As the saga of Covid-19 continues and the outbreak is expected to peak in our area this coming week, now is the time to generate as much mental strength and fortitude as we can muster. It is not easy witnessing so much illness and death. Other parts of the country are trailing behind us, so these are going to be a couple of tough weeks. Turmoil and loss are not easy.
What’s really tough about all this is that we are experiencing so much loss in so many different ways. If you are not immediately impacted by the death of a loved one, it doesn’t mean that you are not also experiencing loss. Our very own way of life has been usurped. That in and of itself is a major loss…
We are all experiencing our own level and type of loss, some more than others, but we are all non-the-less experiencing some level of shock, numbness, sadness, denial, despair, anxiety, anger, guilt, loneliness, depression, helplessness. And, as this thing continues to ramp up, and the losses increase, the feelings are going to get more pronounced and prevalent.
We can be pro-active about how we manage ourselves to lessen the impact on our wellbeing and our lives.
What does this mean? This means a few things, that we:
Maintain control over the things we can control – Trying to control the circumstance that are happening around us is a futile effort. We can’t control what we can’t control and if that is your approach to your current experience you are having a more difficult time than is par for the course. Don’t try to control the circumstance, focus your control on your immediate environment and how you are choosing to look at what’s happening, let it impact you and what you do about it…
The more you are bogging out, the more you need to dial this in and focus on your most immediate physical environment. Tidy up the messes, clean up, organize, and create systems in your home and work. This will give your brain a focus and your body an outlet. Get to work!
Manage our lives in smaller bites – Because things feel so big, we are trying to solve all the problems of the world at once. Or, at least all the things in our lives that are not working or that are affected. Chill cookie. Pick one issue or concern at a time, focus on it to resolution or completion.
If you have to wait on others for responses and such, then you can move on to the next one while you wait. Don’t start or engage in too many of these at once. The juggling will only create more stress and anxiety. We have less bandwidth than usual, be kind to yourself. Don’t overdo it and crash yourself. We are not going anywhere, and this Pandemic is temporary. It’s OK, to move slower…
Are gentler, more compassionate and more forgiving – Seriously, watch the shaming, the criticizing, the judging, the blaming, the complaining, the controlling, the resenting, the demanding, arrogance, the perfectionism, and such. These are not nice to inflict on others or yourself, outspoken or in your head. Mind your expectations of yourself and others.
These are poison to your body, mind and spirit / energy. Nothing good comes of entertaining and partaking in these thoughts, feelings and actions. Monitor yourself closely and eradicate these as soon as they pop-up. This in and of itself will increase your mental, emotional and physical resilience… Clean up your act immediately!
Balance retreating and connecting – Create alone time to regroup, process, get grounded, and recharge. This is just as important as Connection time. Because we are in lockdown and deprived of our usual interactions, we are super focused on connecting. Nothing wrong per se with this. But, we have to make sure we have enough separateness and respite to Connect with ourselves also…
Step up our gratitude and mindfulness practice – Set some time aside every day, more than once a day if you can, to meditate, journal, listen to affirmations, be in gratitude, show appreciation, pray, engage with inspirational material, and the like.
For real, limit your social media and news consumption. I don’t care what your profession is, you need to remove the alarm and stimulation that’s coming at you. If for some reason this is not feasible, then counter the polluting and triggering material with enriching and recharging positive material… You just have to do this to neutralize the junk taken in…
Appropriate meditations for today:
Embrace activities with repetitive movements and exercise – These are ways to not only release pent up energy and circulate and change body, but they also engage the brain differently providing soothing benefits. There is plenty of exercise and working-out apps and advise online. If you are not working out yet – get moving, literally. LOL
Aside from exercise things like coloring, painting, knitting, vacuuming, brushing a pet, braiding hair, shooting hoops, swinging, bike riding, etc. provide a rhythmic hypnotic experience that soothes.
Also, try Havening… It’s a specific form of caressing oneself that sends calming signals to the brain… It’s doing a downward caressing motion form the top of your thighs to your knees, from the top of your arms to your elbows, form your elbows to your wrists, from the top of your forehead to your chin. Don’t rub back and forth. Use a downward motion. Great to teach children too who have difficulties falling asleep or who are very active…
Play in nature, with children and pets – Build into your routine outdoor and play time. The sun, fresh air and naivety of children and pets are blessings. Rejoice!
