Load-shedding is wreaking havoc. On our streets, in businesses, and ultimately in the minds of South Africans that have to endure the frustration, feelings of hopelessness, and anger.
In such times most advice feels empty and without understanding. I am definitely not here to tell you to just be positive and turn that frown upside down. Instead, I tried to very briefly outline 11 realistic ideas and practices that could perhaps help get you through the pressure and pain of load-shedding.
The most cliché piece of advice during trying times, but one still worth mentioning, is that we have to control what we can and let go of what we cannot. You’d be surprised by how much you can actually control. It’s another way of saying, focus on the power you have and not the power you don’t have.
Load-shedding will pass. I don’t know when or how. But it will pass. I have personally always found comfort in the quote “This too shall pass”. It’s a potent reminder that the bad (and good) eventually passes. Therefore, we must endure the bad knowing that it’s temporary, and enjoy the good, knowing that it too is temporary.
You are not suffering alone. It may feel like it. But rest assured that we are all feeling the strain. Of course, I am not suggesting that there is some joy to be found in observing the suffering of others. However, when we know that others are experiencing the same hardships it gives a sense of Ubuntu. We are in this together and together we will overcome.
Realise that during times of intense pressure and stress your decision-making ability is affected. Therefore allow yourself to live into the space between stimulus and response. Meaning, give yourself more space before making rash decisions and extend a level of understanding for the frustration of others. They might be acting out of turn. It’s an opportunity to be kind and express sympathy.
Mentally tough people are able to see adversity as a challenge and not as a threat. You have to reframe how you think about the moments in which you are being pushed to your limits. You either succumb or you grow.
The moment you allow your environment to dictate how you feel, you lose. You have the ability to self-generate emotions. To choose how you will feel and act. So, choose optimism. The alternative, pessimism, is also available to you. But you will only be making things harder than it needs to be.
Challenging times test character, but also build character. Perhaps you can see load-shedding as an opportunity to work on patience, or your temper, or to let go of what you cannot control.
How can you model constructive behavior for others in these times of turmoil?
The emotional and financial pressure that accompanies load-shedding will undoubtedly have an effect on your body. Make sure to take time out, think about something else. Don’t default to bad eating or drinking habits. Move your body to get rid of excess frustration.
Yes, load shedding sucks. But there is always something to be grateful for. Start with that. Science has shown that a gratitude practice can have a demonstrably positive effect on one’s state of mind.
The worst thing you can do is to go to bed angry and frustrated. Then wake up angry and frustrated. Then, go into your day angry and frustrated. You have to break the cycle somewhere. Mornings are a good time to do so. It’s a moment before the day starts in which you can decide how you will approach the day. From a planning point of view but also from a mindset point of view.
Obviously, none of the ideas I mentioned will make the pain go away but I hope that this post has perhaps helped to shift something small for you. Even the smallest change in perspective can sometimes have a dramatic impact.
Stay mentally tough and embrace the challenge.
Acta Non Verba,