STRESS + GUILT
Stress is at an all-time high, so take the proper time to mitigate its effects. This can feel as troublesome (who has the time?) as they are necessary (make time for good self-care!). Without slowing down to take the time for good self-care, how can a person take care of anyone or anything else?
During the current pandemic, stress can have a number of effects. Anxiety, depression, even anger, tend to see an uptick. The same may be said for guilt. So whether guilt is its own effect or linked with anxiety or depression, I am not so sure it matters. What does matter is what guilt (feeling bad) is trying to obfuscate and clarify. Considerations of both aspects can quickly modify perceptions; behaviors can follow accordingly.
Recently, someone mentioned that they’d been feeling more guilt than usual. While at work, guilt for not being with their family. While with family, guilt for not being hard at work, for having less of their “best self” to offer. When finally getting some ‘downtime’ or time for exercise, guilt for not working more or being with family.
What had been a fairly typical relationship to stress, even a healthy dose of it to ensure productivity, abruptly veered into guilt-ridden unmanageability. What had previously been manageable seemed no longer feasible. While it is quite understandable to feel a myriad of difficult emotions as a result of stress, what to do is paramount.
In each realm of life indicated – personal, professional, familial – stress causing the guilt indicates a discrepancy with being present in the moment. We may even find that guilt is equal to the level of being elsewhere in any of the three categories: work, family, self. The goal is to adjust the level of being present when realizing all three need time and space for life to be in balance. To be in balance, we must play or relax or be with our family within this overall equilibrium.
So listen to your symptom. Get to know it. This is the necessary shift in perspective to enable behavioral solutions. Relate to it differently and attach to the desired or intended possibilities. By keeping it simple, what may seem quite challenging can be accomplished. Even in a pandemic.