As we all embrace this new reality of social distancing and shelter-in-place, I thoughtfully suggest that we consider this hiatus a gift of time – a time to slow down, a time to relax and refresh, and a time to enjoy our children and families.
Most of us, no doubt, are Type A personalities – we are planners, producers, and workaholics. We are realistically worried about getting seriously ill, concerned about how we will be able to remain financially solvent, and extremely disappointed and saddened about future events and celebrations that have been postponed or even canceled. Type A personalities look to the future to prepare for the present, and right now, we can’t. This is causing us great stress and anxiety, and it is affecting our health in other ways – coronavirus aside.
“Living in the Present Moment” has been the topic of numerous books and YouTube videos over the past several years; there are even apps available to assist with mindfulness and meditation that help us focus on the present. Our faith, too, encourages us to focus on the present, and not dwell (in both senses of the word: neither live nor focus excessively) in the past or in the future.
So, what does that look like? How does it work? Here are a few ideas that might help:
- Think about the future (or the past) in small doses; stay in the present moment for a vast majority of your time
- Set daily, realistic goals
- Don’t be overcritical of your performance – do your best, and focus on your accomplishments
- Write daily in a journal about the positive and joyful events of the day
- Focus on your breath – deep breathing several times a day is cleansing and helps reduce anxiety
- Exercise – either inside or outside every day
- PRAY, PRAY, PRAY
We don’t know what the future holds – likely, it will not turn out as we had planned just a few weeks ago. But rather than dwell on the fear of the unknown, we can control what today will look like. We might as well make the best of it and enjoy it – we have today for today only.