We’re all thinking and talking about our state of mind, what we shouldn’t be doing, and ways to adapt, cope, and re-organize daily life. In fact, lately there’s been plenty of what I like to call “bad news elephants.” Some are truly the equivalent of a trumpeting 6,000 kg pachyderm that eats 330 pounds of vegetation and drinks 26 gallons of water a day.
Yes, COVID-19, vaccine shortages, long-term care outbreaks, lockdown discomforts and dare I say it, US election madness are all, terribly bad news elephants that have invaded our space. They’re also trumpeting at and dragging down our families, support workers and friends.
So much is beyond our control, so try to brighten your day and get the unnecessary elephants out of your space by:
1.Changing your focus: Stop looking at the elephant. In other words, purposefully turn away from doom and gloom newscasts and social media posts and negative nellies that affect your energy.
2. Create good news: Name a family hero or friend that you’d like to thank or recognize. A simple email/ sticky on the fridge/ a bunch of tulips (draw them or download a picture if you can’t deliver the real thing).
3. Set reminders: Head down and carry on mode seems to be the way many of us are coping with our caregiving, family and job responsibilities. Set reminders for breaks, quiet moments and distractions.
4. Slow down and listen: Take moments of respite twice a day and listen to yourself. Breathe. Take a moment be respectful and mindful of those around you and your responsibilities. Before a task, consider how long you can dedicate to it and the impact it’ll have on you.
5. Be engaged in a new way: Plan difficult conversations especially if you need to move an elephant. Think about different perspectives. Listen deeply, use eye contact, open body language, and empathetic responses. After all, the safer and more trusting you both feel, the easier it will be to share and find solutions.
6. Change your mantra: COVID-19 has become a sad, elephant-like daily word we use and hear a lot. When you hear it, whisper “spring is coming” to yourself. With a little luck, it’ll help drown out those noisy elephants and get you thinking about apple blossoms and sunshine.
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