It’s a scary time.
We are afraid for ourselves, our children, our aging parents, our loved ones.
We don’t know what is going to happen next and the uncertainty feels like it’s going to drive us mad.
Our lives have been completely disrupted.
We may have lost our jobs or know have family members who have.
If we are lucky enough to still have a job, we now have to learn to adjust to a new way of being in this chaos.
It feels like you don’t know what is up or what is down anymore because the world feels like it’s completely upside down.
You feel like you are being stretched in all directions.
If you have children, you are now supposed to be a homeschooling expert. As much as you love your children you can’t get any time for yourself.
You can’t sleep at night and if you do finally fall asleep, you wake up several times in the night with panic in your gut.
The ‘not knowing’ of when things are going to get back to where they were feels crushing.
You just can’t stop worrying.
Even though I am a coach with all the tools, I have been having some very intense emotional days where it feels like I just can’t function. But most days, I have an incredible sense of peace and calm and I’d like to share with you some practices that help me and my clients accomplish that.
Practice Being Present:
We are either living in our past or our future, but the truth is, life is lived in the present. That is where we will find peace. The next time that you are with a loved one, be fully present with them. Your presence is the greatest gift you can give them.
You can also focus on your breath. You cannot have a thought and focus on your breath at the same time. It’s the best practice for being present.
Accept The Things You Have NO Control Over:
It’s important to really have clarity and distinguish what you have control over and what you do not. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
– Viktor E. Frankl
You have the CHOICE to choose how you respond to any situation.
When you are reacting constantly, you end up in a hamster wheel and it causes continued stress which suppresses your immune system.
Limit Your Exposure To The News:
While it’s important to be educated and aware of all the rapid updates of this virus, consuming it nonstop will keep you in a constant state of fear and worry. Your immune system will become severely compromised as a consequence.
The media has airtime to fill. They need to cover the same story over and over and over from various angles. Some ways in which you can limit your exposure is by getting email alerts from your favorite publications. You could check the news at a certain time(s) of the day online.
I would recommend that you sign up for your governor’s newsletter. My governor has daily press conferences updating us (I’m in New York City), but instead of interrupting my day and focusing on his press conferences, I get his newsletter that he sends out at dinner time with all the highlights.
What are some ways you can limit your media consumption?
No one has a handbook on how to live through this time.
Know that at any given moment you are doing the very best that you can. No matter what. When I suffered from severe depression and anxiety to the point I couldn’t get out of bed, that was the best that I could do. It was only when I practiced self-compassion for those moments when I felt like I just couldn’t function that allowed me to love myself even more. It’s a practice of self-love when you practice self-love, you open your heart and deepen the relationship that you have with yourself. It’s so beautiful and powerful when that happens and the best thing is that you model that for other people.
When you practice these on a daily basis, you will begin to have a consistent sense of peace and calm no matter what is happening in your external environment. From a scientific perspective, this is because the repetition of these practices helps create new neural pathways in your brain as cited by psychologist Dr. Dean Ware Ph.D
We are all in this together.
We are all going to get through this. Stronger. Wiser.