Strange days, these. Don’t underestimate the stress we are living with. Some days are easier than others and my ability to manage it comes in waves.
A bad day begins with a feeling of uneasiness. Maybe nothing “happens” but the accumulation of annoying adjustments. The grocery store is out of toilet paper again, people aren’t wearing masks correctly, our country is run by a buffoon who prefers cronyism to science. My city has seen nightly protests against police violence which have been met with both violence and inaction. I fume behind my mask and rage in my car. Road rage? Outrage. I am so angry. I am sarcastic and snipe at my partner. This is my Hell-Zone.
A day or two later upon waking I feel sad and notice the anger is gone. I’m missing my friends, missing hugs, missing seeing clients in person. I miss touching things while shopping, smelling the fruit and trusting unwrapped fresh bread. I am wistful. The loss is acute and palpable. I want to crawl into bed and cry. It is hard for me to answer the phone when a friend calls; I don’t want to cry into the phone.
The next day is neutral. I can accept the adjustments without feeling personally harassed. I feel compassion for the lady throwing a tantrum in Costco: her Hell-Zone looks worse than mine. I am grateful for practices that encourage me to feel my feelings fully so they don’t explode like shrapnel.
And the next day I wake feeling light. I get up earlier to enjoy the silence or the sounds of the neighbor’s four-year-old daughter singing in the backyard. It is enough to sit still and breathe. My mood is kindness. I am not anxious, not worried about having enough money or toilet paper. I trust that I am fine, I will be fine. I feel joyful for no reason.
I have noticed this cycle in myself, my friends, and in clients. Recognizing that is it a cycle is helpful. I find my place in it and the world seems less chaotic. It doesn’t help with finding more money or toilet paper but it helps infinitely with my sense of wellbeing and my ability to relax into what’s happening now.