The word on the street (actually the streets are empty) is that there will be more babies born in 2021. I don’t know, I fear there may be more divorces and waiting lists at Betty Ford Clinics.
We are all dealing with the unknown, and the unknown triggers anxiety. It’s as if we are all in a constant state of disequilibrium.
Those I’ve talked to who are single are wishing they had a partner. The lack of adult interaction is isolating and can be depressing. Those married are becoming increasing aware of how their partners chew and breathe. I took my husband’s bag of potato chips away because the sight and sound of his mindless eating was making me insane. He had a tantrum and told me, “I’m not a child, and you’re not in charge of my chips.” Speaking of children, since mine are no longer at home I asked my cousin Jess how the day goes with three children at home. She was quick to reply, “They have more time than usual, yet they can’t put their dishes in the dishwasher or make their bed. Oh, wait, they don’t get out of bed until noon. They are wearing the same clothes for consecutive days. All they do is eat. No sooner do I get into something do I hear, “Mom, I’m hungry”. … forget about trying to get actual work done. I’m constantly being asked a question or asked to look at something or just listen to a story. A little absence wouldn’t be bad to make the heart grow fonder.”
So, it’s no wonder we all might be craving some alcohol. On a more serious note, you might have received bad news, and your instinct is to drink or consume something to numb the pain. I’m noticing the desire to numb the worries is increasing. How do we put our worries aside? We may experience the urge to seek relief from unease by turning to food or alcohol.
Those of you that know me personally know that I am no teetotaler. But there is difference between having a drink on a Friday or Saturday night socially with friends and getting into the habit of consuming an evening drink to forget the current state of the world. It is through practicing presence, we can catch ourselves. Each of us has the ability to step back, and observe what is happening, almost as a witness. We can notice the urge but avoid acting on it. It’s the difference between mindfully enjoying a glass of Guinness or mindlessly consuming anything quickly and unconsciously. It could be alcohol, potato chips or cake.
Now is the time to truly tune in to our unconscious responses to stress. Look at this crisis as a wakeup call -a crash course on learning to regulate our reactions to discomfort and manage our stress. Presence allows us the choice to respond consciously rather than react unconsciously. We can notice our habitual reactions to triggers before reaching for something to cover it up.
I’ve been asking myself, who do I want to be during this unprecedented time? The answer will be the driver behind all of my daily moment by moment decisions. Who do you want to be?