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"Am I okay?" Recognizing hidden stress and figuring out ways to deal with it

"Am I okay?"

Have you caught yourself asking yourself this question?

"Am I really okay?"

"I seem to be fine and my life seems to be mostly in order. I have a job and friends, hobbies and a community I enjoy spending time with (although I haven't been able to see in person given COVID). I work hard and have plenty of fun plans for the weekends and holidays. And when people see me, they see me laughing and telling jokes.

Even with much of the world in chaos, my world seems to be pretty stable.

Yet I can't shake the feeling that something is off. I feel so unmotivated at times. I don't want to work or see people or do all the things I supposedly love to do. I don't want to get out of bed at times. I don't know what it is, but there seems to be a cloud hanging over me. Maybe not all of the time, but it seems to happen more frequently than I recall, before this whole pandemic changed our lives."

"Am I okay?"

If this internal dialogue seems somewhat familiar, you are not alone.

Know that you are not alone.

This pandemic, this isolation and the fear, confusion, uncertainty and resulting instability affects all of us. Maybe not in the same way, yet we are all affected none the less.

Know that your friends and family may seem happy on the surface but that there may be this lingering feeling like a 'dark cloud' or a 'veil of uncertainty and anxiety' that covers their thoughts and actions from time to time. And perhaps those moments have become more frequent.

So what can we do about this?

In more serious cases, we of course may have to reach out for help and intervene with friends and family who should be doing the same. However, for many, the situation may not be so dire. It is a natural part of life - to deal with that not-so-fun stuff that lies beyond the surface.

To realize and recognize that we may be feeling something we don't want to feel is key. Talking about the uncomfortable can also be very helpful. Journaling, breathing, exercising, dancing, singing, chanting and of course meditating are all helpful allies. Karma yoga - the act of helping others - is also a wonderful way to channel our energies and soften our grip on our worries.

But we are not trying to escape or ignore what is coming up. In fact, yoga suggests that it is quite the opposite. We need to go into it. We need to churn that murky ocean and see what reveals itself. And we need to build strength and resilience in order to do this.

So find your way to try and 'enjoy' (whatever that means) the process of searching.

We are all here for you. That's what community is all about. Let's churn that ocean together and see what comes up!


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