This has been a unique month. Particularly the past few weeks as nearly everything and everyone makes adjustments due to COVID-19. Because it’s a new virus, there’s a lot of unknown, and unknown often triggers the fear response within us.
Fear is a normal, healthy bodily reaction designed to keep us safe, especially in the not-so-distant past when our ancestors were literally face to face with death on the daily. Many of us are several generations removed from a hunter/gatherer, face-deadly-possibilities lifestyle, so the fear reaction becomes less helpful to us.
At its least productive, fear can stop us in our tracks and prevent us from taking action. And as a person who loves positive action so much I literally wrote the book on it, I’m not cool with fear that messes with that.
I find that when I’m facing any unknown, whether trying something simple like a new recipe or something complex like engaging in a full career pivot, it helps to keep as much familiar around me as I can in times of change. Neil Postman reminds us, “Change is tremendously stressful, so control the amount of newness you must face.”
My version of this sentiment is to take comfort in what brings you comfort. When your part of the world seems like it’s in flux, find something that grounds and steadies you. The familiarity of comfortable things can calm the fear when faced with one or many unknowns.
Here’s just a few options:
- Music – this is one of those wonderful time machines that can immediately transport us to another time and place without ever leaving our homes. I often gravitate toward albums from my youth when there’s a lot of change happening. If you want to shake it up a bit, search out a great cover version of a song you love.
- Pajamas (or any other comfortable article of clothing) – there are very few bad days that can’t be cured at our house with a pair of pajamas and curling up on the couch to read or watch a movie. Caveat: As a person who works primarily from home, this does not mean PJ’s 24×7! Use comfy clothes sparingly so they can still give you the boost when you need it!
- Friends – I know we’re supposed to be limiting contact, but let’s use the amazing technologies that are all around us to stay (or get!) connected in new ways. I’ve already seen some really creative uses of online gathering this week!
There are lots of possibilities to choose from! Maybe it’s old movies, books, family photo albums, or something else entirely. The important thing is that you embrace whatever creates comfort and familiarity for you (which will likely be different than for me). It won’t be nearly as effective at fighting back the fear if it’s not something that is authentically you!
#PositiveAction Use something familiar and/or comfortable to ease the fear of the unknown as you navigate change!
But wait, there’s more! Are you looking for help in managing fear as you embark on something new (whether by choice or by chance)? Are you ready to face the unknown confidently? I’m offering a FREE 30-minute webinar on exactly this topic! Learn more and register here!