Respecting the roller coaster. Around we world, we are all riding a crazy roller coaster. The blueprints were never formally written for this roller coaster. Many of us feel like we have been thrust into a car and forced to go. At times, it feels like there is not even a safety bar on the car we are riding in. There are many twists and turns on this roller coaster.
And around the world, each country is steadily going uphill for the big climb.
The anticipation of the drop down the roller coaster sparks anxiety and fear. And then the drop hits. And we hang on for the ride.
Some of us are flying through dark tunnels, uncertain if the other side is a wall or if there is light. As we look down, we aren’t even certain if the roller coaster we are on is steel or a rickety old wooden coaster that could come crashing down at any time.
Our emotions are wild, vivid, and incredibly emotional. Few of us are likely to forget this shared experience.
Respecting the roller coaster?
We are all learning that in order to make it through the ride, we have to respect the roller coaster. Here are some ideas on how you can help balance your own roller coaster, to ensure you are more likely to have a steel frame than a rickety one:
- Establish a morning routine – make sure that the pattern you have each day repeats. This may feel silly or mundane at first if you haven’t done this before. This is the perfect time to embrace the mundane! By establishing a repeatable pattern your brain feels something familiar. The part of your brain that does things automatically kicks in and takes over. When this happens, it gives your mind a chance to calm down.
An example from my home – every morning I get up and make coffee. Then I make breakfast – eggs and bacon. The moment I pull out the skillet, my entire brain goes on autopilot. My mind recognises this is completely normal and calmly goes about its business. Before I know it, breakfast is ready and my mind feels centred.
- Take the opportunity to re-connect with people that you haven’t talked to for some time. This is a very emotional time. Many individuals are finding themselves thrust into remote work and are suffering the loss of their normal systems and routines. If you are not used to working this way, it can be tremendously disruptive as your sense of structure has disappeared.
Connecting with other people can help you through this time. A good place to start is colleagues that you admire and respect that you haven’t connected with for some time. Why this group? As you consider people you have worked with before or really admire, it triggers more positive emotions to help you on your roller coaster. Many of us have heard of the psychological benefits of scheduling vacations. Scheduling time to reconnect with people gives you a little of that vacation feel – the delicious anticipation of learning what has been happening in their lives. It is a fresh reason to smile.
- Practice grace – we are all having good days and bad days during this time. When the bad days come and you are feeling down or struggling, allow yourself the grace to feel and process it. We are all having good days and bad. The bad days are when we are at the bottom of our roller coaster. Continue to practice self-care as much as you are able and know that good days will come again. It’s the equivalent of making sure your safety bar is in the place in your roller coaster car.
The roller coaster is very real for all of us, and we don’t have a choice except to ride. The bad news is that we don’t know all the twists and turns that await us. There may be more dark tunnels mixed with steep drops. The good news of all is that we get to choose how we wish to participate on the ride.
What will you do on your roller coaster today?