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This week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions is about four common questions some people are grappling with during the pandemic: Why am I OK?, Why am I not OK?, Why am I so angry?, and Why aren’t I doing more? I explore some of the reasons why we might be responding in this way and share some ideas for further exploration.

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Nuggets From The Episode

  • Whether we started out feeling OK or terrible at the start of this pandemic and we now feel differently or even the same, it is OK. What we’re feeling about a situation we’re all in is relative to our personal experience, past and present. Where we’re at, is where we’re at.
  • Sometimes we wonder why we’re OK because we feel guilty that other people aren’t. We’re aware of how some people’s experiences are so different to ours and think we should be more miserable. It’s important to note, though, that yes, this pandemic is awful, but there have been awful things going on the whole time, not just now.
  • Wondering why we’re OK can also be about being surprised that we’re not breaking down the way we imagined we would. We’re surprised by our coping skills.

It’s very possible that the reason we are way more OK than we imagined we could during lockdown and a global pandemic is that we finally let go of trying to control the uncontrollable.

  • If we’re a very sensitive person who sometimes gets drained by picking up the feelings of others or by, yes, sometimes not having the best of boundaries, we will struggle with not feeling as though we can protect others from their suffering. But we also have to be careful of over-empathy — we don’t have to give up our happiness.
  • There are better ways to channel our energies than beating ourselves up for being OK. We can look at initiatives we can get involved with at work, our business or in community if we feel inclined to be of service and get involved.
  • Sometimes worry and self-criticism are our ‘pastime’. They’re the hobby we turn to when we need to fill in time.

If we are going through a difficulty, we don’t need to diminish it because we know that someone else has a ‘bigger’ one.

  • We might not OK even though we think we ‘should’ because we might feel as if our life is on hold. We might feel out of control, trapped, frustrated. It could be that we’re kicking ourselves for not being able to foresee this situation and seize opportunities.
  • It’s very possible that the reason we might be struggling right now is that we don’t have our usual touchpoints. We’re out of our usual routine and we might not be able to escape or soothe ourselves in our typical ways.
  • Feelings aren’t permanent statements of the future. Even if we feel one way in the morning, we can feel differently later on. The problems kick in when we Judge a feeling and latch on to it, berating us for feeling that way and judging how the rest of the day or we will feel.

Maybe we’re just being a human feeling. Maybe we’re just being a human struggling.

  • When you stop giving you a hard time for not being OK, you can be responsive. You can take care of you.
  • Yes, it is incredibly frustrating and disheartening when your plans are on hold. Use this time to get absolutely clear and committed about them so that you can hit the ground running.
  • For some people, their pre-pandemic lifestyle and routine kept a lid on painful feelings that have surfaced due to the disruption.
  • Being given instructions and having someone else curtail your freedom may have triggered your younger self. This will be especially so if you felt controlled as a child or felt very out of control due to chaos.
  • Even though the situation is frustrating and you don’t, for example, agree with certain things, what else is this situation reminding you of? Where else have you felt this way? Who else have you felt this way around?

We are always going to wind up exploding or imploding when we don’t consistently feel our feelings.

  • Cut back on the news and social media consumption. This has made a phenomenal difference to my sense of wellbeing over the last 4-5 weeks.
  • If we’re not doing ‘more’, it’s because we’re not. Sure, we can be curious about why that might be, but this isn’t the productivity Olympics. We don’t have to produce ‘more’ as proof of our participation in a pandemic.
  • Aren’t we giving ourselves a hard time for not living up to the idealised version of us?
  • Be honest about whether you actually want to do something. It might be that you do but that fear of failure caused you to procrastinate. From there, you can talk you through things and work out realistic steps. Of course, it could be that you don’t want to do the things you think you should be doing. And that’s OK too.

Links mentioned

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