I can guarantee 2020 is different from how you planned it would be. The last eight months have brought multiple challenges to everyone across the world. In the United States we’re living through a pandemic while a highly polarized presidential election and its aftermath are happening around us. As far as I can tell, everybody’s anxiety has increased. I’m constantly speaking with my clients about the importance of striking a balance.
When it comes to the news there’s a difference between staying informed versus being consumed. I understand the desire to read everything. This often is a way people try to feel more in control and as though they can prepare for what’s coming. The problem is that checking the news constantly, or even four times a day, often results in rereading the same story that is written in slightly different ways. Pay attention and I bet you’ll start to notice this happening to you. Best to stop reading once it sounds familiar. My clients who take my suggestion about limiting time for the news tell me that it helps decrease their anxiety.
Balance comes in the form of eating as well. This is always true. Both the how and what we eat can be easily triggered by this unique time in our lives. Aside from being mostly at home surrounded by whatever food we choose to keep in the house we also have that food available at any moment. It’s easy to grab something for its comfort rather than its nutritional value. There are going to be times when you choose the comfort and that’s okay. The majority of people have at one point in their lives had a complicated relationship with food. Many cultures associate food with both joyous and tragic times. What’s most important is understanding your own choices and finding the times when you want to give in to the extra indulgence and the times that you don’t.
Another favorite way for me to balance is through the books that I choose to read. A nonfiction book discussing important but often depressing topics is read in between a lighter fiction book that helps me escape reality. I do the exact same thing with TV shows. This type of balance works well for me. I get to turn my brain off sometimes and get more into deeper thoughts others.
I find the most crucial balance comes from acknowledging our feelings (ones deemed negative) versus being full of positivity. There can be a lot of pressure on people to be grateful all the time and happy with what they have because inevitably someone will always have less than them. It is good to be grateful and I have even suggested to clients that they start writing down things they’re grateful for. I only recommend this after we’ve explored all the other feelings they’re having. It’s important to feel sad, angry, and even jealous when those feelings are present. Processing those feelings is what truly helps us move forward.