Guest Blog: Reconnecting Mindfully
June 18, 2021:
This week marks the end of the state of emergency in Massachusetts after roughly 16 months of global pandemic conditions. While there are still many communities suffering around the world, locally discussions are beginning to shift from death rates and closings to vaccination statistics and business re-entry. Despite the emergence of positive news, our discussions with clients and business owners yield consistent reports of the same ironic feelings: stress, fog, and overwhelm when those of joy and relief were anticipated.
Given these common feelings, we wanted to share a helpful article from Donna Rustigan Mac, a mindful communication coach and founder of iVoice communication. Donna helps individuals, employees, and business owners gain comfort in their own communication skills through workshops and one-on-one trainings. We hope the article below from her blog is helpful as you prepare your own return to “normal”.
Still experiencing some brain fog, Zoom fatigue, and ‘pandemic paralysis’? If so, you are not alone. The beaches may be opening but as the world (at least in the United States) opens up too, you may find you’re still feeling foggy, a little dazed, and overly stressed, as you move into your ‘new normal’.
If you’re still experiencing the fog that has hovered over us for more than a year, just take notice. Don’t automatically assume there’s something terribly wrong. Instead, recognize how you’re feeling and respect this is still a time of great uncertainty. After all, the pandemic history books are being written! You could try to figure all of this out OR, you might consider taking a step back, and letting your senses (physical senses and intuition) help guide you over the next weeks and months.
“There are great benefits of taking time to become curious”, says every mindful practitioner I’ve every met!
If you are well-aware that your stress level is higher than you’d like, and that ‘fog’ continues to permeate, here are a few things you can consider as the ‘summer after the great pandemic’ unfolds:
- Awareness, or mindfulness, of how you are feeling (physically and emotionally) is key to becoming proactive when dealing with higher levels of stress. It’s vital to take time throughout the day (small moments, many times), to check in with yourself instead of operating on ‘auto-pilot’.
- Attune yourself (become mindfully aware) to how the people around you are doing. This will help you become more present. It will also help you get out of that ‘busy brain’ as you focus on the welfare of others. As you attune to them, try not to rush to judgement. Instead, consider getting even more curious; listen deeply; make note.
- Ask more questions of yourself and others. As Adam Grant, American professor of Psychology at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania says, “There’s power in knowing what you don’t know.” He also suggests you “Embrace the discomfort of doubt”. After asking questions, try to avoid distraction and stay connected. This will help you cultivate your human-to-human relationships.
- Be Ok with not being Ok. Many of us are out of practice when it comes to in-person interactions. Some relationships were already stress inducing pre-pandemic, so having to reintroduce yourself to these situations can seem all the more challenging now. But if there are a few things the pandemic taught us, it’s the perils of loneliness, and the value of community.
As masks come off and doors open, by all means, head outside. Reenter slowly if you think you should. Instead of looking around to see how others are entering the summer months of 2021, trust that you know what is best for you. Check in with yourself and tune into your senses often because as renowned psychiatrist and neuroscientist, Dr. Judson Brewer reminds us, our brains do not have sensory perception. It’s our bodies that communicate!