How are you doing? How are you coping with this involuntary simplicity we are forced into? I was talking to a friend on the phone this morning. She is not coping well, she seems to be going through highs and lows, and currently it is a low. The quiet life is not for her.
Now while I do not want to downplay the economic impact of closed businesses and canceled events and services, let alone the impact on vulnerable populations who may find themselves isolated, I believe there are some important mindset shifts that can help us embrace “involuntary simplicity” as much as possible during this tumultuous time.
1. Resources may be limited, but your resourcefulness is not.
I am reminded of Tony Robbins quote:
Now is the time to take a step back and deal with some of those things that there was never time for before. Maybe it is time to think about why life seems empty without a full agenda of activities, or the chance to do some retail therapy. What were you trying not to face that now must be faced? Now is a time to deal with internal demons or turmoil and face them, get them out, dust them down, and decide how to move on.
Feel the fear and do it anyway – one of my very favourite classics, perhaps now is the time to read it and use some of the lessons to change your mindset. I truly believe that we attract what we think, and if we think dark thoughts, then we attract sadness and darkness.
If we look at limitations as possibilities to be resourceful, the problem-solving, creative part of our brain shifts into gear (frontal cortex) rather than the limbic brain responsible for emotional responses such as fear and anxiety. Fear and Anxiety are not helpful emotions on our journey, we need to be aware of when they are present, and when we are acting based on them.
2. Be Grateful.
Gratitude is an antidote to fear.
At the beginning or end of the day, it may be difficult to remember the mundane things that you are grateful for when your normal routine has been disrupted. I am abundantly grateful that I and my family remain well, and that I have the luxury of staying home at this time. I am grateful when the sun shines and I can take a walk. I am grateful for our virtual Church service we had this morning, and the work that went into it.
When our lives are simpler, it is easier to see and be grateful for these everyday moments.
3. Live according to your long-term values, even when you crave short-term comfort.
When our routines are disrupted, it’s easy to slip into unhealthy habits that comfort us. Enjoy going to the gym? You may be unsure how a home workout routine will work for you so you skip it altogether. Used to eating fresh fruits and vegetables? With fresh produce in limited supply, you may be eating processed foods you’d normally avoid to alleviate your stress. Are you interested in pursuing a passion but escape with Netflix instead?
Uncertainty causes anxiety which causes us to act in ways that are counter to our stated values. It is tempting to turn inward and escape for short-term comfort. Or we put our goals on hold because it all seems too much effort at present. Reach out to a friend to become a virtual accountability buddy so you can continue to engage in the activities and relationships (albeit in a new way) that bring you long-term fulfillment.
By shifting our mindset about how we think about this time of “involuntary simplicity,” we can rediscover our resourcefulness, focus on gratitude, and continue to live a life aligned with our values and purpose.
Ackowledgement to https://nosidebar.com/embracing-involuntary-simplicity/ for some of this material.