The school year is ending and it is finishing with a solid fizzle. Zoom meetings are coming to an end, students have stopped logging in, and the most pressing issue is what next year might look like- at this point it is anybody’s guess. How will we safely see students in our classrooms? What will parents do about work and childcare if there is a rotating schedule? What kind of budget crisis might unfold due to the ongoing craziness? Add to this the societal uncertainties surrounding our ongoing pandemic and race based police brutality and the ensuing civic unrest. When you swirl it all together in the blender of news and social media the result is a growing sense of disconnection, unpredictability, and borderline neurosis.
Now, I am no master at overcoming these feelings. In fact I can tend to wallow if I don’t have something to distract myself. I also fall prey to focused bouts of we-have-to-do-something-about-this-RIGHT-NOW! Therefore to give my brain a tiny nucleus of calm I started working out regularly (Thanks Anthony!), took 30 Days off from alcohol, and challenged a few of my friends to an exercise challenge. I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching car camping gear for our upcoming trip (staying in tents instead of hotels) to the ranch. I’ve also been reading full books, entertaining fiction as well as books on racial inequality. Pretty much a bunch of stuff that makes me feel a bit more in control of my personal world and keeps some of the noise of life turned down.
I would love to say I intrinsically sought out these healthy ways to deal with the sensory overload of current affairs, but no. I found a framework to pin my brain to. Mark Manson has a decent set of principals which have served well over the last couple of months. The gist of it is as follows…
- Care about something other than yourself (for once)
- Focus on what you can control
- Develop inward optimism and outward pessimism
- Find your inner masochist
- And never suffer alone
You will have to explore the explanations for the above- I don’t want to ruin it for ya, or to come across like any of those are my ideas. I mean, the first two are pretty universal, but the last three make it a bit more interesting!
Anyways, check it out, take what works, drop what doesn’t, and good luck out there.