During our CV-19 crisis, we are having to shift our way of being in this world to a whole new level of “normal.” And for all of us, there is so much unknown; that very word causes a spike in anxiety and fear in many. If there is to be a silver lining in all of this, it would be learning to adjust to slowing down, spending more time with family and not having to be somewhere. This forced slow down does have mental benefits:
I invite you to notice that when the pressure of “having to do something” or “be somewhere” is lifted, you may feel more calm and less stressed. You may find this is the time you allow yourself “permission” to just BE, and lose the self-judgment. We criticize ourselves multiple times a day for not accomplishing This or That, going to bed angry at ourselves for not finishing your errands, or feeling guilty for turning down an invitation to a party. Now, we have the opportunity to experience the ironic freedom that comes with having to stay at home and say NO to going out when we don’t feel comfortable. In short, this is a chance to experience what it is like to do less. There is a gift here to judge yourself and others less. In community crises, our compassion tends to come to the forefront. Resiliency can stretch throughout the community if we help each other.
For those that live with family members, being together may at first be challenging but the science of attachment tells us that human connection is what slows down our heart rate and calms our nervous system. In stressful times, we may feel moments of panic (real or perceived), and being with family may provide more opportunity for healing and support with physical touch such as holding hands or hugging.
Playing more games or doing art projects is shown to help express difficult feelings. These are great options to helps kids and teenagers who may not want to talk about anything. Creativity usually creates a shift in our nervous system with new sensations, using different parts of our brain (or body, if using sensory items). Crafts, projects and cooking also shift our focus to something else — usually more positive, but at least a shift is generated which helps us stay more present and less thinking about the future, wondering “how long can I do this?” Grounding yourself (i.e. being present) will help the overwhelming anxiety from taking over. Use your time with family to be open and ask for what you need and see if you get surprised with how our humanity shows up.
My favorite message to myself and others which comes from my resiliency training is this: “What else is true?” Can I hold that this very scary, awful thing is happening and also make space for noticing what is not awful at the moment, what else is there…my family, my friends, beautiful nature that surrounds me or my ability to be here in this moment..