Coping with COVID-19
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
You Are Doing the Best You Can
We are all dealing with the emotional impact of change and uncertainty right now. It’s hard enough navigating your way through fear of the unknown and a new work/life balance during the shutdown, let alone the additional pressures we are all facing based on the different roles we have.
You are doing the best you can, and that is enough.
Let's talk about the “do” more messages. Be productive, knock out that to-do list you’ve been putting off… DO more, do more, do more. Anyone else feeling exhausted? Feeling like no matter what you are coming up short on the expectations you have for yourself? What a recipe for burnout. What would happen if we tried to let it be and turn our thoughts towards being. Give yourself permission to “DO” less and “BE” more.
How might this shift our attitude towards our everyday?
Two-words: self-compassion. Another two, self-love.
This isn’t necessarily the best time to complete every undone project on your list. But this is a great opportunity to be kind to yourself. Find a way to do the things that bring you joy.
Take the Pressure Off
Let’s allow ourselves to take the pressure off and focus on awareness of the present moment. Try to be with yourself and your loved ones more, bringing a mindful attitude to the moments you are in right now (versus the ones that live in the future).
We are all connected by our suffering and our “common humanity” in this situation. You are doing enough, even if it doesn't feel that way. Always remember that as humans, we need oxygen. We cannot be of any help to those around us in our personal or professional lives if we don't have enough oxygen. Taking the time to fill our oxygen tank (i.e. self-care through getting enough rest, nourishment, movement, & engaging in the activities that bring us joy), is critical. When you sacrifice your needs to fulfill everyone else's, you are depleting your oxygen tank, and what good are you really to anyone if you are passed out on the floor due to lack of oxygen? None.
This is a time to take care of ourselves, reconnect with our mind, body, spirit and our loved ones.
Try bringing the principles of mindfulness into your day:
1: Moment-to-moment non-judgmental awareness
3. Kindness and curiosity (beginner’s mind)
You can do this through formal or informal practice. Formal practice includes listening to a guided meditation or doing a breathing exercise, while informal practice can be bringing this mindful attention to your every day life and the things that you are already doing, such as a mindful walk, mindful eating, or mindful conversation. This can look as simple as setting an intention on your next walk to pay attention to the different colors or smells around you, this is practicing mindfulness by bringing your attention to the here & now.
Validation & Hope Over Toxic Positivity
There are two opposing forces while working from home during the shutdown. Lack of structure and too much self-pressure. You are not supposed to be able to do it all: parent, spouse, teacher, co-worker, employee, leader. YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN. Give yourself permission to slow down and simply breathe. Here is a quick affirmation to try:
Take a deep breath in, and say to yourself “I am resilient, I am beautiful, I will get through this” and on the exhale, let go of what no longer serves you, “I breathe out fear and stress.”
Always remember: Validation & Hope over Toxic Positivity.
ALL VIBES WELCOME. Toxic Positivity is often coming from a good place and is well-intended, but it often leaves us feeling missed or invalidated. It can send the message that if we can't engage in something like an affirmation, or we feel challenged to "think positive" something is "wrong" with us. This is not so. Your experience is valid.
Affirmations of positivity can be a source of strength & guidance at times, but they also neglect to consider sociocultural context and systemic oppression - which cannot just be changed with "positive thinking." When we tell folks in oppressed communities to just perk up and "be happy," we reinforce the system of oppression and actually minimize their very real experience of pain and suffering.
Sometimes you will not be in the mood to do ANY of this, because you don't feel strong, or beautiful, and it feels like life sucks right now. This is more than okay. It is reality. This is a beautiful opportunity to validate yourself for how hard this is, and sit with it. Tell yourself, "this is hard, you have done hard things before & I believe in you," versus "You'll get over it," or "just be positive."
Balancing Work & Personal Life: try pre and post-work rituals.
It is important to separate work from your personal life and "me time," but how do you do that when they are all blending together in the same space? Not to mention the extra parenting you might have to juggle.
Having some rituals can be helpful. For example:
Pre-work: Shower. Get dressed or do your hair as if you’re going in to work, avoid staying in PJs all day. Do 5-10 minutes of stretching, yoga, gratitude journal, some breathing, or a walk.
Post-work: Transition marker. Take a brief walk, stretch, and acknowledge that “I’ve done all that I can today and the rest is out of my hands."
Remember, try not to judge yourself for what's coming up in your heart and mind, our feelings are valid. Showing up for yourself doesn't always mean "do" something, show up for "being," and you can feel satisfied with yourself and how you feel. As with everything, it definitely takes practice, and that is okay.
I am offering counseling sessions via telehealth, using a confidential and secure HIPAA compliant platform. You can join through any device. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 619-900-4991.
I’m looking forward to helping you achieve contentment and self-compassion during these difficult times.