The following 6 questions are questions I have been asking my clients as we begin to step into the ‘new norm’ of life. Our world has been changed and many lives too by something that is out of our control. I believe it is time that we took back the control of our own lives and look at the changes we want to make in them to create our own better future.
Over the past 6 months some people have been reflecting, others too overwhelmed to take the time needed to reflect due to changes in everyday life. Working from home and home schooling to name but 2 of these. The changes however, do not need to be seen as negatives, but opportunities. I appreciate this me be difficult for some to take on board, but we have choices. We can choose to take hold of these opportunities and see where they take us or we can let them pass us by and stay stuck in the void that some may believe there is no way out of.
This is why today I decided to share these questions with you, to help you reflect and possibly look at things in a different light that will guide you in a different direction than you thought you were heading. They will help you evaluate your life right now and how you would like the next 6 months to look like, the changes you are wanting and willing to make. They may also help you to focus on what lessons you have already learnt and what lessons can be learnt now and in the future.
I will begin with an introduction to each question the ask the question, followed by some examples of the replies I received to get you started……..
The first question is asking you about you life right at this moment…..
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day is a breeze for me, I do not let anything hold me back.
If I organise myself the night before, I have found that I am able to face most of what the day has in store for me.
A typical day for me is full of challenges, so much so I do not know where to start and most of the time I do not want to get out of bed.
My typical day for me I find so stressful, trying to keep everyone going and not having time for myself.
For me a typical day is trying to find new ways to deal with the ‘new norm’ but by the end of the day I am exhausted.
I have found positive ways to help me with whatever the day brings. Not easy, but I am trying.
A typical day for me if I am honest has not changed, I get up, go to work, come home, rinse and repeat.
A typical day for me is to try and look at all the things I am grateful for and look for positivity and solutions.
A typical day for me is like Groundhog Day in the sense that its like living the same day over and over again
As you can see the answers are very varied and you will have your own to add to the mix. The important thing I want to point out here is that you do not have to create a magical day every day, but look at the day you are having in any given moment and look at ways you can change things so that you could have a better day than it started out as. Remember the choice is yours.
I appreciate many find it difficult to know what to do to change. There are many strategies you can use, asking for help is one that I feel is paramount so you are not facing things on your own
The next question looks at what concerns you have about your life moving forward in light of the last 6 months.
What are your biggest pandemic concerns?
Getting all the mixed messages is making me so confused I do not know what I am supposed to be doing to keep safe.
What doe sthe future hold if I cannot work or if I lose my job.
I do not really have any concerns, it is out of my control so what can I do about it. I am just trying to get on with my life the best way I know how.
Worried about how will it affect my children.
For me its not so much concerns about the pandemic now, but what it has done to me overthe last 6 months.
Worrying that I may contract the virus is my main concern.
There is too much scare mongering and not enough talk on how to really move forward.
Everyone’s situation is different and the views of the last 6 months are bountiful and thrown at us from all directions. The worries and fears are all over the scale. It is the actions we take on these worries and fears that make a difference to each and every one of us. How one reacts can be swayed by your emotions. Here is something that you may find interesting about Emotional Archetypes that may help you to process what is going on for you. Remember it is your views and beliefs that matter, and where you here and get your information from. This leads me to the next question which looks at where you are getting your news and information and whether it is a good and reputable source.
Where are you getting your news and information from?
The World Health Organization.
The NHS Website (UK only)
I look at all the news channels on the internet and then compare the stories.
Online and offline newspapers
The Government websites.
It could debated that although the source is varied, some are more reputable than others and it is vital that you take the time to question the information you are receiving and not take it on face value, but research and explore more. Like someone said in an earlier question about scare mongering, it can be difficult to know what is truth, what is a version of the truth and what is something made to be news worthy. I do not include this to add to the fears and worries, but to express the impotance of getting your information from the best sources.
Question 4 looks at social media what it means to us, what we use it for and whether is is helping us or making things worse.
What social media platforms are you using and how much time are you spending on each one of them and what are you getting out of this time?
Spending time on social media can be a great way to cope with your negative mental health issues during the last 6 months and moving forward into the ‘new norm’ especially if you are interacting with others, finding things that make you laugh or keep your spirits up. It could be suggested though that social media can also have a negative effect on individuals if they are spending too much time looking at all the negativity that can be found on some of the platforms. One client said they stopped going on Facebook because it was keeping them down and they started to spend more time on YouTube finding funny things to watch to lighten their mood.
I also asked other participants during this question, if they were aware of how they felt before they went on social media and after. It is interesting to note that many were not aware of these feelings or the affect social media had on them. It maybe be worth having soem awareness here in order to use social media more effectively and gain from it what you want to. Those who used video calling or zoom for the social interaction with friends and family said that it made them feel closer to each other and allowed the lack of social interaction off line be more tolerable.
Social media is powerful, but use it wisely is my advice.
Where are you getting your laughs from?
The Endorphins in your body are the chemicals that promote an overall sense of well-being and are known to temporarily relieve you of pain Laughter is one of the ways that trigger your Endorphins and these in turn protect the heart. Laughter allows the Endorphins to improve the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
The answers that were shared about laughs and laughter were:
Interaction with others in the family environment or via zoom quizzes
Watching funny films
Watching their favourite comedy program.
Going on YouTube and watching funny videos of naimals an children
Playing games in the home with the children and other family members
One participant said they went to their childhood joke book
I can so resonate with laughter being the best medicine. When I was dealing with my negative mental health issues, Ground Hog Day, Father Ted, and Fawlty Towers were amongst my go-to laughter and mood shifters. It is important to surround yourself with as much laughter as possible especially when you are feeling at your lowest.
We are now at our final question, I appreciate you may have many more and I am happy to guide you through if they have not been covered here. Reach out, let’s talk. The final question is about your needs and wants in life.
What do you need and want more of in your life right now and how you going to change your life?
I don’t need anything elss in my life right now. What I want is to find a happier life with what I already have.
Interaction with other people I am so lonely
More activities to keep me occupied
I need a job, I want to work.
I need to find my purpose, I want a purpose in life.
I need more fun in my life right now
I want to find ways to live a better life.
I need a holiday
I want rid of my face mask
Playing with my grandchildren.
I feel the final question is the biggest question, the one that will potentially bring the most joy to us all. When we begin to think about what new things we can bring into our life, what new things will we try, what will we do differently.
The above questions and the answers I have included, highlight how we re all affected differently by what is happening in the outside world and how as individuals we react to things in so many diverse ways. What works for one person, does not necessarily work for another and it is paramount that we are mindful of this in order to be of support to each other rather than critisise.
Every day I see the effects the last 6 months is having on people and the examples I have shared above are some of what they have to say. I hope that by sharing it with the world, it brings some ease and lifts the spirits, one to know you are not on your own going through what you are going through and two to show people alternative ways of getting through and stepping forward into the life they want to live in the future.
If this time we are living in has you spinning, stumbling, not sure what to do or where to turn then reach out let’s see what changes we can guide you to make to live a life you love.