We are officially to the point in home quarantine
when days are beginning to blend together, and no one would know what day it is if not for the Zoom meetings that remind us. Maybe you find yourself settling into a rhythm or maybe each day brings about different challenges and worries for you, and you find yourself having a difficult time getting settled into anything. If you can relate to the second mindset, you might be familiar with “mental pinball.” I have vivid memories as a child of that silver ball bouncing from side to side in the pinball machine. Mental pinballs encompasses all of the emotions, worries, responsibilities, and expectations we have in our heads, and sometimes it feels as if the pinball is constantly pinging off of these different thoughts in all directions. Mental pinball leaves us overwhelmed, confused, and exhausted. As the days grow into weeks and the weeks continue on, it’s time we had a talk about mental pinball and worked on settling down that ball pinging around in your head, if only for a moment.
Minute by Minute Mindset
The most effective relief from mental pinball I have discovered is a minute by minute mindset. Let’s explore. Having a minute by minute mindset means you are constantly checking in with your mental game. How are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? What is the root cause of your worries or insecurities? Beginning the habit of checking in with yourself is a good practice to start calming down the frantic game of pinball going on in your mind. By slowing down, you will be able to take stock of the thoughts passing through your head and notice them one at a time. This quarantine is providing us an opportunity to slow down and press reset not only on our priorities but on our mindsets as well. If you would normally calm down your mental pinball by working more or ignoring its unsettling feelings, try to see this time as a challenge to weed out unhealthy mental habits and sow new, healthy habits that will bear fruit beyond this odd season. You might not see change in one day, but if you take it minute by minute, you will start seeing incremental change as the days go on. We are preparing for a marathon, not the 100m dash.
It’s Okay to Feel Multiple Emotions at Once.
We have undergone a massive amount of change within a very short amount of time, and, naturally, your mind might be having a hard time catching up. If you find yourself having a hard time being present at first, give yourself some grace and compassion. Commit to bringing yourself back to the present moment when your mind starts to drift to the past or the future, and take being fully present with yourself one moment at a time. We tend to see thoughts and feelings as black or white, and we don’t give ourselves much space for grey area. These are weird times, and your feelings are valid. Whether you feel anxious yet connected, scared yet relieved, or any other combinations of emotions, that is OKAY! Rarely, if ever, do we feel one singular emotion about complex life scenarios.
Show Up – For Yourself and Others.
This one is for my people putting pressure on themselves during this situation. Please hear me…if you are routinely showing up for yourself and others, THAT is worth celebrating! Every time you show yourself or someone else compassion, patience, grace, kindness, love, understanding, etc., CELEBRATE that moment. By celebrating the good stuff, you’ll find yourself playing less mental pinball and helping yourself and others more frequently. All we can expect from ourselves right now is that we do the best we can with what we have and take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time. That’s where we will start to find true progress.
Wherever you find yourself today, I hope you take stock of your mindset and pay attention to where your thoughts are coming from. I hope you take the first step towards weeding out unhealthy mental habits and sowing a new, life giving mindset by taking each situation one moment at a time. Lastly, I hope you know it’s okay to feel many things at once, and the most important statistic from your days at home is how often you show up for yourself and your people. We are in this together!