Ask Joe: Staying sane while preparing for 2022
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2021 has been a wild year. And it doesn’t look like next year is going to let up. Knowing that 2022 is an important midterm election, I'm afraid of what the social and political climate could be like in the coming year. And we still have the holidays with family and friends to deal with. I’m tired and need a break from the intensity. How do I prepare (and stay sane) going into 2022?
Running on Empty
Hey, Running on Empty.
I know what you mean! Just when we thought things might be letting up, we are confronted with new Covid-19 variants and increased political and social tension. As we head into the end of year and the holiday season, my hope for you is that you find the time to rest like you’ve never done before and reflect on this past year in a way that is compassionate to you and others.
Many people are contacting me at this time asking for some insights and advice on how to navigate these times, find hope and not fall into disempowerment, anxiety, confusion, separation and isolation. The main message I offer is to take the time to contemplate, “Who is telling your story?” Who is framing how you view yourself and our current times, and what is possible or not possible? So, it’s time to rest, reflect and give yourself the holiday gift of taking back and creating your own story for 2022.
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My story is a story of hope. Despite what we see and hear around us, I have faith in the human spirit. I believe that yesterday, somewhere in the world, someone risked danger to pull a person out of a burning car and save a life. I believe that this morning, somewhere in the world, someone brought breakfast to a neighbor whom they know is struggling to pay their bills. I believe that in the middle of the night, somewhere in the world, someone texted a severely depressed person in despair, and that text pulled this individual from the brink of suicide. I believe that last week, somewhere in the world, someone chose to not flush their toilet that one time, thereby conserving two gallons of our dwindling freshwater supply. I believe that today, somewhere in the world, someone will have the courage to say to another in the midst of an argument, “Now that I see it from your perspective, I’m willing to shift my viewpoint on that.”
What is your story? Perhaps the most beneficial thing you can do at this time — for yourself, those around you and the planet itself — is to create your own story of hope. Make yourself the heroic central figure of that story and see yourself as an “agent of hope” for 2022.
What if the most courageous and impactful thing you could do at this time is to cultivate a daily practice of aligning with your humanity, embodying a deeper level of resilience and self-care, as well as maintain and deepen authentic relationships? Here are some ways to realign and rediscover where you do have power, and build from there.
Where do you currently have power? Within you. You may not be able to individually influence policy today; you may not be able to solely change the future course of the current volatility. But where you do have power today is with:
- Your capacity to influence your own thoughts, words and actions: As you reduce your internal confusion, you take back your story and how you act and react with others in a way that is in alignment with your true self
- Your own cultivation of self-care and resilience: Instead of enduring and surviving, you integrate practices that allow you to tap into internal vital energy, and also to meet the challenges of our time with grace and skill
- Your ability to keep your nervous system regulated: Maintaining internal balance results in minimizing reactivity and the ways we harm ourselves and others
- How you respond to stressors: You may not be able to have control of the challenges you are confronted with, but how you respond to them is up to you.
- How and whom you choose to engage: Because of social distancing and an increase in interacting with the world through our devices, we find ourselves more isolated and depleted. It is essential to devote extra time and energy to deepen your relationships (even through our devices) and take extra care of one another.
I have designed easy-to-apply practices and exercises for each one of these five powers within. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to reach out.
These suggestions can help you “live into” your story of hope and heroically approach 2022 with physical vitality, emotional stability, mental clarity and spiritual grounding.
This is my holiday wish for you,
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