The COVID-19 Crisis poses a massive disruption, unsettling and frightening. It is both an economic and public health crisis, two critical situations, intertwined.
The necessity to stay in creates both an opportunity—to rediscover home and groundedness—as well as a danger—of withdrawing into unhealthy, disorganized states. Finding our capacity to show up, for others and ourselves can boost our sense of personal and social agency in the midst of the crisis.
The following strategies are intended to 1) help one stay strong and safe, and 2) prevent negative impact to our ability to contribute to communal thriving.
1. Recognize: We are in this together. Let it sink in.
We can consider our agency as a people for altruism. Physical distance precautions are, in a sense, a recognition of our common humanity—our unified need to slow the virus’ tracks. This aspect of the situation is time-limited, although the uncertainty of the timeline can add frustration and feel disorganizing. Consider physical distance precautions not solely as measures taken to protect ourselves and our loved ones, but also altruistically, recognizing our common humanity and social unity.
2. Stay connected.
Embrace the challenge to connect with others anew. Send a text, email, or even just give someone a call. Take the opportunity to tune in with someone face to face over a meal or in a moment of lightness. Find the comfort, entertainment, and normality in all of your connections.
3. Honor and share your feelings.
Honor your emotions and feelings with compassion, as would a shepherd caring for a flock. Share and be non-judgmental. Consider that different people experience crises differently. Try not to discount feelings, as they are real to the one experiencing them. Without our feelings, we will be lost—lost in our relationships and out of touch with our common humanity. Be aware of toxic feelings like shame, blame and guilt. Consider practicing letting these unhelpful feelings go.
4. Respect uncertainty.
Avoid polarization of fixed viewpoints. There’s a profound limit to what’s known and unknown about all that’s going on in the political shock wave of the crisis. Consider that the outcome of the crisis is beyond any one group’s control. Adopt a practice of checking in with your own heart and conscience. Reflective journaling or blogging might work well for this.
5. Recognize bravery and healing.
Listen with intention to the voices of strong survivors and brave healers. Being impacted by the illness does not make one weak or inferior, invisible or a burden. Ask for permission to call others, “Brave,” and to share or amplify their story.
6. Create rituals of relaxation.
Light some candles. Turn on emotionally neutral to positive music. Limit your exposure to the news. Allow silence for reflection. Slowly unwrap time for silence as a gift, allowing reflection on how to proceed in one’s day or week.
7. Embrace healthy sources of humor.
Fit time in for humor and lightness. Search it out. The best humor can be timeless yet fresh. Get in touch with your inner clown and try a bit of absurdity yourself. Share the laughter.
8. Transform Social Distance into a thirst for Social Justice and Equity.
Consider, what if every time we heard the phrase Social Distance, we thought Social Justice and Equity? It is possible to ‘zip’ these two ideas together—to keep connecting positively and desiring positive outcome. Let the current need for social distance stoke the thirst for social justice and equity.
As individuals active in families and businesses, we can adapt our everyday thinking, develop new strategies to cope and stay grounded, and integrate the unfolding event into our lives with hope, meaning and healing. The crisis will end when equilibrium returns, whether that is psychological, emotional, physical, or all three.
WE HAVE THIS MOMENT TO UNITE AGAINST A LIFE-THREATENING VIRUS THAT AFFECTS US ALL.
WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER.