, provides feedback, and creates energy. Plan out a few segments or chunks each day. It isn't about doing a lot or filling every minute, but rather, being mindful and present and giving your brain a target to focus on. We feel some control with a routine, and therefore, feel more solid when we have a plan.
Having something to look forward to is energizing, and having something to complete is fulfilling.
3. Accomplish something each day to create feelings of pride and confidence. Sometimes what you accomplish will be a few minutes of daydreaming, but you choose when you let the mind wander and stray! This simple act and decision of where and when you direct your focus can have a large impact on mood, effort, and resilience. Then, notice and acknowledge everything that you tried, worked on, or finished each day - the small things, are the big things!
The message is, I can choose where I put my focus and this is an empowered way to show up, especially in a time, when many things are out of your control.
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