I guess now is as good a time as any to relaunch a blog, ya know, amidst a global pandemic. I had a blog in 2015, but I burnt myself out with my own unrealistic expectations about creating content for it. This time, the posts will happen when inspiration strikes, no silly self-pressures. Besides, we got bigger stuff happening right now, don't we.
When the big stuff in life happens, it sure puts things in perspective. It brings us back to just trying to maintain our most basic needs, like our physiological well-being, safety, and a sense of connectedness. This pandemic has us feeling much less in control and we don't like that.
Amidst unknowns, fear sets in, and we find our minds fixating on worries, regrets, self-criticism, incessant analysis, or frustration with others or life overall. Progressively, this mind poison makes us feel worse and worse. All in all, our own minds can be just as much an enemy as the things happening externally.
Here's the deal, there's things happening right now that we don't control and those things suck. Some people are sick, some have lost loved ones, some have lost jobs/income/resources. For others, this situation exacerbates underlying anxiety or depression, or pre-existing life challenges. And for all of us, this pandemic has totally disrupted our sense of normalcy and safety. These are the things we don't control. And we must give ourselves time to process and mourn these losses.
Even in the toughest situations though, there are some things we do control. As we face this pandemic, we gotta work harder than ever to focus our energy on what can do versus what we can't. Here's some things we can do to manage our own well-being and that of others:
1. Share & Feel Your Feelings: We are gonna not be okay at times during this difficult situation. We will feel sad, angry, and anxious sometimes. Let yourself feel. Talk with people you love and trust about it. But, decide to not stay in the painful emotions for longer than what offers you release.
2. Stay Connected: We may not be able to physically be with many of the people we love right now, but we must stay connected to people online and by phone. Connection is key to well-being. Call, text, email, video chat, and social media chat with people regularly. And if you live with others, be with them, really be with them. Talk, laugh, engage, and be present.
3. Intentionally Look for the Good: It's easy to get emotionally sucked into all the scary news stories. We need to pay at least equal attention to the good ones, the stories about people who are helping. Seek those stories out. Focus your thoughts on them. It's truly beautiful the ways people are nurturing one another right now. Also, contemplate the good people, experiences, and resources you have in your life, as well as personal accomplishments (small ones included, like finally folding your laundry!). Focus on feeling grateful for what you have, as its easy to allow ourselves to look more heavily on what we don’t have right now.
4. Use Your Unique Gifts to Do Good: We all have strengths and skills to offer others right now. What are yours? How do you want to support others through this time of challenge? Offer your gifts to help any way you can. There are people who need the things that you can offer.
5. Demonstrate Compassion & Forgiveness: Yes, some folks bought out the toilet paper. I can't get my hands on any new rolls of toilet paper either. But ya know what, we all react differently to fear and fear sure doesn't make us our best selves. None of us are without flaws or imperfect choices. We gotta try to understand that fear can make us do less rational things. Most importantly, we really gotta just love each other and come together the best we can right now.
6. Be Self-Compassionate: Maybe you can't figure out how the heck to submit your kids' schoolwork online, or you just yelled at them about how they don't know how to submit their schoolwork, or maybe you just feel overwhelmed and under-prepared to be managing all the changes you are facing right now. It's okay. None of us know how to do this. We are flying by the seat of our pants every minute. Be kind to yourself. You're trying, that's what matters.
7. Ask for Help: If you need something, information you don't have, if you are in an unsafe situation, if you are without resources you need to get by, ask for support. Sometimes asking for help is tough. We can be proud, uncomfortable, or afraid of rejection. Do it anyway. Even if you don't find what you need on the first try. There's lots of good humans and other resources out there to help us get through this. We need social solidarity right now.
8. Redefine Productivity: There's still plenty of things we have to do--work projects, school projects, applying for jobs, making phone calls, cleaning, etc. Create time in your day to address these tasks. But, make time for relaxing and fun activities. They are productive too because they recharge us. And, make time for planning, creating, and passion projects you can do from home that maybe you didn't have time for before. We need positive things to look forward to and concentrate our energy on.
9. Laugh, Sing, Dance, Be Silly, & Be in Nature: Laughter lets us lighten up the tension of a serious situation and let off some stress. Singing, dancing, and silliness lets us have joy amidst struggle. We need it right now. We deserve it. And, we are allowed to go outside, thank God. So, enjoy the breeze, sunshine, birds, and other animals. They heal. Savor them.
10. Affirm Your Ability to Handle the Unknown: When we don't know the outcome, we often conjure an awful outcome. Choose instead to embrace that unknown doesn't equal awful. And you're way more capable than you may sometimes give yourself credit for to handle a challenging situation. You've likely come through difficult situations before. You'll do it again. Tell yourself why you rock, are gonna make the best of this crazy situation, and how you so got this! We just gotta roll with the changes and challenges and not attempt to control that which we do not.
And, of course, wash your hands and stay home ;-)
Sending you love. We’re in this together <3
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