If you’re feeling manic, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in very good company.
Quarantine has had many unexpected side effects, one being the polarized emotions inside of our bubbles. One moment is playful, the next is irritable. Happily distracted followed anxiously focused. Cool as a cucumber, then blood boiling. This is who we are at times, highly unpredictable and potentially volatile if not handled properly.
During a pandemic when the virus isn’t the only novel thing, we’re finding new and clever ways to calm the storm. Anyone who had a routine of alone time, quiet time, creative space or solitude — basically everyone — is finding themselves up against the walls (and likely climbing up them) as they await the triumphant return of regular living. But the potential that we’re only nearly halfway through this chaos warns us we need to find alternative ways to find said solitude before there’s a meltdown.
The smaller the bubble and the more crowded the space, the more manic the emotions of its inhabitants are likely to be. But there’s a way away from being a manic man, by minding the gap we can manage our new living and workspaces without sinking the ship we’re all stuck on.
Now we know what you’re thinking — buddy, I’ve already had a series of meltdowns that could be broken up into bingeable Netflix seasons.
Don’t worry, we hear you. Not only that, we’re right there with you.
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
The longer we are stuck in our little quarantine cubicles, the more likely we are to begin living like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, flip personalities in a single entity, or what you might call the unpredictable dual nature of an individual.
We could actually argue that most people, ourselves included, have a number of personalities within us. We are the entertainer, the listener, the guardian, the court jester, the giver, the taker, the teacher, the student and the absolute mad man. All those people living together, in addition to other actual human beings, cohabitating in a single space? That’s truly a recipe for madness. The trick is to avoid a bad ending.
While some folks have the good fortune of backyards, sunny streets and open spaces to work, play and hide in their pandemic playpens, others (more than enough) are sharing shrunken spaces, sucking up each other’s oxygen and smothering their bubble buddies. Can you imagine getting a new roommate before lockdown, right before realizing you let a nightmare over the threshold of your safe space? Count your blessings that’s not you.
In a time when people are already polarized politically and collectively, it’s important to close the gap and find common ground, especially if you’re sharing said common ground from sunrise to sunset. It’s in our moral centers and our ability as humans to adapt to unexpected situations we’re not attuned that we overcome countless hurdles.
So how do you mind your madness?
Minding Your Madness
Adapting is a big part of life, something we all have to learn to do from time to time. This year, however, feels like endless adaptations to normal life to the point we barely recognize ourselves. But instead of spending our days frustrated over the daily struggle, we have to first make a plan, then learn acceptance, focus on the bright side and simply try to do better.
Communication is everything, more so than ever, especially when you’re sharing a small space. Just so nobody loses their minds (or an eye), we recommend making a plan for how to overcome the obstacles of the daily routine. Set routine times to exercise, make dinner, get clever with separating workspaces, mind each other’s needs for solitude and quietness, anything to avoid conflicts. But more than anything, just be considerate and communicative when conflicts do arise, tenfold if not more. And most importantly, be forgiving.
It would be easy to sweat the small stuff and let it overtake our mood for the entire day, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk. We’re all in this — no one is immune, despite what our president may say — so we must accept that we’re all a little behind the starting line when the race begins each morning. Accepting what you cannot control, as opposed to trying to control the uncontrollable anyway, allows you to flow more freely throughout your day without giving so much of your energy to a pointless source.
Negativity rewires your brain in a bad, bad way. It’s gratitude that brings you back. By starting the day right, we allow ourselves to start on the right foot, as opposed to immediately opening our phone to see the sky is falling, yet again. The sun will rise again tomorrow, make peace with that and move on with your day, focusing on the bright side. People love the optimistic, especially in times of uncertainty. And let go of grudges, they never served you in the past and definitely won’t now.
Finally, try to do better. Even if you shoot an absolute airball, at least you tried. It can be so easy to get squashed by the weight of this thing, which means we have to go a little further and try a little harder than usual in these unusual times.
Yes, it’s exhausting, but just think how easy it’ll be when things let up. Mind your gap, mind your mind and be mindful toward others. And leave Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at the door.
You should only be seeing them during the holidays anyway, but luckily, those aren’t far off, my manic man (wink).
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