REMEMBER THE GREATER GOOD– I hate to admit this, but my first thought when I started realizing this virus was a real concern was “OH NO!- the play I am directing at my son’s school will be canceled.” Then, I remembered that the greater good is more important than that.
Remember that we are looking out for cancer patients, older folks and others that have weakened immune systems. It is tempting to go into survival mode and protect only yourself (my friend who works at a therapeutic center for children said someone stole all of their Lysol spray), but please remember that what’s good for the greater good is actually good for you as well.
Let’s move from a place of love and not from a place of fear.
One practice that I like is to send love out to my community and all the people that have been or will be affected by this (imagine a little lightening bolt of love shooting from your heart to people that might be hurting)
UNDER STRESS, WE REGRESS (SO GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE) Perhaps you have been working on managing your anxiety and depression and have made some strides and all of the sudden, you now feel those old patterns emerging again. This is so normal.
When we are under stress, those old patterns start to come back. Recognize them and breathe into the physical sensations of what you are feeling.
Uncertainty sucks AND it is part of being human. All our fears, but also all of the things we are striving for happen in “uncertaintyland.”
We, as humans are not good with uncertainty. Try to breathe. Try to stay as present as you can. Notice your surroundings, notice your breath. Just take it one breath at a time. Ask yourself “what’s the next good thing I can do/tell myself/think/etc?”
HOW CAN YOU LOVE YOUR COMMUNITY UP? Maybe it’s sharing a roll of toilet paper, or feeding someone that needs it, helping to watch someone’s kids if they still need to work. Maybe it’s offering a college student a room if you have one or just validating that this time of human history is weird and crazy and a bit scary and sad. Maybe you play some music on your street corner (with an appropriate amount of social distancing:-)
STAY INFORMED (BUT DON’T RAVAGE NEWS CONSUMPTION). You can still send compassion to those affected by this; you can check the reliable, science-based news as often as you feel is needed to stay informed, but then put it away.
This will likely affect people in poverty more than anyone else. Wash your hands, sneeze in your sleeve, donate to foodbanks and then turn the news off. You do not need to know the exact status of cases every minute of everyday.
FRESH AIR– get outside. Open your windows. Take a walk. Let the sunshine in (even If it is through closed windows if you feel that’s necessary). I just took my dogs for a walk and I feel 1000 times better. Fresh air and exercise will boost your immune system and help you stay grounded.
TAKE A BOTH/AND APPROACH. This may be really scary for a lot of us. Perhaps some of you have compromised immune systems or your loved ones do. Perhaps the economic impacts of this are the most stressful part AND also remember impermanence. One of my favorite mantras is “I’ve made it this f-ing far.”
I strive to find a balance between validating and honoring that fear, pain and struggle are real and need support and space AND to be a source of positivity in the world.
FIND SMALL THINGS TO MOVE THE NEEDLE- Stretch, move, breathe, play games, splash cold water on your face, talk to your dog, talk to a stuffed animal, put on your favorite Prince song and dance in your kitchen by yourself or with your kids, tell someone you love them and appreciate them in your life, make some soup, make some tea, take a bath, have a factime dance party, check in on a friend, find ways to laugh and live still.
It is not my intention to minimize or gaslight the heaviness of this AND we must continue to find ways to create a life worth living. You are not alone. We want to support you however we can. If you need help, reach out. We have your back.