There is a wealth of information available explaining how eating right and exercising can help our bodies stay healthy during this pandemic, but there are many things we can do to keep our mind and spirit strong as well. Consider adopting the strategies below to help you remain calm, brave and resilient as we face this challenging time together.
Name it and claim it. Be honest with yourself and others about what you are feeling. Most of us are experiencing levels of grief and loss, fear, anxiety, exhaustion, frustration and depression. Some parents may feel guilty that they are not enjoying every minute with their kids at home. All of these emotions are normal in this situation. Remember to seek professional assistance if the emotional impact becomes too heavy a burden to carry. Even as you social distance, you are never alone.
Grant grace and space. Emotions are running high and we never know the battles others are facing. Practice deeper forgiveness for yourself and others when we may not presenting our best selves to the world.
Be the eye of the hurricane. It is so easy to get pulled into the chaos and drama of others, but by practicing grounding, self-care and stress management, you can become the stillness and clarity found in the eye of the hurricane. Pull others into your peace.
Remember the Serenity Prayer. More than ever we are feeling a loss of control in our lives. So remind yourself what you do have control over and surrender to the things you cannot change. We always have control over the choices we make, how we fill our minds and how we respond in any situation.
Find your anchors in the storm. What people places or activities bring you comfort and peace in difficult times? Who and what protects, nurtures and uplifts you? This may be music, cooking, gardening, laughing with friends, reading or walking in nature. It is acceptable to seek joy and laughter in the midst of suffering, in fact it may be even more important now.
Watch for champions, heroes and gifts. There is a saying that goes, “Storms can draw something out of us that calm seas do not.” A crisis can bring out the best in individuals, families and communities. Watch for these moments and celebrate them. Let’s try to reframe this time as a gift, not only for our self-development but for learning how we can use our talents to be of service to others.
Be still and focus on the moment. We all need sacred, quiet time to reflect on who we are and what we want to create in our lives and this shut down has given many of us more time for self-reflection. This situation is challenging, but try not to get caught up in the predictions about the future. Worry or anxiety about the future is wasted energy and does not serve our emotional health. Try not to give in to fear and use this time in a positive and productive way. All we really own is the present moment so keep your focus there. Joy resides in the present moment.
Look for the lessons. We often learn the most from the difficult situations we survive. And remember that you have already survived everything life has thrown at you so far, even when you thought you couldn’t. You may be learning patience, faith, courage and kindness. This crisis may have moved you to take action politically or socially. You may be using technology that is new to you and that you once feared. You may have learned that not every minute of your day needs to be filled with activity and you might just be enjoying it.
By working together and caring for each other we will survive this challenging time and perhaps come out the other side as stronger more compassionate human beings.
~Dr. Linda Peterson, PhD, MHC, Life Purpose and Health and Wellness Coach