We’re not talking about a Revenue Canada audit, although having all your financial affairs in order is always a good idea.

Today, we’re discussing the times when feelings of helplessness, anger, fear, and uncertainty show up. We’ve navigated through two years of Covid-19, and now, just when the sun is starting to shine over the mountain tops of that experience, new turmoil hits our land. We fully respect everyone’s right to choose their position on any topic and are not about to tell you what side of any argument is right or wrong – your intelligence will guide you. Regardless of how you view a situation, the mental companions that hitch a ride can add more stress to an already stressful environment. Self-care is paramount, and here are our best tips for times of trouble.

The faces or the vase?

Perception is unique to each of us. Personal experiences, education, family background, economic status, occupation, and other societal factors contribute to who we are. They also influence how we perceive a situation. No matter how much we feel our viewpoint is right, others will see things differently. It’s as if we all wear prescription glasses with different lenses. When we accept there will always be more than one way of viewing an issue, that acknowledgment delivers an appreciation for how complex human beings are and helps put differences in perspective. We can’t force others to adopt our view because we feel right. It’s our differences that provide an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. 

Take time to consider why you feel strongly about a situation, make sure your beliefs are grounded in fact and not fiction, social media, or hearsay passed on like that old children’s game of telephone. Resist the temptation to judge others, even if they feel free to do so. 

Look around you

It’s easy to get caught up in the fray during uncertain times and feel overwhelmed by a sense of uncertainty and loss. This is the time to look around and appreciate what we still have. Gratitude will be different for everyone but could include family, a place to live, work and play, friends, nature, the chance to walk in a forest, wildlife, and the everyday beauty of small things. 

Try taking an artist’s view of an object to develop your powers of observation and appreciation. Pick something to focus on for the next week: pine trees, water, people’s faces, doors, the colour red – anything tangible. Then observe your chosen item in detail for seven days straight. Too often, we take the beauty around us for granted, and time spent looking closely at a pine branch, for example, helps us refocus and produces a renewed sense of wonderment and appreciation of the world – flaws and all.

Do something

In times of turbulence, there is often an urge to do something and do it now. We want to fix whatever we perceive is wrong; to make it better. For some, that means taking drastic action. If you find yourself reluctant to enter the fray, it doesn’t mean you are weak, lack concern, or absolve your part in making the world a better place. You are likely a person who reflects deeply and knows there is always more than one way to effect change. Stay your course and contribute to a positive outcome in whatever way best expresses your genuine intention. Small gestures, such as kindness to others, empathy, and understanding, are time-tested. The adage that people remember how you made them feel long after your words are forgotten will no doubt be the basis of many recollections to come.