Surprise, an unwanted guest is at your door. That is what you want to tell your spouse, but something more diplomatic comes out. Guess who’s coming to dinner?
Many of us have experienced this uncomfortable scenario. An invited friend or relative brought an unexpected plus one, or two, to the party. Or someone showed up unannounced.
If you were the host, you scrambled to find extra food and seating, and you realized your opportunity for an intimate connection with your guests of honor had disappeared.
Occasionally, you got to know your uninvited guest and made a lifetime friend. But most of the time, when your uninvited guests left, you were exhausted, frustrated, and stressed out.
You may have thought to yourself, “I will never do that again.”
For the briefest of moments, you considered calling your friend or relative and letting them know how stressed you felt. But you didn’t want to create a conflict. So you didn’t address it.
Then the next year came, and it happened again.
Once it was allowed, your friend or relative assumed it was okay to do it in the following years. And then their entourage started inviting their own unwanted and uninvited guests.
The Snowball effect of an unwanted guest.
Your guest list was like a snowball rolling downhill that grew larger with every revolution.
And if you were honest, you were dreading this year until the pandemic hit.
You thought to yourself, “At least this year, I will not have to deal with unwanted guests.”
Hold that thought.
Take a deep breath.
You might even want to sit down for this news.
The Pandemic has brought a new Unwanted Guest (and his closest friends).
Let me introduce you to your unwanted guests this year.
Coronavirus Anxiety will boldly walk into your gathering and sit at the head of the table, becoming the center of everyone’s attention. He can single-handily suck all the energy out of the room.
He will talk about the spread of the disease, the effect on the economy, and the difficulty in locating paper towels and antiseptic wipes. He can quickly build up small worries into a full-scale panic.
He seems to know your weaknesses and preys on them like a roaring lion.
He invites his friend FOMO and the snowball effect begins.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) continually talks about who is missing, what you can’t do, and drives you to social media to see how much better everyone else’s celebrations are.
Loneliness appears and whispers a series of attacks in your ears that are deafening. She says that you are an unwanted guest. That no one will miss you when you were gone. And perhaps, that you don’t deserve friends and company.
(Loneliness is wrong. Some people would miss you terribly. Some people would love to hear your story, and they can be reached here.)
Pain puts his hand on your shoulder and convinces you that no one is suffering like you are. He tells you that you will never heal. You look up, and Self-Pity embraces you. And Anger fueled by resentment, irritation, and frustration is ready to erupt.
It almost makes you miss your previous unwanted guests, who would at least eventually leave.
How do we cope with an unwanted guest and their friends?
Whether our unwanted guest is flesh and blood or created by the pandemic, the coping strategies are the same.
Your first line of defense is to confront them before they enter your home.
Anxiety, Fear Of Missing Out, Loneliness, Pain, Self-pity, and Anger are often easier to ignore than to address head-on.
For some of us, they have been with us for so long that we don’t know how to part with them.
Having a plan for your old or new unwanted guests before they show up can make a difference in how you experience this season.
You will have to stand your ground and you will be challenged. But the sooner you address the issue the better it will be for you. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.
The pandemic makes you acutely aware of your isolation. But the truth is that it is possible to feel lonely, even in a crowded room.
Having a dear uplifting friend that you call when you are feeling lonely, a cup of chamomile tea, or a good book may be just what you need. Create and design your self-care package today; you will be glad you did.
But what do you do if the unwanted guest shows up anyway?
Take a breath and commit to damage control. Try to be as loving as possible to yourself and others.
Don’t let Anxiety, Fear Of Missing Out, Loneliness, Pain, Self-pity, and Anger become the center of your attention. Focus on good things, good people, and good thoughts.
Self-talk is a great way to deal with these unwanted guests. Often our fears are out of proportion, and we feel silly when we say them out loud.
CALL TO ACTION
Here are some additional suggestions on what to do with Coronavirus Anxiety. The tips work well with his buddies as well.