The staff at Create Balance aren’t personally very active on social media these days. So when one of our employees shared a brain teaser, she didn’t expect many, if any comments. However, over 80 guesses soon flooded in from over 40 acquaintances. Many of these guesses came from people she hadn’t even spoken to in years. So why was there so much interest?
Perhaps it’s all the spare time that people have on their hands due to the current lockdowns in Melbourne, Geelong and regional Victoria. Or maybe people are starved of connection and interaction. More likely, it’s a welcome distraction from the stress and anxiety that many are feeling in their current circumstances. Perhaps it has given people a brief opportunity to achieve a small goal, when so many things are out of our control at the moment. And achieving goals releases dopamine, making us feel a little bit happier.
So is distraction a healthy habit during a crisis? Finding ways to keep your mind off your concerns can give your mind and body a break. It gives you the time and space to recharge, giving you the energy required to deal with the stress, anxiety or grief you’re experiencing. Avoid distracting yourself with alcohol and drugs, as they have the potential to increase issues of anxiety, panic, depressive symptoms or other mental health concerns. Instead, consider activities that have end-goals and encourage targeted focus, such as exercise, home improvement projects, arts and craft or brain teasers. Oh, and how could we forget sourdough baking!
However, it is important to remember that distraction is not healthy for long periods of time. It is important that you don’t entirely ignore or discount your feelings. Without recognising and sitting with your emotions, you are not giving yourself the opportunity to process your thoughts and eventually move beyond the negative feelings you’re experiencing. To help process your thoughts and feelings, it can be beneficial to express yourself, by talking with a friend, a professional or even journaling.
So, try to find a balance between distraction and despair and allow yourself to move between these two states fluidly as required.
To help you with distraction, we’ve designed our own little brain teaser which you are welcome to share around. Be warned, the devil is in the detail. Let us know your guesses and if you ask very nicely, we might even be able to send you a clue. Good luck!