The COVID pandemic has paralysed many industries and without a clear end date it's natural that people are feeling 'lost'. This is what I discovered during my own journey of feeling lost, to help you to find your way.
A good friend of mine works in the events industry, an industry that has been completely crippled by lockdown. Who knows when big group events will be allowed to run again, let alone sought after! She described her feeling despair and feeling 'lost'.
After I finished university, I spent 10 years feeling lost. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, but I did know that what I was doing did not feel right.
Feeling 'lost' comes in many forms; anxiety, depression, unmotivated, numbness, helplessness, aimlessness. You might feel like you have lost sight of who you are and the person you want to be, or maybe life just has a kinda grey hue.
It's very common to feel lost during big life transitions. Mine hit me in the transition between university and full time employment in the corporate world. It was only in my late twenties when I started to explore feeling lost as an opportunity to grow. Here are the 5 ways that helped me when I was feeling lost:
1. What lights you up?
If you are feeling lost and unsure of what you want to do, ask yourself 'what lights you up?'
AKA 'what brings you joy?'
Start by writing a list of 10 things that light you up. It could be anything, it doesn't matter how silly they sounds, and it doesn't have to be something you think will lead to a career. Some of mine are; dancing in my living room, walking in nature, yoga outside, bubble bath with a good book, life drawing, and hula hooping. Hula hooping for example is not a career goal (yet!) but that doesn't matter, it is on my list because hooping brings me joy.
Each of these activities are "energy investments", the more you do them, the more positive energy you will feed yourself. Like a muscle that gets stronger the more you train, the more you exercise with your energy investments the stronger you will get energetically.
Now you have your list of energy investments, start making time for each of them. Schedule even just 10mins with your energy investments in your diary now. It's might be difficult at first but once you get the taste of feeling brighter, you will crave the goodness they bring.
2. What dims you down?
Now that you have discovered what lights you up, it is equally important to become aware of what 'dims you down' AKA 'what depletes your energy?'
Start by writing a list of 10 things that dim you down - these are your energy suckers. This could be your job, or maybe your cluttered room, or maybe even some toxic people you have in your life. Becoming aware of your energy suckers is the first step. Now beside each one, note down if you can change the situation. For example, can you make some distance between you and the toxic energy suckers? Can you start to declutter your living space?
But don't worry if you don't feel strong enough to deal with what dims you down just yet. The more you do what lights you up, the stronger you will feel to be able to deal with what dims you down.
3. Savour the process of growth
Soften to what is, and savour the process. Sometimes we put so much energy into pushing and striving that we miss out on the joy of being where we are. Often it's when we get to the top of the mountain's peak that we stand proudly to take in our beautiful surroundings. But with so much determination to reach the peak, what beauty did we miss along the way? Although uncertainty in uncomfortable, the journey is the reward. If we can find peace in the uncertainty, we can allow the future to unfold. Be ok that your life will always be a work in progress, and that's the joy of it.
4. Try not to compare yourself to others
Do you really know anyone's true story? Most the time we base our assumptions on what we see. Social media especially is a construction of what we want the world to see. So if you find yourself comparing to people, especially people on social media, remember that people rarely post/show their hardships, their mental health, their despairs. When you do more of what lights you up you will naturally compare yourself to others less.
5. You are not alone
Feeling lost can feel isolating, but remember that we all feel lost at various times in a lives. It's often something that can happen during a major life transition and why so many people are feeling it during the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as I started talking about it I realised how nearly everyone had also felt lost!
So why does discovering and practicing what lights you up help you when you are feeling lost?
We are explorers navigating through a maze of unknown lands. Planning is our way of making the unknown journey more comfortable; planning is our attempt of mapping out the journey. But sudden change, like lockdown, can bring to light the uncertainty of life. There are no maps. Suddenly we feel directionless, and we feel lost.
By shifting your attention to your energy investments you will start to strength an inner light that can help guide you in the most mysterious ways!
I did not know that I wanted to be a yoga teacher. By practicing my energy investments (most of which had nothing to do with yoga) I was led to yoga teaching and now yoga therapy. It was never in my 'plan'. But even now, I'm still investing in what lights me up to see where it leads me next. It's all a work in progress!
Even if we don’t recognise it at the time, we are always growing, learning, and evolving. We can help ourselves when we feel lost by spending more time on our energy investments. The more you spend on them, the brighter you will beam.
Remember that grey hue from feeling lost? Like a light house, let your light lead your way!