This month was Ground Hog Day in the U.S. The day when a small creature sticks its head out of a burrow to predict the weather. But let’s forget that. The way most of us know this phrase is when we use it to describe the monotony of one day looking very much like the next. Nothing changing. Same old, same old.
I believe that the term was taken from the excellent Bill Murray film of the same name (if you haven’t seen it, do dig it out) about a man who lives exactly the same day again and again and again. Having the same conversations. Doing the same thing. And making the same mistakes – until he doesn’t.
Us mid-life women can sometimes feel as though our lives are like this on a regular basis. The routine of providing care for our loved ones, the sandwich generation, a career which has stalled and doesn’t excite us anymore. Wondering if this is all there is now?
And then you throw in a pandemic.
So, is there anything we can do to help ourselves?
1Be your own best friend. Accept that feeling like this is quite normal in the current situation and give yourself a break. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be all things to all people. Allow for the fact that you may not have the energy, brain space or time to do what you may have done 10 years ago. You are dealing with the physical and emotional effects of your age and then all the pressures of the global situation on top.
2Rate the consequences. I understand the pressure of having to home-school and run a business only too well. But ask yourself – do I have to do this thing? What are the consequences of us not doing that lesson today? Will terrible things happen if I ask that client to give me more time, or even say “no” to one? What would happen if I asked my boss for some time off? And then, most importantly, what are the consequences of you not doing those things.
3Be honest with yourself. If you are feeling low is this a passing phase or is it more serious? Do you need to see a doctor or other professional who can offer support? Depression and low moods can be a symptom of the menopause and there are things which can help, both medical and other forms of support. With all the extra pressures of a pandemic, it would not be surprising if you were struggling.
4And after you’ve done this, add something new into your day. Make a promise to yourself to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing something which makes you feel good. Deep breathing, meditation, people watching with a good brew, reading, podcast, a run, lying in a hot bath. Can you really say that you don’t’ deserve that 15 minutes? And don’t tell me you haven’t the time – schedule it in. You make a firm appointment to visit the dentist and that’s not fun. Do something that is.
There are no quick and easy answers, but I do know that carving out some time, emotional energy and brain space are key to creating a more joyful life.