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‘Hindi talaga ako maka-focus sa work these days kahit na *new normal* na ‘to. What’s going on?’

Q: Alam ko one year na tayong ganito at ang tawag natin sa sitwasyon na 'to ay "new normal" pero nothing feels normal. There are good days, sure, but more often than not, I just feel lost and unmotivated. Feeling ko ang bagal ko kumilos sa trabaho. Ang hirap mag-focus kasi marami akong kilalang may sakit...naghihirap. I'm not sure kung anong point ko but I wonder how long I'll feel this way. What does it all mean?

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Feeling unfocused and unmotivated during these trying times is okay. More than that, it's normal. Tasks that you used to finish in 15 minutes now take longer because most days, you just don't have the same energy as you did pre-pandemic. There's so much heaviness in the world right now, and you don't have to beat yourself up for feeling like you aren't productive enough. Cosmopolitan spoke to meta coach Sheila Tan about what you need to know if you're feeling too many things you can't understand. 

Feeling unfocused, unmotivated, lost

Sheila shares, "Many people are expected to still function like there's nothing happening. But we all know there's a pandemic and everybody is affected in one way or another. The one problem that exacerbates it is when people don't recognize what they're experiencing. They just know that they feel tiredness. They know that they feel unmotivated. They even blame themselves for it."

You might think:

  • "I should be grateful."
  • "I should be grateful that I have a job." 
  • "I should feel blessed that I'm healthy."

But we're all experiencing a collective grief. And in the beginning, when we experience stress, there's a sense of adrenaline that makes us want to think of solutions. But because it's been more than a year—and not much has changed—people are getting exhausted. According to Sheila, "some people have gotten to a point of being helpless, hopeless. And the one thing we need to do is to pause and acknowledge that feeling. Sometimes, we don't even have a term for it. We don't even have a name for it. What's important is for us to assess ourselves. What am I feeling and how is it impacting me?"

And if you feel unproductive at work, here's what you need to keep in mind: "People force themselves to operate at 100 percent. [We] should not be operating at 100 percent [during] a pandemic happening—with people dying left and right. It's more appropriate to feel grief, to be sad, and to feel unmotivated.

Sheila adds, "What's paradoxical about this is, the more we talk about it, the more it is relieved. And the more we're able to let it go. Some people don't want to talk about it. They deny it because they feel like, 'If I talk about it, it makes it bigger.' Actually, that's not true. And that's why talk therapy helps. When we're able to articulate that heavy feeling, first, it has a release on our end. Secondly, when people hear about it, when people see it on social media, for example, then they have sense of, 'I'm heard and I’'m listened to because that's exactly what I'm feeling. Someone is feeling it, too, and I'm not alone.'"

Sheila Tan is a meta coach and neuro-semantics trainer. She is also the president of Altius Coaching and Consulting. Sheila co-founded Flourish Circle, a community-based solution for mental health. Her advocacies include HIV awareness, women empowerment, and mental health. You can contact her through Altius Coaching's websiteFacebook, or Instagram.

Do you need career, life, love, or mental health advice? We're here to help you, bb. Join our Cosmo Community on Facebook, post your question—btw, you can do this anonymously now—and use the hashtag #AskACosmoCoach. 

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