This New Normal of Uncertainty & How to Relax

Are all the changes you are dealing with in this “new reality” having you more reactive that you normally are?  Are your relationships with family, friends and work colleagues being impacted?  Are you more emotional? I have always cried when I read or watch touching stories but it’s even more now.   I have Kleenex boxes in every room in the house and 3 in the living room!

Are you working from home and finding it more difficult to get things done and coordinate with colleagues or clients when you are not working physically together?  If you have been working from home all along, do the days run together and you are ready to go somewhere, anywhere?  If you have a business, are you trying to figure out how to prepare for this uncertain future when you’re not confident what your next move should be?

Uncertainty leads to fear and anxiety and, at the level of a global pandemic, can feel like the foundation of our life is unsteady.  The truth is that there is no certainty in life; however, human beings don’t like that. And much of the time, there is a predictability of our lives and we forgot life is not certain. The A/C works and your car runs when you turn it on, the people you love come home safely every day, and the supermarkets have food. Now we are present to the uncertainty of life in a new way.  We have lost friends unexpectedly.

How are you doing in this new world of uncertainty?

Really, how are you doing? I’d love to hear from you but it’s important for you to answer that honestly for yourself. Even if we consciously feel like we’re doing okay, the underlying fear and anxiety takes a toll. I have never had a panic attack until June, when I had several events happening at once requiring lots of website work to do and my laptop kept crashing. One night I had chest pain and we called 911. In the end, they found nothing wrong and I’ve since had a stress test and chest x-ray and blood work and it’s all good. So when I say we consciously feel like we’re doing okay, I speak from my own experience.  I stopped saying “yes” to every opportunity and putting extra pressure on myself. I’m checking in to see if my heart and soul want to do it, not just my mind or out of obligation or “I should” to build my business or support someone who asks for something. (This is what is meant by self-love and self-care, not manicures or massages. It’s nurturing your heart and soul.)

When we do not feel safe and secure, the thinking part of our brain (our frontal lobe) typically shuts down and the part of our brain that’s the emotional core (the amygdala) takes over. Hear the words “global pandemic” and “social distancing” and the amygdala is wired to have us respond the same way to the word as we would respond to an actual attack. Yeow!

When we act out of fear, or ignore it and push it down, we are usually reacting based on familiar survival habits from childhood. We can react in one of these modes: fight, flight, freeze, or please. Any of these four modes is still survival-based.

When the thinking part of our brain shuts down, and survival habits kick in, it’s very difficult to think clearly and easy to react. It’s important that we recognize our reactions so if they are not appropriate we can reel them in. Yelling, hitting or threatening someone we care about is inappropriate and can cause damage to your relationship. These “fight” reactions create an unsafe relationships. If someone is ready to hit you, or a stranger is coming at you in an aggressive manner, run or scream. Flight reactions like hiding from your partner or roommate to avoid talking about unpaid bills or skipping meetings because you don’t feel confident to speak out in your department meetings don’t work. All these reactions destroy other’s confidence in you and can put your relationships at risk.

We need to be able to see our survival reaction and that begins when we become aware of how they show up in our body. What I call fear can show up as some kind of dynamic movement in my chest or tightness in my shoulders.  What do you notice?  clenched jaw?  your hands in fists?  your stomach flip-flopping? If you can sense what’s happening in your body, and also sense into your heart, it can help you to understand what’s happening with you.

Being aware of our fear helps us own the fear; otherwise, our fear can own us.

Our Thoughts and Emotions are Contagious

Not only does the uncertainty trigger fear or anxiety and other negative emotions in us; our emotions are contagious!

If you are with someone who complains a lot, it’s contagious. And… if you are with someone who is optimistic, their positive attitude is also contagious.

What are you spreading?

I’m not saying be a Pollyanna but you have to manage your mind if you want to have any peace and happiness. And you being more present will undoubtedly support the people in your life to have some peace and happiness.

What can you do right now to calm yourself?  

Sit down, feel your feet on the floor and feel the support of the chair.

Sense in and see how you feel…

Take a nice slow breath in and as you breathe out, notice where there is any tension and let that part of your body relax. Don’t make the tension wrong. Say “hello” to it and invite it to relax or “let go.” Take a few more deep, slow breaths in and out, and relax.

You can do this breathing, sensing, and relaxing your body as long as you want.

As you settle yourself, how do you feel now?

If you are having challenges in your relationships at home and at work, it’s no wonder.

Everyone has some level of fear and anxiety.  When we are in fear, the logical part of our bran shuts down and the emotional part of our brain – and all our automatic survival reactions – defend or attack ready to defend or attach.

Instead of waiting for the other people to show you love, I recommend that you go first.

Don’t want to wait for them to give you the love, peace and happiness you want. Give it to yourself and then give it to others.

Everyone is doing the best you can. Your actions can elevate your relationship.

How do you start to give yourself love, peace and happiness? 

You can start to feel what you are feeling. Start where you are.  Take a few minutes and set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes.

Sit down and put your feet on the floor.  Feel the support of the chair and the floor.

Breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly.  Nice, slow breaths.  Let your jaw relax, your shoulders drop, and your body relax into the chair, even as you sit up

Let your heart open.  Let in the love I’m sending you.

If you’d like a supportive recording to help you settle in, relax, feel more confident, and be inspired, download a centering practice I made for you here.  If the link is missing, use the Contact form link below and I’ll send you the link to download the recording..

And if you need support, use the Contact form to reach out to me.

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