Slowing down and turning inwards
- Claire Hurwitz
- June 12, 2020
Due to current circumstances with COVID-19, we are faced having to fill plenty more hours in the day due to the restrictions placed on us.
For many people this has been an anxiety-provoking experience.
Because a key element that serves as a source of satisfaction, abundance, distraction, or perhaps a time-filler for many of us, has been taken away – the external world (such as going to the office, to the gym, socialising or travel).
You may find yourself feeling pressured to continue to DO and achieve, yet feeling like you’re not making progress. If you find that these feelings are leading you to be self-critical…then this article is for you.
I recently listened to a Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert “It’s OK to feel overwhelmed” which really struck a chord with myself and led me into a reflective process.
During this unprecedented time with COVID-19, a general message that seems to be circulating social media, blogs, articles, and so forth is to view this as an opportunity rather than a hindrance. To follow your passion and get creative, or to find your true purpose in life.
Typically, reframing one’s mindset from something more negative (i.e. a limitation) to something more open and positive (i.e. an opportunity) is helpful and proactive. However, where it might become more problematic for some people is when we start to think about what the counter-message to ‘finding your purpose’ might be for some people.
We may be feeling that:
- we’re not doing enough,
- that we’re not doing life right
- that we’re supposed to be uncovering some particular talent that we have but aren’t yet aware of.
What these string of thoughts do is firstly place significant pressure on ourselves to keep doing and achieving. Then, by default, we turn to our external world with the hope to experience feelings of happiness, value, and wholeness.
However, the focus on the external world can often lead to an increase in self-critical and self-defeating thoughts, which in turn exacerbates anxiety, low mood, and a sense of general dissatisfaction.
Stop and be curious
Whilst this is a fantastic time to work towards achieving goals or ticking off those tasks that one has been procrastinating, this is also a beautiful moment in time to stop and be curious.
To find some distance from our default mode which is to do do do, and instead, connect with our being.
When your internal voice next perks up and instructs you to continue with that work project, exercise goal, or whatever else it may be, I wonder if you can try and put those thoughts to the side. Instead, become curious about what it is that’s in front of you and that you have access to in that present moment…which is you.
See this as an opportunity to connect with your internal world. How are you feeling? What are you needing?
It’s likely that what you’re needing in that very moment, is not to go back to your busy schedule and goal list. Rather it’s a basic human fundamental need such as:
- a nourishing meal; or
- some form of exercise or movement.
You might even find that turning inwards rather than choosing to do and achieve leaves you feeling more nourished, satisfied, and calm.
Avoid unrealistic expectations
However, for those of you who are working towards specific goals or picking up on some of those tasks that have been put to the side, often it’s the mindset we have and our underlying beliefs that can be unhelpful.
We tend to place high and at times unrealistic expectations on ourselves and can dip into an all-or-nothing mindset.
A more helpful way to achieve goals during this time and all-round is to set a goal and slowly work towards achieving it.
Unpack the goal into small, realistic and achievable steps.