Ever since all this COVID-19 stuff started up, things have felt just a little…weird. Some folk are out of work, others are working from home, while yet others are on the front lines. Kiddos are doing school at home and even homeschooled kids feel out of sorts with their regular activities cancelled. The news is bombarding us with stats, recommendations, economic conditions and more. Our old routines are almost nonexistent and most folk are trying to figure out how to make it through the day with less stress and more feelings of normalcy.
Many folk are experiencing an uptick in anxious feelings during this time and if you’re a trauma survivor, that’s even more likely. Feelings of being trapped inside the house might feel a bit like being trapped in impossible situations. Feelings of uncertainty about what’s coming next aren’t unlike the feelings of uncertainty felt during times of trauma. Emotions associated with grief and loss might cause you to revisit other losses you have endured. Indeed, this whole coronavirus situation is a bit of a global trauma in and of itself.
So, how might you make it through your days with just a bit more peace, joy or hope? Here are some thoughts that might help you when you’re not sure what to do next. Take what you like and leave the rest. You are the expert on what you need:
- Turn off the news. Really. If you check every few days instead of a few times each day, it’s easier to focus on the present moment because you’re not constantly flooded by triggers.
- Find something pleasurable in the here and now. This could be enjoying an open window, the sound of birds chirping, the first sip of a hot cup of tea, or the soft feeling of your dog’s fur. You get the idea– teeny tiny pleasurable experiences in the here and now stack on top of each other over time to create positive momentum.
- Stay socially connected, even as you practice physical distancing. Try a regular video call with safe and supportive others, watch a live concert on social media or do something fun with your kids. Aren’t sure where or how to connect? Contact me to ask about the virtual support group that meets on Fridays at 10am Eastern.
- Get outside, if you can. Most places with stay-at-home orders still encourage people to get outside and exercise with appropriate physical distancing. Enjoying some exercise and a bit of sunshine can be good for the soul.
- Get creative. Paint a picture, repaint your walls, take up knitting, sing a song, join a virtual choir, play an instrument, draw, write, make silly videos or get creative in any other way that works for you.
- Put your hands in the soil. Whether you’re limited to window gardening or have a few acres to play with, putting your hands in the soil and watching new life grow can feel uplifting.
- Find ways to laugh. Whether you have a favorite silly movie or a friend who always gets you to laugh until you cry, laughter makes a big difference.
- Make use of neurobiological tools and hacks. Everything from HeartMath, to MIGHTIER, Happify, Headspace and Versus can help your body reset, lessen your trauma responses and help with your ability to think clearly and see possibilities.
- Address one emotion at a time rather than trying to figure out all of them at once. If you are experiencing difficult emotions, try identifying and practicing self-compassion toward the most intense emotion first and then go from there. Even tiny incremental relief can make a huge difference in how you feel. Remember to reach out for support if it’s too much to sort through emotions on your own.
- Take a break. Sometimes the answer is to take a step back rather than pushing through. You get to press pause anytime you need to.
Also, remember that it’s okay if this time of global crisis does not feel like the right time to finally tackle a big project, write a book, do a glow-up, or catch up on XYZ. It’s important to be gentle with yourself, have a bit of self-compassion and remember that it’s perfectly normal to feel extra tired right now or to struggle with concentration.
On the other hand, if getting things done is part of how you make it through tough times, you might find great comfort in getting things checked off your list. If that’s the case, go for it! Remember to take breaks, check in with your feelings and get plenty of rest.
No matter what, know that you do not have to go through this time alone. Even if you are by yourself, you are not alone in these circumstances. Please reach out and we can even jump on the phone for a free 10 minute consult and get some additional support going for you. Together we go far!