Ask The Therapist: Corona Virus: Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Q:”The lockdown has left me feeling like I can’t achieve anything. How can I get my motivation back?”

A: Coronavirus has hit the globe, and with it a multitude of effects, including pushing us into spaces we haven’t explored before. We are not in our usual comfort zone. We’ve been quarantined while the Kinneret filled up and trees and flowers bloomed. Homeschooling at a time when spring fever runs high. Grocery shopping online, or gladly exchanging a masked walk or a long wait to shop for the privilege of leaving the house.

Others haven’t been as fortunate to have these as their worries, and have been directly affected, jolted into overwhelming, grief- stricken spaces. The world is ever changing and we continue to be challenged by sadness, anxiety, and grief, individual and collective.

Leaving our comfort zone

At this point, we’ve all become absolute pros at leaving our comfort zones.  Do we  feel accomplished in doing so? We are run down and lacking motivation, worried about the future and tired of waiting. How can we turn our developing skill set into something that helps us feel more energetic and productive?

The answer may lie in shifting our efforts into focusing on our range of choices. We’ve been forced into a new reality, but much of it is not by choice. The first step is to make a personal decision to actively leave our comfort zone.  By learning something new, and changing something we are accustomed to, we are able to grow ourselves and our capacities. In this way, we can reclaim the power of choice.

You may rightly challenge this suggestion by thinking, how can I possibly add something new to my schedule when I’m so busy? However, the potential for creating more time in this process may outweigh the difficulties in adding an activity to your schedule. When we give to ourselves, we stretch, empower ourselves, and grow. We are more capable of being present with ourselves and our families, and the restorative energy we experience can increase our productivity and clear more time in our schedules.

What can we do to combat negativity and empower ourselves?

The Coronavirus and its complex effects comprise a system that is larger than ourselves. We are rendered hopeless, sometimes to levels of despair.  Often, we find ourselves at the mercy of well intended efforts and policies to mitigate the effects of a medical mystery that science is only beginning to understand. The religious among us trust that everything is in God’s control and part of a master plan. However, without this express knowledge, we can understandably experience bouts of sadness and anxiety from time to time.

 Changing our mindset

What can we do to combat negativity and empower ourselves?   Changing our mindset and  exploring efforts we can take that are within our control helps.  Focusing on what we have the power to affect and change can create empowering  moments in our lives.

So here are some ideas! We can learn a new language or to play an instrument, start a new exercise routine, or engage in a few minutes of mindfulness a day. We can volunteer to call an isolated elderly person, try our cooking skills out on a new dish, or redecorate a room in our home. For some of us, stretching ourselves means removing something we are accustomed to in our schedule.  For example: refraining from opening the refrigerator door for the 15th time in the day. The list can go on, but the goals will remain the same:

  1.  increase our ability to give to ourselves

  2.  improve our presence with ourselves and with our families

  3.  help us create and stretch at a time when so much is beyond our control.

Initiating a stretch beyond our comfort zone

Leaving our comfort zones also presents an opportunity for channeling the sad and anxious energy cycling through our systems. Sadness and anxiety seem to be the new normal.  We are trying to cope with a wide scope of grief and loss. We can direct some of the confusion and overwhelming feelings  into energy that can be used to create and  grow. In this way we  improve our moods and self efficacy when our morale is at a low. By initiating a stretch beyond our comfort zones, we will be able to direct our energies into increasing our presence and infusing ourselves with positivity during this challenging time.

Faigy Parchi LMSW

‘Ask the Kav L’Noar Therapist’ is a series running every fourth Monday of the month. If you would like your question to be considered for the series, please send it to feedback@kavlnoar.org. All correspondence will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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