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May 19, 2020

COVID-19: 5 Ways to Take our Power Back when it feels like we have None.

Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon

~

The world has changed dramatically in the last six months. 

We’ve gone from a place of ease and overindulgence, to a time of quiet, fear, and solitude.

The everyday conveniences of life, and fun escapes of movies and happy hours, have been put on hold while we wait for further direction from health officials who are doing their best to safely guide us through this uncertain time. And in the meantime, we have time—lots of it—to think about all the things we want and don’t want to ponder.

But it may not be such a bad thing, depending on how we use it. Plenty of people are taking this time to explore other corners of themselves. Possibly using it to cultivate an art hobby or learning to make bread, or maybe both. But perhaps this time could be better spent examining what we have, and what we no longer need. It is Spring, after all. Time to clean the house.

The idea of cleaning up and simplifying my life became abundantly clear to me after I found myself getting sucked into another unproductive debate with people I didn’t know on a Facebook post. Why was I giving my energy to these random people who added no value to my life? And how often do I do that in my regular every day activities? Random people that I have literally no personal relationship with do not deserve to take up real estate in my mind, or yours for that matter.

So how do we take our power back?

Well, here is what helped me. Mind you, I am a people pleaser, which probably makes these actions seem far more simplistic to those who don’t struggle with this personality trait. But, I believe these tips to be important regardless of their simplicity. 

5 Tips for taking our power back:

1. Turn it off.  You are under no obligation to pay attention to everything that is presented to you. It amazes me how many people are on my “friends” list that I actually don’t know or even worse, don’t like. In an effort to spring-clean, it’s time to clear out these energy vampires, so you have more to invest in the people who are actually deserving of your time.

2. Nourish your body and mind. Think about how your body feels when you eat right for a few days. More energy, more stamina, you think and perform more clearly…Now, think about applying that same principal to your mind. What would you be capable of doing if you stopped paying attention to the things that don’t serve your greater good? Let’s face it, there is a lot of toxic stuff out there that we can choose to feed our minds with, but what if we decide to fuel our brains with healthy and hopeful material instead? I would argue that your mood and mindset would shift drastically.

3. Practice gratitude. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Just pick three things you are thankful for. And when life happens on a Tuesday, and some guy honks at you on your morning commute when you obviously had the right of way, train your mind to come back to what you’re grateful for. Your energy is better spent on that than sinking into the negative, and you will benefit from the investment. Flex your gratitude muscle.

4. Move your body. We don’t have to train for a marathon, but sometimes going out for a walk is just what we need to shift to a healthier mindset. I have a 12-year-old-son who struggles with anxiety and can easily get himself worked into a frenzy. I believe that’s probably true for a lot of us these days. It’s amazing how the simple act of going for a walk can lift the veil of anxiety, and help calm him in a matter of only a couple of blocks.

5. Phone a friend. A good one. One who builds you up and listens to you when you’re struggling without judgement, but who will also hold you accountable (in a kind and loving way) if you are being irrational and need to be brought down to the real world. If you have a friend like this, treasure them. They are worth far more than the 1,000 potential followers you may or may not ever acquire on Instagram, and they will add so much more to your life.

Pretty simple stuff, but I would say that like most simple things, they are often the most important. And they are easy ways to get yourself out of the quagmire of yuck that can seem so easy to get stuck in these days.

Consider this time an opportunity for a remodel, if you have the ambition to take it. And if you don’t right now, because you’re stuck, that’s okay too. Freeing yourself from patterns of behavior that have taken years to develop isn’t easy stuff.

It’s hard work, but it’s arguably the greatest investment of your time and energy, and it always will be you. 

~

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