Here we go.
Off we go into the wild blue yonder. Into the unknown.
Into the cocoon, as we shelter in place.
How do we cope while we cocoon?
Some people are cocooning and working from home. Many others have lost their jobs and cocooning for survival.
Still, we are all cocooning.
22 million people are now unemployed 1.5 months after the first COVID-19 death in the US. In comparison, during the Great Depression, there were 15 million unemployed after three years. We are truly living in dark, uncertain times. Experts warn, the worst is yet to come.
What then to make of this new cocoon lifestyle?
Being housebound leaves much time to contemplate dreams and goals.
It also produces anxiety and stress over the next phase of life yet to be experienced in the new world once we emerge.
What can we do to prepare for the unimaginable? What to do with all this time?
It goes without saying that we all must make our personal hygiene a top priority now and forever into the future. It means every day we must take extra care with health as it relates to our mental health, nutrition, hygiene, sleep, and exercise. Look for ways to develop your sense and knowledge of what works best for you and your family. Now is the time to learn, grow, and try out new ways of being healthy.
Now that you are not commuting to work, hassling with dueling personal and professional schedules, and life’s comfortable daily routine is only a faint memory, you need new goals and new aspirations. Perhaps you have always wanted to write a book or maybe learn a musical instrument or learn a foreign language. Before you set goals check in with who you are today in April 2020. Check in with the world that is the world of 2020. You are no longer a teenager. Your goals should not be from a world that has completely and totally changed because of the pandemic. Set goals based on heading into a very different post-COVID-19 world. Create 2 or 3 short and long term goals for 2 weeks out, 2 months out, 6 months out, and one year out. We will be in the cocoon for a while.
A cocoon is self-sufficient. The caterpillar does not peep its head out for even one second. The cocoon cannot work if it is interrupted because you run out of toilet paper, medicine, or supplies. Do you need to set up your home office? Do you need a new router? Do you need a clean wall behind your desk for online conference calls/interviews? Do you need a new can opener? Do you need to learn to cook? It is time to settle into your cocoon and become self-sufficient. We will be home for quite a while. Be prepared to settle into the process.
Self-care is tossed around a lot these days. It can be understood as the protection of one’s well-being and happiness. Often it is believed that self-care is the most important part of healthy living, but self-compassion is equally important in times of crises. Kristin Neff has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components – self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Giving self-compassion to yourself will help you to develop compassion for others, especially if you are responsible for providing care for those dealing with sickness. Build relationships with yourself and others to help you through these dark times.
Cocooning does not mean life comes to a standstill. On the contrary. We, all of us, are in the process of a complete metamorphosis. Self, society, and the world.
Our lives are changing and will continue to change as we work our way out of the pandemic.
But we can choose to prepare and participate in the transformation process from inside our own cocoon.
One day it will be time to leave the cocoon.
We will stretch out our wings.
And off we will soar into the wild blue yonder.
For more information about coping during COPID-19 and dealing with stress check out Deepak Chopra