I can’t count how many times I’ve read and heard the word “unprecedented” over the past fourteen months. The pandemic disrupted our routines, our jobs, the way we move about in the world, and for some, it may have disrupted our self-identities. Many of us may still be experiencing these disruptions, and feeling their after-effects. As the pandemic recedes, we may be wondering how to emotionally move on, and begin moving around in the world again with confidence.
Clarity is something that we all desire, especially when it comes to making decisions. In a time of re-entry, many of us will face lots of decisions, especially around personal comfort levels and safety around others. In those moments, we may find it hard to feel clear about our decisions. Feelings of fear and anxiety can be at odds with desires to connect or to go back to “normal.” Our world of constant communication and misinformation may compound those complicated feelings, and trying to parse through posts on Instagram can make us feel like we’re only adding to our own mental noise.
With all of this in mind, consider building in some strategies for finding some clarity in your life. Here are four of our suggestions:
- Resist binaries. Decisions are often not right or wrong– they are more subjective than that. If you’re looking for clarity, remind yourself that the world is not black and white, and the decisions before you likely don’t have one right answer. What you decide is up to you.
- Connect with your values. I have experienced, and continue to experience, a lot of anxiety around being in large groups of people during the pandemic. This is a reasonable response, and one that has kept me and my family safe over the past year. However, when I feel that same anxiety bubbling up, I try to connect with what I value. I value being in community with others and being in physical proximity to them. When I remind myself of that, moving towards that value becomes easier, despite the ongoing anxiety.
- Create ritual. Some people find personal clarity through contemplative reflection: spiritual practices, journaling, or simply enjoying nature can be ways to find clarity. If writing or hiking isn’t your thing, consider how you can make a ritual you already have more reflective. Your morning tea or coffee, for example: can that time become a moment of reflection?
- Befriend uncertainty. While COVID-19 challenged our confidence in the world and our social structures, life wasn’t completely certain before the pandemic. We still had to take risks, accept what we couldn’t control, and reflect on our comfort zone. While uncertainty is uncomfortable, it’s something that we had to live with even before the pandemic. Reminding ourselves that uncertainty is a part of life might help us move forward.
Jay Woodman wrote, “I honour the clarity of the present moment, and the stillness at the centre of being mine and others, even in the midst of so much doing.” The pandemic required a lot of us, and the road ahead will have its own challenges. Finding clarity through grounding deeply into our own values can help us center ourselves and draw on our inner resources to keep going.