Post #90 Are you Okay and How do you Know?
Our society has been scrambling to adjust to stay-at-home mandates thanks to COVID-19. Your classes have moved to an online format. Spring and summer plans have been canceled. And you’re trying to move forward with your life despite a future that seems murky. You have a plate full of risk and uncertainty. What would you say if I asked, “Are you okay?”
Yes, I’m Okay
That is fantastic and I’m glad to hear you believe you are doing well. My next question to you would be WHY? If you believe you are holding up simply fine, I’d like you think about why. Perhaps you have an amazing ability to manage life’s roller coaster of emotions. Or, maybe you have lived through tough heartache and catastrophic times, so you’ve mastered the skill of adaptation. Maybe… could it be possible you tell yourself you’re okay? Are you fooling yourself into feeling something that you’re not? This is where self-awareness can be your guide (see Post #84). When you reflect on your current status, ask yourself if you truly feel grounded and stable. Then ask yourself, “How do I know?”
I’m Kind of Okay
Many of you believe you’re doing okay and that you’re just getting by. You feel you’re not great, but things can be better. I suspect there is a large number of students wishing things were different, hoping things get back to ‘normal.’ Wishing and hoping tend to have a feel-good implication, but they can be quite the opposite. Wishing and hoping can be an unhealthy way of resisting reality. The more you wish and hope, the more you may set yourself up to be disappointed when you don’t get your desired outcome. Imagine telling yourself, “My situation is not ideal, but I’m capable of figuring things out” instead of dwelling on, “I wish I could make this go away.” Can you believe the idea, “My plans will be different than I thought” rather than, “Nothing is going my way.” Altering your perspectives, even if just a little bit, can pave a small path towards positive movement.
No, I’m not Okay
If your answer to “Am I okay” is a solid no, you are not alone. You are trying to juggle new circumstances with courses, commitments, relationships and uncomfortable emotions under immense self-pressure. You cannot be expected to know how to handle everything. It’s difficult enough living as an engineering student, let alone adjusting your world to accommodate to a COVID environment. Despite what your professors, your family or peers may do and say, hear this: you are figuring things out at your own pace, and that’s O.K. Others will figure life out at their own pace; you focus on yourself, your needs and your requirements. Stop comparing, as tempting as it is. You are your own unique individual and it is your right to learn and adjust at a rate specific to you. Filter out the unnecessary noise, it’s the last thing you need right now. If you need direction on how to get started, please contact me to help give you a jump start!
In summary, our emotions are all over the place all the time. There is no right or wrong way to handle life’s unexpected changes. If I ask you right now, “Are you okay?” and you don’t like your answer, contact me!
For additional tools and brain exercises to help you manage your COVID-19 circumstances, visit my YouTube video: Managing Student Life During COVID-19.