In this pandemic, I have personally found a lot of communication on how to de-stress, be positive, keep my spirits high which is helpful sure. But I did not understand what to then do with this whole new level and type of stressful emotions and thoughts that kept knocking my mind and body’s door unexpectedly, knocking me down completely.
I’m in the middle of cooking food for my dog and stressing about whether my dog is stressed out about me being stressed out and how might he cope with his stress considering he doesn’t have a therapist or for that matter anyone to really talk to. Emailing an invoice to a client and stressing over whether they are going to be paying me on time or not stressing about whether their revenue is affected or not and how that might be affecting their team members’ mental health and overall well-being. Eating my food and stressing about how so many are starving out there, have been starving since ages and now the pandemic is only worsening it. Studying my psychology masters books and stressing over whether I will even be alive to really put all of what I’m learning into practice. Okay I won’t get darker than this but you get the gist I suppose.
What I found helpful for me is intentionally setting aside time to stress over stuff. This made my stressful emotions feel important and heard, they respected me scheduling time for them and hence stopped (or at least drastically reduced) showing up unexpectedly when I’m in the middle of other scheduled stuff.
The stressing slot also had to be increased or decreased based on what was going on around me. On the days people around me were safe and I hadn’t watched news, I was less stressed out and more able to go about my regular schedule. On such days, I would set aside my evenings to feel my stressful thoughts, talk about them to my partner. On some days I'd even take a 15min break every couple hours to talk about my stressful emotions and let them out. On the more difficult days, usually the days when I allow myself to watch some news and communicate with people I know, I was bound to hear about someone close being positive or dying or other stressful news, I would set aside a large chunk of the day to feel my stress and to express it by talking to my partner or by writing it down or by crying out and napping after or by jumping up and down and releasing it through my body.
Something for you to reflect on: 1. Are stressful thoughts impacting your focus through the work day? If yes, would you like to try scheduling a specific time to stress? 2. What time of the day would you like to set aside for stressing over things? 2.Would you like to have one long stressing out slot, or multiple check-ins throughout the day that you do with a friend? Hope this helps you live your days with more intentionality and creativity. A lot of my work as a creativity coach focuses on intentional performance and hence also productivity. But never at the cost of one's well being as it is always counter productive. Here's an article by Cal Newport that elaborates on this thought. Leaving you with an excerpt from it: "What’s the best way to keep getting things done on truly distracting days? My answer: don’t. Productivity is a slippery term. It’s often used to refer exclusively to the rate at which you produce value for your business or employer. I tend to apply it more broadly to describe the intentional allocation of your time and attention toward things that matter to you and away from diversions that don't."