Of course it makes perfect sense. We love to connect with other people and that connection will either activate our nervous system to feel calm and regulated, or to become anxious and fearful.
With a constant stream of scary news to digest, it’s little wonder that social media posts are thinly veiled expressions of fear and anxiety.
There’s a mountain of value in finding your happy place and maintaining a down-regulated nervous system as we navigate these uncertain times.
As a therapist I understand this mechanism. It’s a practice for therapists to be aware and self-regulated in order for their clients to work towards achieving the same.
When we engage in conversations and news items that feed our frenzy they are going to impact us negatively. That means we have to make an extra effort to find our happy place again, and again, and again. It’s difficult to stay there.
My “go-to” remedies to self-regulate during this time of uncertainty include:
# 1: Plan to catch up on CV-19 news at the end of each day so that I’m up to date with the current status, and that means socially distancing myself from social media drama as well.
# 2: Do an inventory of my internal and external resources in preparation.
Then I made a list of awesome activities that I love to do at home.
- Craft and creative: I’m currently experimenting with altered books and junk journals and having fun with old photos and creating themed memory albums.
- Gardening: I’ve loving my garden and am enjoying the buckets loads of feijoas, avocados, limes, turmeric, ginger, and greens. Pretty darn good from a relatively new garden. It’s time to prepare for winter here in the southern hemisphere.
- Netflix is a great source of romance comedies, catching one each day has been fun.
- Healthy food always feels good for my mind, body and soul. I’m making a special effort to connect with, and be really present as I prepare my meals, as this time is giving me the gift of slow.
- Connecting with friends is special, especially if we keep the conversation on areas of interest, and not so much CV. Long conversations as I lounge on the sofa is a luxury I’m becoming very comfortable with.
- Giving my kitty extra special attention. She’s loving it and no doubt will demand to be spoiled post CV!
- And of course I’ve stocked up on extra chocolate!
Is that enough though? I’ve done my prep, I’m feeling good, and I’m settling in for the long haul of self-isolation. All very self-supportive, but I still have family, friends and community to think about.
How do I stay in my happy place?
Am I going to go into another frenzy of fear when someone else needs support?
On deeper exploration I discovered that the source of my fear was not about the scary, rampant virus after all. Fear has a story in each of us, and let’s face it, that fear is very likely to be something about our anxiety around dying right now.
Finding that story was key to building my resilience to continue functioning outside of the cocoon of my own insular world.
Here’s how you lean into your resilience for this and future times of uncertainty
Whilst feeling good definitely is an awesome way to sooth your nervous system and give your immune system a fighting chance, it’s also an ideal place to begin to think about building in more resilience.
Once my initial emotions settled I’ve checked in to see what else was left there. For me it was low motivation, procrastination and an overwhelming sense of vulnerability. My old friend asthma means that I am respiratory compromised, and yeah, you know what they are saying about that right?
…it’s also an ideal place to begin to think about building in more resilience
You might experience something like mood changes, irritability, confusion, be short-tempered, accusing and blaming behaviours, anger, criticisms, overwhelm, fatigue, lethargy, demotivation, procrastination, lack of clarity, unable to make decisions, and more. This is all useful data.
An exploration of my own feelings helped me to understand the stories beneath my fears and anxieties, and was key to building my resilience. Since making sense of them I’m free from unfounded worry and able to naturally keep my spirits high.
Does that mean I am absolutely fearless? Hell no!
What it means is that I am not immobilised by fear. I am able to make considered decisions, and support others in my community within the directed guidelines without breaking out in a nervous rash or an asthma episode.
Stay well. Find your happy place, then lean into building resilience.