How to Cope With Isolation In Turbulent Times

Tips on coping with social distancing, unemployment, and heightened uncertainty

Luca Lorenzelli / Shutterstock
Luca Lorenzelli / Shutterstock

May is Mental Health Awareness month. How is your mental health these days? It seems every day there are new developments in our world as it relates to Covid-19. Schools are closed. Public places restricted. Businesses are shut down. Unemployment has skyrocketed. Most of the world has been told to stay home, stay inside and to only go out for essentials. What impact is this having on YOU?

Recent publications suggest that the impact of the Coronavirus extends far beyond the physical effects of the disease and into the area of mental health. When people lose their jobs, lose their income, and are then told to stay home and self-isolate, cases of depression and even suicides could begin to increase. 

Having been suicidal in the past, I know how overwhelming life can be even when things are status quo. I know what it is like to wake up every day and wish to die so all the stress and unhappiness would go away. I had even set the day. That was 18 years ago. Today, even with all that is occurring in the world, I have a new life. One I like being in. And you can too. Yes, even now. Especially now. 

If you are struggling with overwhelm, depression and perhaps even thoughts of taking your life, there is another way. No matter how dark things look for you, there are always other possibilities and here are tools you can use to help you see them. 

1.    Start every day with asking questions

When you wake up in the morning and immediately start to spiral down into worrying about money or about getting sick or you have feelings of uncertainty of how you are going to take care of your kids, rather than running those thoughts over and over in your head, disrupt that negative thinking by asking questions. Questions are the key to silencing mind chatter. 

Here are some questions you can ask: 

·      What can I be or do different today to move beyond this depression?

·      How does it get any better than this?

·      Universe, will you please show me something beautiful today?

·      What else is possible here that I’ve never considered?

One of the problems with worry and stress is that we don’t see any other options. When you ask a question, even a simple one such as, “What else is possible here that I’ve never considered?” you open the door to new possibilities opening up that you couldn’t see before.

2. What are you aware of?

Have you ever acknowledged how aware you are? Has anyone ever told you that you are like a radio tower on the top of a skyscraper picking up on everything that is going on around you? No? Someone should have! Ninety-eight percent of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that you have, that you think are yours, are not yours. 

Consider for a moment, the state of the world. How many people are stressed and worried about money? How many people are bored out of their minds because they can’t go and do the things they love to do? How many are missing loved ones who are in a different place and traveling to them is not possible right now? There are a lot of unhappy things up for a lot of people and just because you pick up on all those thoughts and feelings does not mean that is how you feel. 

A great question to ask for every thought, feeling and emotion you have is, “Who does this belong to?” When you ask this question, if you feel lighter, none of it is yours. You are just aware. This question literally saved my life. If you use it, you may find you are much happier and positive then you have been believing. 

3.    Peace is possible

When the world is tumultuous, when your personal world is being turned upside down, peace may seem like an impossibility, but it is not. There is a simple phrase I like to use, especially when things seem out of control. “All of life comes to me with ease and joy and glory.” I say this 10 times in the morning and 10 times and night, and often throughout the day. 

What you put your attention on gets bigger. When you focus on the things that you are worried about, those things grow as does the anxiety. When you say, “All of life comes to me with ease and joy and glory” you disrupt your focus on the negative and you invite peace and contentment into your world.

All of life includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Yes, it even includes Coronavirus. Peace is possible. Invite it. Receive it. 

I don’t know your story; at least not the details of it. I don’t know what direct impact Covid-19 is having on you. I do know that sadness, depression and hopeless are loud in the world right now and while it may be hard to see, nothing in the world, no matter how big and dark it may seem, is greater than you. NOTHING. Regardless of what is occurring, you still have choice. Make the choice to wake up in the morning and ask questions. Make the choice to stop believing that every thought and feeling you have belongs to you. Make the choice to invite ease and joy into your life. Make the choice to never give up, to never give in and to never quit. 

Dr Heer has created this page with free tools for those who are feeling stuck, lonely, isolated or who are experiencing feelings of panic: www.drdainheer.com/whatnow

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