Engage in creative expression – Find a creative outlet… This gives the problem solver, analytical and data focused part of our brain a break. And, it activates more feel-good parts. Hey, maybe now is the time to learn a new instrument or pull out the brushes and canvases.
Help and contribute – Changing the focus to a more positive endeavor is mana for the brain and Spirit. Choose to contribute in ways that are inspiring and come natural to you. Share your gifts, passions and strengths. Don’t offer to help in ways you know will deplete you. What’s the point in that? You have special talents and specific resources that others can benefit from, put them to good use!
Where you are in your own personal development, in your Journey and pandemic timeline, will determine which of these resonate more for you and which make sense to integrate into your repertoire as you go along.
Everybody is impacted differently and to different degrees. What works for you, might not work for somebody else, possibly not even your partner… Stay open and flexible. We are all in this together, but we all have our own experiences…
Here are prior related Blog posts for your quick reference:
Here are some pointers I recently shared to my list on how to do your life to minimize the upheaval you might be experiencing. These are good practices for personal and relationship wellbeing… Some might sound basic, others not applicable, and yet others impossible for you to consider given where you are. Take what serves You…
- Create a daily structure that supports who you are, your family and current needs. Build-in Wellness, Connection and Success Habits into the routine… Include time for
- On Sundays, implement a more robust Self-Care practice and set up time to review the upcoming week with your partner to synchronize about anything that needs to be addressed.
- Every evening plan and get ready for the next day – what’s needed, activities, workflow, etc.
- Give yourself time to whine down before going to bed in the evenings. Create a soothing night-time routine for yourself… Eliminate electronics and other stimulants for at least one hour before bed.
- Every morning, start the day earlier than your usual and do your Self Care Practice… Start the day strong and grounded…
- Honor your Habits to keep taking care of yourself and your life… Include spiritual and religious practices. Connecting to your Higher Self and your Higher Power. Being in mediation and prayer.
- Be intentional about separating your work from your personal time – day into evening, weekday into weekend. They might be different because there is no work or school, but bring in different activities and energy into the flow…
- Be mindful that being in the same space with your partner does not necessarily mean you are Connecting… More on this below. Implement different ways of connecting with others, don’t just depend on your partner and immediate family for connection.
- Be super vigilant of your thoughts, don’t take yourself on rides no matter how juicy, dire, or triggering the situation. This only makes things worse. I promise. (I know, this is much easier said than done. If you are struggling, get support!).
- As things get more tough with loss and other trauma, be extremely mindful of being compassionate, soothing and loving to yourself and your loved ones… Build up as much reserve and resilience as possible now to minimize the impact you might experience. Prepare for what’s to come the best you can, trust that you will be OK in the end…
Take charge of your own wellbeing. Be prepared for the long-haul but take one day at a time. Keep everything simple. Focus on recharging and staying positive. Be witness to what is still beautiful in the world.
ASSIGNMENT: Take a few minutes to plan out your week to include more ease, intentionality, positive habits, and lots of self-care. Get rid of any excess that creates stress. Get rid of everything that depletes energy and creates unnecessary worry. Combat the fatigue with positive, recharging and inspirational content and activities. Keep the eye on the long-game, take a higher perspective. Don’t miss the forest for the tree. Remember, this too shall pass…
Focus on building resilience and stamina. And, hey, give yourself a little treat or kind words. Now, is the time to be super nice to yourself!
Complete the Assignment, and share your takeaway, insights, and results with a note in the Comments box at the end! I’d love to hear how you are using this content.
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Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT is the Founder and Director of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC, a private practice that specializes in working with couples, she is the creator of the MetroRelationship™ philosophy and a variety of Successful Couple™ content that assist couples succeed at their relationship and their life. Stay Connected™ with Emma and receive weekly Connection Notes in your inbox with Personal Growth and Relationship Enrichment insights and strategies, visit: www.metrorelationship.com.