Right now most of us are dealing with change across multiple areas of our lives: work, family, social and recreational. It’s a lot to deal with all at once. It’s normal to feel tired and overwhelmed at times. Adjusting to change is challenging, and to be dealing with it on multiple fronts with uncertainty is particularly difficult. But it is also an opportunity.
Right now it feels like your world is upside down. You may feel uncertain of your (and your family’s future). You may already be unsure about your business and job situation. And of course, the main concern- your health and that of your loved ones.
I want you to know that it’s okay to feel completely thrown off balance by all this. I want to share what the common experience of dealing with a crisis, a loss and change are for most people.
I want you to understand that what you’re feeling is normal and very human. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. We all have a similar experience when it comes to loss and change.
I also want to remind you that you are resilient. For almost all of us, this is not our first experience of a crisis in our lives. It may be the biggest one you’ve seen, maybe not. But a lot of us have already seen and experienced difficult times before.
If you have ever grieved, lost or left everything you know and completely started over… you already have the skills to be resilient. You may need to be reminded, but you still know deep within, that it will be okay. You will manage it. Your world may not be same again, but you will emerge stronger and more compassionate. It is the vulnerability that you’ve already embraced that will be your strength.
For now though, you might be at the surface level where the waves are rough and there is little stillness. At the beginning of a major crisis when the chaos is still whirring, you may experience some challenging feelings and thoughts.
It is common in a crisis to experience one or more of the following:
Feelings of overwhelm and powerlessnessNo, we cannot control the world. When the world reminds us of this in a big way, it can be very overwhelming. We experience feelings of powerlessness. We feel as if we’ve been beaten down.
This is a normal reaction to big changes that you didn’t choose to make.
Are you posting angry comments on social media? Are you complaining about the government? The people that bought all the toilet paper? Large unexpected changes can trigger anger in many of us. Underneath anger is usually fear, so be compassionate with yourself and others if you come into the firing line.
Anger can surface when we feel fearful or threatened by a situation.
When we experience any change, there can be a sense of loss. Even positive changes can still leave us contemplating “how it was before”. Change on a large scale, as we are all experiencing, will cause many of us to feel sad for the way things are(because they are not the same as before). You may also experience sadness about the impact generally on people’s health and lives.
Sadness is a part of processing change for most of us.
Feeling tired or exhausted
Stress and change will make you tired. At the moment you are likely experiencing a lot of both of these.
It’s normal to be feeling more tired than usual.(Although I do note, that if you have other symptoms that also accompany the tiredness, seek your GP’s advice)
Panic and anxiety
If you’ve read any of my posts or come to a workshop about habits, you know already that our human brains don’t like change. Change requires more effort from your brain ( it’s got to create new neural pathways) and it basically freaks it out. Our brains get freaked out by change because it is unfamiliar and potentially a threat. Throw in a health epidemic on a global scale and it’s easy to predict that many of us are experiencing anxiety or even panic.
Panic and anxiety can be experienced when the human brain kicks into survival mode without regulation. By regulation I mean you becoming aware or managing your thoughts. Read more about that here.
Loss of identity or sense of self
You might not feel like yourself right now. All things familiar are drying up and you’re not sure of your place in the world. Many of us attach our identity to our roles in society and they are currently being disrupted. You are also likely experiencing a shift in your personal values. In the midst of large scale life changes, we can often reassess (consciously or unconsciously) what we truly value.
Feeling a shift in your identity and values is often part of the change process and dealing with a crisis.
I hope that sharing this information about how we experience change and difficult times has helped you in some way. My aim is just to set you at ease that it’s okay to be feeling these things right now. Be compassionate with yourself and others and most importantly, implement coping strategies now to get you through what will be an extended period of disruption.
Here are some helpful links to help you manage yourself, your emotions and thoughts: