During this lockdown, just about every morning has been a real battle for me. I have had to come face to face with several internal problems as a result of this break from my usual hectic routine. For the last three years or so I’ve battled anxiety, but more recently that anxiety has taken over my morning routine. Nothing in particular triggers it, I just wake up with it.
Now, this is easy to avoid when you have something like work or school to force you to get up and get out. So in the past, I have not been under much pressure to fix the source of the problem and instead chose to ignore the symptom. With not much to do and nowhere to go, quarantine has revealed to me a completely new tactic for dealing with my anxiety: immediately going back to sleep. Doing this I can quickly and effectively avoid the anxiety, but it comes at a price.
Unfortunately, I can only choose this tactic so many times before I’ve wasted half my day. Then I get more anxious about wasting my time and start to worry about getting all my daily tasks done.
Climbing out of bed in the morning is theoretically a lot easier than climbing up the side of a cliff. If I can do that, why can’t I just get up rather than perpetuating the problem?
There are key moments every day where we have the opportunity to decide whether to let situations fuel us to do better or make us want to quit. For me it’s the morning, for you it’s some other time. Either way, we all share the same dilemma. Will we choose to roll back over? Or charge ahead? So, how do we prepare ourselves to make the right decision?
Here’s a quote from a blog I’ve written in the past discussing a similar situation:
“how do we strengthen ourselves to make those decisions? One of the most important things you can do is to remember that YOU are in control of your own success and happiness.”
This quote is interesting to me for a variety of reasons. First off, it is especially problematic during a time like this. So many of us feel right now that we are completely out of control in terms of whatever plans we had for our lives. This situation unexpectedly took away the jobs and goals of so many. Leaving many, including me, wondering if we were ever in control at all. And secondly, that I conflated success with happiness. That is a very ‘me’ thing to do.
The truth is, we were never in control of our lives. However, I think I was trying to say that we are always in control of our perspective. If we are going to make the hard decisions we need to make to overcome our internal challenges, we need to equip ourselves with a positive outlook.
A rock begs no one to climb it. There are (for most of us) no medals waiting at the finish. And unless you’re on Everest, there’s always a higher cliff somewhere else. Oftentimes, you can simply walk around it, and nobody is making you rise to the occasion. Climbing it would be dangerous, with little to no physical benefit. Any potential exercise could easily be found in a safe, indoor gym. It’s just a rock.
Still, we see that rock differently. We see it as a challenge. As competition with nature. An exciting adventure. Without perspective, rock climbing as a sport would not exist.
In order to make decisions to approach and contend with our problems, we need to have a positive outlook on our current situation. That’s a long process, and I am currently working on my own. For now, I hope you confront the cliffs and boulders in your life and see them as an opportunity to ‘metaphorically’ rise above.
Thanks, as always, for reading. How are you trying to stay positive during this situation? I always love to hear your advice.