Feelings & Addictive Tendencies

by Dawn Y. Graber

Mouse on cheese trap


Resiliency Self-Care Practices #4 and #5

During this pandemic don't get in the trap of suppressing your feelings or holding back from receiving them . The old adage, "Don't run away from your problems" comes to mind as apropos. 
Some of us more naturally want to catch up on the daily updates from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), or the current market's gains or losses. We feel more empowered when we know what's happening and can imagine planning for the projections to come. If you check your newsfeed as your last action before you turn out the bedside lamp and first thing upon awakening- this is you. No surprises is our mantra.
Others realize for their own sanity that they need to reduce the amount of news they absorb about the suffering of those vulnerable to the worst effects of Co-Vid 19. Those among us palpably feel the anxiety rise when we listen to news anchors discuss the rising unemployment rates, which automatically translate into personal application and "what if?" worst-case scenarios in our minds. Enough already! is our mantra.
We each take in and deal with the realities of today's health crisis and its effects both real and imagined differently
Instead of avoiding what's going on around us or alternatively fixating on it - process your fears, anger, frustration, joys, contentment, hopes  as you’re  able. For some of us that may be simply naming them out loud or identifying the feeling and then saying- goodbye to paying attention to those feelings for the rest of today. Others of us may need to find a trusted confidante and listening ear and just ramble on for a while before we feel settled enough to engage constructively in our day.
  • You may want to practice a helpful mantra to set the lens through which to deal with your feelings (Something like I am strong, I am able; or a favorite quote or a portion of a religious text that speaks life to you). Check out Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP "Crush It!" positive I AM self-message. Let yourself hear YOUR voice describe out loud how you are CRUSHING IT today. 
  • Journaling is a suggested means for safe “purging” or releasing feelings in today’s pandemic. One helpful written exercise is to have a running conversation between you and your voice of wisdom. I make two columns and just start writing and then imagine in response to what I’ve written what God would say to me. Sometimes I start with that voice of wisdom writing down what comes to mind and respond in the ME column. The point is to identify your feelings and receive rejuvenation by meeting them. When you don’t know how to start begin with attention given to gratitude.  
  • Practicing creative space is healing balm to the soul. My daughter is drawing in coloring books with her young daughter. Some are cooking and creating new recipes. Can you get your hands dirty in some soil and work on that flower or vegetable bed while quarantined? My son is learning new songs on his guitar. I started participating in a 1000-piece puzzle our small family bubble began and I don't even like puzzles. But with a million swirling feelings inside me I've found a surprising calm when pulling up alongside the challenge as I begin the quest again for that certain puzzle piece - problem-solving a bit of that which is within my control. 
WATCH ADDICTIVE TENDENCIES during this time of increased freedom and social-distancing. Consider some of the following pointers to avoid falling into a trap of harmful self-behavior during this time of sheltering-in-place.
  • Answer the Addictive Personality Quiz honestly to assess whether you have a pre-disposed tendency to troubling addictions during this time of isolation. 
  • If you have addictive tendencies include an accountability partner in helping you navigate the disruption to your normal guardrails. 
  • Making and sticking to your schedule regardless of how one feels on any given day has found to be helpful especially to those with addictive tendencies. 
  • If you routinely have a glass of wine with dinner be mindful of what it might mean if you suddenly begin adding a drink at lunch. If you usually enjoy X, Y, or Z on a screen each day be mindful if you begin self-indulging in more free time activities than you intended. If you eat dessert once a weekend- don't all of a sudden allow yourself cookies at every meal. Not all these examples are automatic addiction problems but for those who have the tendency to obsess over their ‘thing’ don’t harm yourself or whittle away your productive capacity during this upending pandemic. Be mindful of your newly evolved habits and refrain from indulging too much in whatever your tendency may be. Be intentional with your choices.  

Check out this helpful article by the Chief Clinical Officer of the Foundations Wellness Center, Justin Baksh, on the connection between anxiety, stress, and addictions. He offers step-by-step action plans to decrease negative tendencies during this time of Co-Vid 19. 

You CAN build your resilience to lead in such a time as this by EMBRACING YOUR FEELINGS and GUARDING AGAINST ADDICTIVE TENDENCIES as vital actions of your self-care.  

YOU are the person for such a time as this. The threat of decreased donor engagement for our organizations, interrupted supply chains for our businesses, layoffs, distractions from mission focus, the steep learning curve to work as a team virtually, and the stress of an unknown timeframe for this pandemic to end has knocked us for a loop. But RESILIENCE promises us “...the ability to bring energy- mental, spiritual, physical and emotional energy- to our lives, and particularly to situations that are difficult...” (Ferguson, Laurie J, PhD

If you missed my previous blogs in this BUILDING RESILIENCE series please visit Transforming Influence and sign up to receive future posts. 

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Dawn Yoder Graber
Post by Dawn Yoder Graber
April 7, 2020
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