Uncertain times may be the understatement of the year so far. When the news of COVID-19 (coronavirus) caught our attention, there were a lot of people frozen in disbelief and bewilderment. Anxiety is incredibly high to say the least. Many people responded with panic, frantically rushing to the store clearing the shelves of food and supplies, and not really knowing why they were even buying it (we all know how the toilet paper story goes). None of us really know how much food or supplies to get. We’ve never experienced anything like this.
Most of us are used to something catastrophic happening, on occasion, in just one place. Usually something like a weather event such as a hurricane, tornado, wildfires, etc. These tragedies also seem to happen “somewhere else.” Now we are faced with something that is happening in our own backyard and everywhere else in the entire world. It is hard to conceptualize. It is unprecedented in our lifetime.
There is a ton of worrying going on about a lot of things over which we have little to no control. Pretty much everyone is scared to some degree, but we have to live our lives. It may be a different life than we are used to for a little while, but we have to go on. Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.
None of us really know what to say or how to feel or what to do… and that’s okay! Let yourself know that it’s okay that you don’t have to understand your feelings right now. Just allow yourself to express whatever feelings come to surface. Do not resist them. This will block the healthy processing you need to go through. There is no doubt that this is a strange time, but from my perspective there is also a great deal of opportunity, and that is what I want to share with you to offer some new or different perspectives.
A friend said something the other day that I think encapsulates what everyone is going through. She said, “at the present I’m just lost about what to do.” I think this energy is what everyone is feeling so we need to do whatever we can to feel grounded and a sense of some sort of control.
Personally, I have been immersing myself much more into my work and hobbies to not get lost in a feeling of, blah, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to buy, I don’t know where to go, I don’t know what the world is really going through right now and when it will end, or how to handle it best.
Those of us who have chronic health conditions, such as me living with a movement disorder called dystonia, often already practice social distancing and limit activities by choice or necessity, but it doesn’t make this any easier. Now that many of us are under an order of “shelter in place,” we don’t get to choose what activity outside the home we get to do that day, which limits us even more and can lead to increased isolation.
If you are overwhelmed with all the information coming at you daily, limit your exposure to the barrage of news, which you are still going to get even if you never pay attention to the news. Someone will undoubtedly tell you, but we can minimize it by turning off the phone, TV, and radio… basically, turn off all the noise in the world. Give yourself a break from your personal modern technological devices and let our modern scientific minds find a solution for this virus. They will.
Don’t just pass the time… ENJOY the gift of time! Be present with yourself, be present with your family, be present with your children, be with nature, write letters to friends and family, do the home project you haven’t had the time for, read that book you never have time to open, get some Spring cleaning done, watch your favorite movies and television shows, immerse yourself in your hobbies, take time to pray, meditate, and breathe. Embrace time and space.
So many of us rush around all day long wishing we had more time. Now we have it! Our wish has been granted. It is not the way we thought it would be, but it is the way it is, and we must do the best we can to make the most of it. Now is the time to do what you never have the time to do when we are caught up in the rat race.
Like every other challenge throughout history, we will find a way through this and it will make us stronger and wiser. Keep that in mind. Be strong, be weak, be sad, be happy, be grateful– be whatever you feel you need to be in this moment, without judgment or regret, and don’t fight it. Allow yourself to grieve the suffering. Also allow yourself to appreciate everything you have in your life and spend the time that we have been granted to really truly enjoy it to the best of your ability.
There is no better time for us to take life one moment at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time. If we ever wanted to become a mindful person and learn to just be, right now is a great time for that. On the other end of this, our perspective and appreciation for life might be very different in a positive way, which I believe will happen. Embrace this the best you can and let peace and calmness be the collective energy of the world instead of fear, worry, and panic.
Everyone please be safe and know that we are in this together and we will get through this together. We are all doing the best we can and that is enough.