Life is busy these days. My wife said something profound to me last night that really hit home:
“There’s no time to “just feel” these days – to be sad, to sit with our emotions and process them without stress or worry, or to feel relaxed enough to be able to work through things before we need to get right back on the treadmill of work, family, sleep and repeat.” OK – that isn’t an exact quote, but you get the point, and so did I. It really dawned on me that we are more pressed to perform, to make profit and to feed the corporate machine than ever before. When you add to that the fact that we’re connected to the interned 24/7/365, it can feel like we never find time to “step back” in the name of self-care and nurturing. This is costing us dearly, but we must nevertheless adapt and uncover ways to cope with current trends and the speed of life.
Returning to What Was Once The Norm
There’s a ton of irony here: Growing up, the internet didn’t exist until l was half-way through high school. As kids and early teens, we used to bike around everywhere, walk places and be outside a lot of the time (during the warmer months, anyway). Adults had it the same. Yes, they worked and had busy schedules, but things like social media and smartphones weren’t even part of the equation at that point. We all had more time (seemingly, anyway) than we do now, and the pressures of the work world, though often intense, weren’t what they are today, with corporations hell-bent on quarterly profits that need to be raised at all cost with very little regard for human capital from a holistic wellness perspective.
We ate dinner together more often, ate out less (nutrition was better overall), saw each other in the community more often, had more face to face connections and didn’t have devices “surgically attached” to our hands. Was it all better? No way. There are huge benefits to the technology of today (I’m benefiting from the internet in a big way, and I’ll forever be grateful for that), but from a collective standpoint, the masses are more stressed, anxious and rushed than ever before, I strongly believe. Things are different than they’ve ever been, so we need to help society evolve toward learning new coping strategies and incorporating support structures into global society to help us collectively thrive – an initiative that benefits all of us, one that will increase profits, ironically.
Things we used to take for granted (like down-time and not being connected 24/7) are now prescriptive measures for helping to deal with current anxiety and stress, for example. How ironic, indeed.
Acceptance of a New Norm and of Finding New Ways to Cope
Things aren’t going to slow down…they won’t somehow go backwards to a slower time (as many of us knew it), so it’s important to both recognize and accept that fact, while also staying open-minded to ways of making our own “down-time,” or whatever you want to call it. We can’t keep going like robots – that isn’t good for our health. We know that. The thing is this: we need to stand up for ourselves and our self-care, because no one else is going to do it for us. Each of us can do this by being brave and learning to look at this as a huge opportunity to make a difference for ourselves and as a result, our loved ones, friends and others in society. Even if you spend most of your time behind a computer or phone, you still have contact with other people in some way, shape or form, so you impact them with your mood, your attitude and your sense of well-being (however good or unhealthy it might be at any given moment).
Be gentle on yourself as you figure things out, remembering not to compare yourself to others, and by all means, remembering to not give into your inner critic. That helps no one. There is a much better way through self-compassion, growth mindset, positive self-psychology and resilience. I’m proof that it can literally change your life when you buy into it.