I recently read a post on FB about how now is not the time to keep exercising or learning how to play an instrument, because of anxiety and stress about the coronavirus.
This is, of course, a perfectly valid way to live your life. Give your brain free rein and let it freak you out and hijack how you spend your days. Living in fear, passing on fear to others, and making decisions out of fear (or stress or anxiety).
Or you can clean up your mental hygiene and give yourself permission to not freak out or indulge in your anxiety, even if the REST OF THE WORLD IS.
You simply (simple but perhaps hard to do) change your thinking about the situation. Rather than stress about what you can’t control, allow your mind to tell you what it fears, acknowledge that, and then consciously search out the opposite of the fears of what your brain is telling you. For example, you can say that the economy is tanking and global recession and job loss – feeling the total fear and anxiety from this. You can then look at where there are bright spots; government stimulus, grocery stores and online businesses doing really well. People able to continue working at home, helping neighbors, and more.
You Have 30 (or 60?) Days. What Will You Do With It
You have 30+ more days of this lock down. Do you really want to stress out and over eat and over drink to manage your anxiety? Or do you want to maybe come out of the lockdown with the ability to play the piano? Or having lost 8 lbs? Or having read your full reading list? Or having all of your closets organized and your house finally deep cleaned?
After spending a week coming to terms with our new reality and allowing myself to freak out a bit and come up with a new normal, I’m excited about all that I can accomplish over the next month. I personally have set my goals and I’m looking forward to working on a bit of them each day, until the 30 days is up.
Anxiety Gets You Nowhere
Anxiety will keep your brain laser focused on all the threats outside. Update your thinking by updating your thoughts, whatever that looks like for you. All you have in your control are your thoughts about your circumstances. Get excited about how you can use this opportunity for changing habits and updating behavior.
Set Your Goal
To make it easier, come up with one goal for the next 30 days. Because it’s easy and measurable, I will use the example of weight loss. Many of us are over eating right now, unable to get to the gym or our yoga class, and the fridge is RIGHT THERE every day all day. So you’ve got 30 days, or 4.25 weeks. That’s say, an 8 lbs weight loss for the month. Or you can organize all your closets this month. You’ve got 8 (or 5 or 12) closets, that means two per week of it’s 8 closets.
How to Set and Keep Your Goal
Set out your measurable goal. Break it down into bite sized tasks (no pun intended).
If it’s weight loss, what is your plan of attack? Will you be reducing your carbs? Will you be using intermittent fasting to kick start your weight loss? Get specifics what what will change. Then plan for tomorrow. If you’re doing IF (which I do), plan for your window opening and closing tomorrow and stick with it. Plan your meals (and for your family’s if applicable).
If it’s your closets, look at your closets and really catalogue mentally what’s in there . Allow your brain to start working out what should go and what should stay. Allow your brain to work on how to solve what you’ll do with the stuff that needs to go. Will you trash it? Will you put it in the garage to give away? When do you have time to start organizing? Two per weekend? 1 hour per day? Let you brain loose.
Use visualization each morning and night to keep you motivated and focused. Really imagine the scale at the end of the month showing you the new weight. Feel your body and how much better you sleep and how much looser your clothes will be. Really get into it and allow yourself to feel the buzz. Your brain will get to work while you sleep, helping you come up with ways to solve this puzzle.
Think of the closets and how much lighter you’ll feel being able to use the closets quickly and easily and that you’re no longer burdened with items you don’t want. Picture them as complete neat and tidy. Again, your brain will get to work while you sleep, helping you come up with ways to solve this puzzle.
Keep Changing Your Thoughts to Those That Serve You
If your brain comes up with something about how you can’t get it done, notice your thoughts and upgrade the thought. Allow it to be and allow it yourself to acknowledge it as it really it. And then change the thought to one that will serve and empower you, allowing you to feel better.
Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat. You have 30 days to use. Use them to serve you.
And then do the work. Open and close your IF window. Use the weekend to clean your closets. No excuse. Just do it. It’s 30 days.
You got this!