What Is Going On?
Did you know that there is something called “blursday,” referring to a post-pandemic time warping associated with higher levels of distress?
Just this week, clients were describing experiences that sounded like time warping, more shut down or shut off than the current environment demands.
Different as they are in age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, you name it; they very much had in common a present inclination to not do a whole lot.
They also had in common lives filled with good work and lots of opportunity, so naturally, I began to wonder what else might be going on.
Something about it seemed apart from common procrastination. From an earlier post, “Survey finds 94% of People Say Procrastination Hurts Their Happiness”:
A Harvard study found that more people suffer from procrastination than “alcohol, drug, abuse, or depression,” and look what it is linked to:
- Chronic procrastination has been linked to mental health problems, stress, and lowered general well-being studies.
- According to a recent poll, 94% of respondents said procrastination makes them unhappy.
- Chronic procrastinators are more likely to have headaches, colds, and digestive problems.
- A 2015 research found a link between chronic procrastination and hypertension, heart disease, and cardiovascular illness.
- Procrastination has been linked to underperformance, financial stress, and low self-esteem.
So that’s what procrastination can cause. But what’s feeding into the procrastination, if we even want to call it that?
And then I saw this article on the adverse effects of pandemic (and trauma in general) related time warping. From the article:
“All of a sudden, everything went on stop.… We could not be the people we were used to being in the world anymore,” says health psychologist Alison Holman of the University of California, Irvine.
“People who experienced temporal disintegration … got stuck in that past experience. They couldn’t put together the flow from past to present to future,” she says.
People got stuck in the past, and a lot of them are still stuck there, even as we are moving on more and more beyond the restrictions of the past.
So, here’s what I’m noticing. A lot of people I know really want to feel in charge of their lives.
“All of a sudden, everything went on stop.” And now y’all want everyone to go from Stop to Go, just because who said so?
Not so fast, not ready yet? Don’t exactly appreciate the demands? Whose life is this anyway?
Maybe we liked some things about that slower pace. Maybe we are not ready to give it all up. Maybe we want to be the ones to decide.
So, a lot of people are saying NO, much the way a two-year-old does. NO for the sake of NO.
NO to assert oneself, even to things they really want to do. NO even to themselves.
Like Ron, who caught himself saying NO to a ballgame he really wanted to go to, had no reason not to go to, other than that the mode he is in right now is NO.
This awareness of what I learned in school to call ‘The Revolt of The I’ helped him to see where else this is happening in his life, internally too.
That’s right, people revolt against themselves on things they know are good for them in work and life. The minute something begins to feel like a ‘should’, it can get hit internally with the blanket NO too. Not doin’ it.
This NO strategy is ubiquitous once it gets going. But we are adults now, so we can do something a little more nuanced and sophisticated than ‘Just Say No’ to reassure ourselves that we’re in charge.
Besides, we can never be fully in charge of our lives anyway. Other people, economic downturns, domestic and world conflict, mother nature, pandemics…have their way with us for sure.
But there are times when that’s more in our faces than others, and these times are definitely one of those times.
3 Tips for Time Warping
If the issue here is essentially that people are stuck in the past, having trouble moving on, here below is what can help:
- Mindfulness: No better way I know of to get us out of the past and into the present.
- Visioning: Another good way to get out of the past and, in this case, into your future.
- Make Room For Yes: 3 luxurious breaths, in through the nose, out through the nose…and then, with your higher brain online, ask yourself whether whatever it is that is being asked of you, or that you are asking of yourself, is really a NO—or a YES.
Practice, practice, practice… and for help with any of the above, would love to hear from you at [email protected]
Photo by Derek Story Unsplash