The world is a busy place, or at least it used to be. Life could sometimes come at you at 100 miles per hour, and it could seem like there was no stopping it. If you were an efficient person, you learned how to navigate the fast pace of life without getting off-balance.
Most people adapted to the fast pace of life, so the rapid pace seemed normal. Everything from technology to medicine is more advanced than one could have imagined a few decades ago. That is why no one could have predicted that in 2020, the entire global population would be halted by a pandemic.
It’s hard to imagine that a society as advanced as we are could be crippled by something so minuscule as a virus these days. Yet here we are. It is safe to say that we’ve all been humbled by this experience and are probably seeking to make our lives count in some way.
Ironically, people have been thrown off-balance by the pause in life that the pandemic has caused. Having to stay home for almost a whole year has left many people struggling to make sense of things. It has caused a lot of difficulties in finding a sense of purpose. However, we must keep trying to see it, as well as happiness, throughout this challenging time.
That was the subject of an article written by Dr. Ilene Berns-Zare, PsyD. Titled How to Gain Greater Balance in an Unbalanced World, she explained four ways to happiness and peace in this challenging time. Surprisingly, they are quite simple tips. However, it is easy to overlook these simplicities when you’re stressed about the world’s state and life as you know it.
Here is a breakdown of her four tips:
Here are four things you can do to regain control.
If you have never really stopped to savor your food, you have time to do that now. When the world was in full force, you would be surprised at how many people had to eat on the run or try to fit meals into a short, 15 to 30 minute break period. All that rushing leads people to eat because they are hungry without really enjoying the food.
Dr. Berns-Zare recommends taking the time to use all five senses as you eat your food. Notice textures, tastes, smells, and more. Take a mental note of how you really feel about the food or drink as you consume it.
Tip #2: Take the time to enjoy happy or positive times.
Often, when pleasant and happy times are happening, you are enjoying them but not letting them soak in. Before you know it, you are back to your off-balance life of social distancing and trying not to lose your marbles. The happy moment has passed and will rarely be recollected.
According to Dr. Berns-Zare, you should pause and really experience the moment. Breathe, notice the moment, and welcome the joy and gratitude that you get from it. Really live in the experience to get the full benefits that happiness offers you.
Tip #3: Do the same with your happy or positive memories.
Pleasant moments make you feel right now, but people often forget about these moments as they go on with their lives. Dr. Berns-Zare recommends that you purposely take the time to remember these pleasant moments from time to time. She says to pause, take a deep breath, and welcome it with joy and gratitude.
Envisioning yourself in a happy time and place is a great way to relieve stress. You are essentially using your mind to “get away from it all.” These temporary breaks are like mental vacations that can allow you to recharge.
Tip #4: Take note of experiences that make you happy or make you feel good.
This may sound like the same tip as the second one, but the difference is that you will think of experiences (rather than think about them) that make you happy so you can do them again. Dr. Berns-Zare recommends making a list of activities you really enjoy doing. Then find a way to make time in your life for these activities regularly.
Even if you cannot do these activities daily, doing them once a week could give you something to look forward to. These activities could almost be like goals that can give you back your sense of purpose.
Dr. Berns-Zare gave some great advice on getting back on track in a world that is off-balance. These four tips are as valuable as gold. The rest of the article will expand upon these tips and offer you more advice on getting your balance back.
Four Additional Tips for People with an Off-Balance Life
We are all going through it – trying to navigate a new normal. You can take comfort in the fact that this new world is unique to everyone. People of all socioeconomic backgrounds have been affected by the pandemic. It is an unprecedented time in our century.
Despite knowing this, it doesn’t make it any easier to get yourself back on track. The good news is that it’s not impossible to gain your balance back. Here are some extra tips to get you heading in the right direction.
1. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Some people are incredibly critical of themselves because they cannot achieve the goals they set out to achieve. They are behaving as if they’ve somehow failed like they didn’t work hard enough. However, this is the wrong line of thinking.
No one “failed” at anything. The world stopped, and there was nothing that anyone could do about that.
Jobs ended, so promotions could not happen. Schools closed so new high-school graduates could not start college. Gyms closed, and home-exercise equipment stopped being manufactured so people could not lose the weight they vowed to lose. People had to social distance not to visit family and friends they hadn’t seen for a while.
Worst of all, many people died, putting fear in society that people had not seen in centuries. This is not meant to get you down (although it’s regrettable), but it’s meant to get you to realize that none of those unmet goals were due to any fault of your own.
The world is starting to open back up, so you will be able to work on your goals again very soon. You may be facing a new normal, but there is no doubt that your dreams will once again be attainable.
2. Cherish every moment with your loved ones.
Procrastination was something that many people did before the world stopped. There may have been friends or family that you hadn’t seen in a long time, and you figured you would get around to it eventually. Now that you’ve been through a time when you couldn’t see them, you probably realize how important it is to keep in touch with everyone.
Don’t take those moments for granted. Even if you can’t spend time with them in person, technology makes it possible to video chat with them. Consider each moment you can spend with your loved ones as a gift and make it count.
3. Make a plan.
You’ve had plenty of time to consider which direction you want your life to go in. The best way to make it happen is to plan on how you’re going to do that. Don’t go into post-pandemic life with no clue or no roadmap. This will extend your off-balance feeling. Get back on track by figuring out the steps you will take while you have downtime.
4. Eat healthily and exercise.
Being home all the time can encourage you to eat unhealthy foods and to be a bit lazy. However, if you let your health go, this will cause your life to be off-balance. You may not be able to go to the gym right now, but you can still take steps to stay healthy at home.
Your body and your mind are connected. If you let your body get unhealthy, your mind can also become tainted. Bad health can make you feel even worse about life. The best thing you can do is to do everything you can to stay healthy.
Although you may feel a bit off during these times, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s only temporary. Pretty soon, things will be back to normal. Although normal may have a new definition, it won’t be so different that you experience a complete life shock.
This means that if you follow the tips listed above from Dr. Berns-Zare plus the additional information, you can get yourself back on track. In fact, these tips can help you even if there was not a pandemic. More than anything, try to remain positive. Positive thinking goes a long way when it comes to living a balanced life.