Little did I know my February blog post (The Power of the Pause) would be so appropriate as the entire planet now takes a collective pause. We’re all different people than we were a month ago. I hope you and yours remain safe and well.
I am thankful to be healthy and sheltering in place in a safe environment, surrounded by nature. Using my self-care toolbox, I’ve managed (for the most part) to take this pause mindfully and to accept and adjust to an ever-changing new normal. There have been a few setbacks as reality sinks in and well-loved routines have been disrupted, but I’m managing to stay out of a negative mindset most of the time and to focus on being of service in new ways.
My energy has been aimed at working with nurses and other healthcare workers as they respond to this storm. When I hear from them or read about what they are going through on the front lines, my heart aches for them and their families. A new way to serve them is by frequently holding free group Zoom meetings to address their feelings and the stressful situations they are facing, providing self-care tools to find calm in the chaos.
We’ve all been learning resilience, finding new ways to cope in spite of setbacks, barriers, and limited resources. Looking back over the past few weeks, I’m seeing amazing resilience all over the world.
How are you coping? What new habits and routines are you and your family creating during this pause? What positive experiences have you noticed as you slow down and spend more time with your family? If you’re sheltered alone, are you reaching out virtually to connect with friends and family? A feeling of connection is crucial at a time like this.
One thing that has worked well for me is to take a break from the nonstop fear and sensation-based news and social media rants. For reliable information, I recommend using resources such as the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov) and the World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/). Get the science from real scientists. But don’t spend all day focused on the virus.
Try to get outside each day for at least a few minutes to move around. I understand you may be under lockdown conditions, but maybe you can enjoy an open window or door for some fresh air and bird song.
Create and use your self-care toolbox to stay well. Remember that stress compromises the immune system, and this is no time to let that happen. Create healthy sleep patterns. Practice slow, comfortable breaths to get through the rough times and find your center again. Start or restart a meditation practice. Try online yoga. Practice heart breathing. Treat yourself to a soak in the tub. Start or continue contributing to your gratitude journal. Notice the positive things coming from this world situation because they do exist.
Greater Good Science Center at Berkley recently published an article that offers six questions to ask yourself each day, some of which I’ve already mentioned:
- What am I grateful for today? Gratitude can seriously change your life for the better.
- Who am I checking in on or connecting with today? Make a list! Divide it up. Go!
- What expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?
- How am I getting outside today?
- How am I moving my body today?
- What beauty am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting today?
I love how creative people are getting, from inventing quality activities with their kids to new inventions to fill needs during this crisis, such as the Medical University of South Carolina openly releasing plans for 3D printed masks! It brings me hope and we all need that right now.
So find gratitude, rotate through a list of friends to check in with each day, sleep well, eat well, get outside and move, slowly release expectations of “normal,” and allow yourself to imagine new ways to cope with this situation. Yes, we are that resilient. Offer support where you can. There are many who are less fortunate than we, having no “place” in which to shelter.
I’d love to hear your stories of resilience and creativity. And if you need support, I’m here. You’re not alone.
Please remember: It's important to contact a professional if things feel too big for you, whether it be a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or certified EFT practitioner. Never discontinue your current medications without first consulting your doctor.