Let’s “face” it. Who hasn’t been challenged during the COVID-19 pandemic? Children, parents, and pretty much everyone out there is constantly adjusting to new demands, expectations, financial challenges, and all kinds of changes. It’s so easy to lose yourself in all the madness. And to lose your place in relationships. What’s the answer? Stand still.
Stand still? Are you kidding?
Not kidding. I know you still have to do all the things you have to do. I’m just asking you to slow down and do them intentionally. Stand still and notice things as you’re doing what you’re doing. Be curious about what you see, feel, and experience. Be 100% there in your mind, body and spirit and be present in the task at hand. From there you can decide what tasks, roles, or ways you spend your time add value to your life and which ones you want to do differently or not do at all. From this place of being grounded in your life, you can begin to find yourself again. It starts with the little things. This is what I mean.
Let’s talk about a fictional client Suzie who hates to cook dinner. Suzie and her partner disagree on what a “good dinner” means. She’d spend her drive home from work preparing for the argument over what’s for dinner. The ensuing fight could take up a whole evening leaving her angry, resentful, and exhausted and interrupting her sleep. As Suzie and I talked about all that wasted energy and what she could accomplish if she could channel it somewhere else, she decided to slow down and consider another way to do dinner time. Here’s what she came up with.
A few days a week she’d put a meal that she knew her husband really liked in her crockpot and have it ready when she came home. She’d make a couple of easy side dishes and sit and enjoy it with him. On other days, she let him know ahead of time they’d be on their own for dinner. On the days she cooked for herself, her new ritual was to come home, put on something comfy, pour a ½ glass of wine, put on some music, and make herself an amazing salad.
At first there was resistance, and yes she did have to hear some sarcasm and complaints. But over time as she stuck to her new way of doing dinner, her husband learned to enjoy his individual cooking experience as well and they began to playfully explore the surprises in each other’s dinnertime creations.
Ok I get that this is “Standing Still and Observing 101”. There’s no screaming kids, frantic pets, and soccer schedules. I’m just asking you to consider, in your more complex version of life, where there might be little pockets of time where this idea of observing “how” you are doing life rather than just doing it could empower you. When could you intentionally take a deep breath, conserve some energy, and do the things you do in a more self-compassionate way? These little moments of choice brought on by curiously observing who you are and how you want to do your daily life are really powerful. From this place of observing comes increased focus and a sense of identity. And reduced anxiety, anger, and depression as well
My biggest goal for all my counseling clients is that they notice “how” they are doing life as much as they notice “what” they are doing in life. It’s all about conserving energy for all the things that make our life richer, gentler, and more enjoyable. Over time clients begin to feel more present in their own lives, better known by other people, and more appreciated and valued in their relationships. Yes, some people will be upset when you take back ownership of your own life by making changes in how and what you do, but they’ll adjust. Just like you’ve always adjusted to everyone else.
And now when you ask yourself “Who Am I”, you’ll have a better idea of the answer. It could very well start by just standing still.
Need help with the process? No problem. Call today or make an appointment here. Glad to help.
Dianne Presley, LCSW, BC-TMH
Believe, Hope, Inspire Wellness Services LLC
Anxiety, Depression, Loss and Relationship Therapy
Gottman Level 1 and Level 2 Trained Couples Method Therapist
Gottman Trained in Traumas and Affairs and in Couples in Addiction
Gottman Educator in 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work and Bringing Baby Home
Certified Brain Based Success Coach