Why you need to trust in life during COVID to reduce anxiety
How I learnt that trust can help manage anxiety in uncertain times.
I have never really labeled myself as anxious or thought I had anxiety. Lately, I have started recognizing that the racing heartbeat at 2 am in the morning, the panic crashing just below the surface, the feeling I needed to continuously Go-Go-Go was indeed anxiety.
The constant near panic thoughts of will this passion project fail, what if I have wasted so much of the family’s precious money with no return, how do I deal with these major hurdles, will this kill the project, will this challenge end everything, what-if, what-if, what-ifs. The added worries of the new economy the whole world is entering thanks to COVID. Are people still buying candles? How do I get supplies? What if the world goes belly up?
Those are just some of the many thoughts that go through my head and I am sure that you will have similar thoughts. Be they about work or money or family commitments, it’s a constant battle against the unknown.
And I think anxiety has a lot to do with the unknown and the perceived lack of control in the quickly changing world we live in.
We no longer work for the same company for 25 years and retire with a golden handshake. The cost of living is increasing, whilst wages are stagnant. The rise of the gig economy is replacing one boss for many bosses. The new rules and regulations and compliance checks make any job or business 10x more administratively intensive. We have machines to make our lives easier but that just allows the expectations of what we should do in a day increase. Women are no longer just stay at home mums. They have to be mums, housewives, teachers, sports coaches, motivational speakers, the timekeeper, the calendar, the admin assistant, the worker, the hustler. Whilst technology has made work around the house easier (no more handwashing, thank goodness!!), just like all areas of life, it has created space for more administration work to be done. It now takes more mental effort now to run a household with bills and utilities to organize and pay, doctors and appointments to make, Parent-Child relationships have more quantity and quality than ever before. It’s a constant juggle. It’s a constant worry about what will happen when we inevitably drop one of the many balls we are juggling.
Note: this also relates to men, who now carry a bigger stress of bringing home the bacon, being the provider, and keeping the family safe in such tumultuous times.
So we stress, we get anxiety, our heart races.
Then HELLO. COVID.
Hello full blown anxiety.
Hello lockdown and isolation.
Goodbye support systems amd jobs.
Science tells us about the dangers of chronic stress and anxiety. Insomnia, blood pressure, cortisol. They even have a nickname for it the silent killer.
I tried all the usual ways to reduce it — breathing, long baths, yoga, running, book clubs, singing, wine. Yet the 2am beating heart persisted. Then one day on a gentle walk with no goal in mind, I realised I was trying to control to much. As I tightened my grip on trying to control life and control my anxiety, the worse my anxiety got. I decided to try something different. I tried, as Elsa famously sings in Frozen, to let it go.
I took it one step further. I let go of the control and put trust in life.
I have started using trust to vanquish anxiety.
First, I trust in the universe. This is the same as trusting in God, or a Higher Being. I trust, perhaps naïvely, in the universe and that things will work out. I trust that life will continue to happen but in doses, I can withstand and learn from.
I trust that whatever path life takes me down, I will always find the end of the rainbow, or bathe in a ray of sunlight, or spot the silver lining on the grey clouds.
Secondly, I trust in ME. As I was saying above, I think a lot of the anxiety from today’s life is due to the unknown and lack of control. We have never had to deal with such as the onslaught of stimuli. We have never had such large scale change in all areas of our life. It is exponential. It is unpredictable. It makes life feel unknowable and uncontrollable.
So, we have to trust in ourselves.
I have learnt to trust in ME. I trust in my ability to adapt and grow and handle anything that the world throws at me. This is both a scary and empowering feeling. It’s a large feeling.
I trust that if I lose my job, I will get back on my feet and find a better one or put more energy into my passion project.
I trust that if I lose all my money from my passion projects and they fail, that I have gotten enough enjoyment from creativity and trying to live my dream to be worth it.
If I lose my house, I will live in my car.
If I lose my car, I will live on a lounge or a shelter.
That if I lose the shelter, I will get out there and find something, anything, to provide shelter.
That I will continue to survive and work hard to thrive.
I trust that I can handle it.