It seems like before we knew it summer has come and gone. In it’s wake we still have high temperatures but it’s not lost on me that the days of sun and popsicles are soon to be replaced with turning leaves and everything pumpkin spice.
If I’m being honest, I have mixed emotions as I look back on these last three months. While I have nothing but gratitude for the warm days we were able to enjoy playing in our pool and work on our tan those days were also marred with the days of heightened emotions, stress, smoke, grief and other less than desired feelings. I guess you could say that’s been pretty on par for 2020 at this point.
2020 has tested us all.
As someone who tends to thrive in stability and predictability, it’s been a rough go. I used to believe admitting things were hard was a sign of defeat. I’ve come to realize that vulnerability is an asset. It means your ego has moved out of the way and you can have a clear picture of what is in front of you. In truth, admitting things are hard helps you grow. Growth happens through awareness and adversity.
It takes a stronger person to drop the (fake) smile, say things are hard, ask for help and grow than it does to continue to post happy, happy, happy photos all over social media and judge those that are struggling. You have to acknowledge the muck to be able to move through it. If you cannot identify a problem, you will never move and grow from that problem. It’s like, the law of humans or something. 😉
It’s not a pain competition.
We need to make room in society to let people have their struggles. One’s struggles will be unique to them depending on their life experiences, support system and capacities. It is not our place to judge. We cannot deem one’s struggle worthy or not based on our own rubric and life experiences. We’re all in agreement that we need a stronger mental health system available but in that same breath, I see a pattern of invalidating another’s struggles by proclaiming them to come from a place of unimportance, privilege or ignorance.
While those components obviously exist in our society, the truth is the vast majority of people still live in a situation that we are not immune from the struggles of being human. It’s not our place to judge another human struggle against our own. That doesn’t create a space for mental health support to do so. You have to understand, it is not a pain competition.
You cannot say you support mental health if you are in the next breath invalidating another’s.
Another’s struggle does not take away from your own or make yours better.
Now that we’ve acknowledged we all have a wide array of human struggle we deal with on a daily basis (that has obviously been exacerbated in 2020), where do we go from here?
Don’t get stuck in the muck.
We cannot get stuck in the muck. Whatever you do, do not get stuck in the muck. The longer you are in the muck, the harder it is to get out of. The quicker you realize where you are in that muck, the easier it will be to emerge from it.
The first step is of brutal honesty. Confronting where is it you are struggling, accepting your struggle is not bigger, better nor harder than others (although it may be, its irrelevant to your own situation) and identifying where the change needs to be implemented and grow from those changes.
Personally for me I have been struggling with “doing it all”. I do not have the capacity to be a full-time mom, part-time teacher, full time business owner, starting a new business, stay fit, cook healthy meals and maintain a home that doesn’t look like a tornado hit while we are all home, working, eating, sleeping, schooling etc. from it.
Human design doesn’t account for this level of persistent stress.
I, as a human, was not designed for all of this. None of us were. Add to that, our instant access to the woes of the world, the ability for anyone to reach us at any time and we’ve all become increasingly susceptible to the external chaos around us. It’s why so many people are struggling with anxiety, depression, etc.
So what to do? We’ve acknowledged what’s broken but now it’s time to implement actual change that will make an impact. For me personally, I need to tighten my world up a bit and pare things down to a manageable level. Not just in what I am able to accomplish in any one day but from a communications perspective as well. Meals need to be simpler, systems need to be put in place to manage work and my schedule needs to be rearranged to facilitate my new role as teach and distance learning aficionado. I can’t be on email, social media and text all day and need to slot that into a specific time. Setting boundaries within that are key. Identify your non-negotiables and stick with it.
Pick two things right now you can implement and commit to it.
It takes a bit of discipline to make those changes and set those boundaries. It will feel strange and take a bit of effort in the beginning but it will take place. In truth it takes strength. Mental resiliency needs to be part of health and wellness for all of us. That’s not exactly the “fun” Instagrammable moments of health but it exists and we all need to address it.
Acknowledge, implement and discipline.
So cheers to what I hope will feel like a lighter season this Fall. May me make the space in our life to accommodate for the outside stresses we cannot control.