When I was a kid, I loved to go to amusement parks and ride the rides, especially the Tilt-A-Whirl. I loved the sensation of going up and down and around and around in random and unexpected ways. I would get very dizzy and laugh hysterically at the sensation, even though it could be extremely uncomfortable.
Now that I am older, the Tilt-A-Whirl makes me nauseous and the feeling of being randomly flung through the air isn’t so fun anymore.
I think a lot of us feel like we’re on a Tilt-A-Whirl right now. And in many ways, we are.
The events of the last few weeks have been described as unprecedented, and many people have used the word whiplash. We thought we were going in one direction and then abruptly, we were going a different way. Like the Tilt-A-Whirl.
Many are feeling anxiety and concern and even nausea at what is going on. If you or someone you know is struggling, here are some things that help me sometimes.
How To Stop The Tilt-A-Whirl We Are In Right Now
- Channel your anxious energy into something you can control and that gets your hands busy. Clean your house. Organize your closet. Tend to your yard. Paint your toenails. Wash and blow dry your hair. Cook something. There are studies that show that busy hands lead to calmer brains.
- When the monsters of anxiety creep into your thinking and keep you awake at night, try to visualize them and turn them into cute cartoon monsters and remind them that you’re a competent, capable person and you, alone and with other people’s help, will be able to handle what comes your way.
- When the whiplash of the situation is too much to bear, let yourself withdraw from the problems to build your reserves back up. Take a nap. Turn off the news. Stop checking social media. Eat something healthy. Draw or paint or write. Play with your plants or get out into nature. Take a bubble bath. Breathe. Call a friend and talk about anything other than the virus and its impact. Once your reserves are back up, you’ll be able to manage the situation better.
- Remind yourself that right now, you are ok. In the immediate present moment, you are ok. Stay with that thought and stay in that immediate moment. Mo Gawdat’s book Solve for Happy reminded me that my default state is happy and it’s when all of the other weights of the world get put on me that I am unhappy. So return to your default state in the present moment without the weights of the world.
Nobody has all of the answers right now and it is ok to feel anxious and worried. Just try not to let it take over.