The last month has been challenging for so many people, to say the least. In Canberra where I live, we’ve been surrounded by devastating bushfires for the last couple months, we’ve had heavy smoke haze trapping everyone indoors for weeks at a time due to the hazardous air quality, then we had a storm that produced giant hail stones bigger than golf balls, followed by dust storms. Mother Nature is seriously pissed off about something!
In my personal life things have also been rough – I lost my darling Grandad who I adored, and at the same time my toddler had a bad ear infection that made him a bit annoying and very sleepless… which meant I was also a bit annoying and very sleepless.
A combination of crazy weather, grief, and fatigue had lead me to feel lower than low. But I wasn’t the only one. People all around me have been commenting on how terrible 2020 is so far. The mood everywhere is dark and depressed. Most people in my city have been badly impacted by the weather somehow, either by losing their properties down the coast, being cut off from their families, or having their car and/or house destroyed by the hail storm.
So recently when my husband and I were having a conversation about how incredibly shit things were going so far this year, I had to put a stop to it. I was feeling such a sense of doom and despair, and by continuing to list all the bad things, I was only emphasising the negatives. So I suggested we try listing all the GOOD things, and it really did help to turn the mood around.
We started by looking for the blessings amidst the terrible events:
- we weren’t directly impacted by the bushfires;
- our little guy coped super well with being trapped inside because of the smoke;
- the hailstorm that damaged thousands of cars and property missed our suburb;
- my Grandad’s death was fast enough that he didn’t suffer, and slow enough for us to gather and say goodbye;
- and our kid is pretty amazing even when he is in pain and overtired.
We then moved further out from the shitty events and looked at other things that had been happening in our lives:
- My husband gained a new client;
- my work was going well and offering me great support and flexibility;
- our little one is making incredible progress with his development and is (usually) so well behaved and funny; etc.
We finished the conversation feeling much lighter, happier, and more grateful. The conversation led on to discuss these great things in more detail so that we no longer realised we were making a list of good things – we were just talking about something that made us happy.
It’s such a weird time in Australia with all these natural disasters and bizarre weather events. Everyone is unsettled and disturbed by it. It’s serious stuff, and the impact on people is undoubtedly huge. But we need to remember that good stuff is happening too. That’s not at all to say we should dismiss people’s feelings or their need to talk about their struggles. But we need to help each other stay afloat and not be dragged too far under by the sadness and fear.