These are scary times. The Covid-19 pandemic is more than just a physical and economic threat. It’s a mental health threat. It’s creating panic, uncertainty, isolation.
What if someone gets sick?
Am I out of a job?
What’s going to happen to my kids?
What if really bad things happen?
In times like these, we have to work even harder to be the steward of what comes into our minds.
There are things that you can do that will help. Try these 3 steps for extra mental and emotional protection.
STEP ONE: Create a Safe Harbor
Your mind is casting about for a safe port in this storm. Give it one. Create a safe harbor.
A safe harbor is a thing you do at least once a day, even just for a few minutes, where you allow yourself to immerse in something other than the fear. Here are some examples:
- Mediate. The calm groundedness of just a few minutes of meditation can ease anxiety. It doesn’t change the situation, but it will change your perspective. And that might be enough to shift you out of fight or flight mode. Try Insight Timer which is free and has thousands to choose from (find me on there and we’ll meditate together!). Give yourself permission to break from the fear.
- Laugh. Nothing snaps you out of fearful thoughts like a good belly laugh. My sister swears by British panel shows. I love a good meme. You don’t have to honor your fear every minute of the day. The laughter is real, too.
- Dance. Get some endorphins flowing with awesome dancey beats. The kids are insisting on Christmas music right now (probably because the last time we were all home so much was over the holidays??) but it’s doing the trick. Even just a few songs are enough to boost your mental state.
- Hug. A 20-second hug releases oxytocin, a hormone that combats stress and makes us feel more bonded to each other. Now you have another reason to squeeze the family member that gives the best hugs a little longer. That softness, that sweetness, that smell, those are real, too.
STEP TWO: Limit Media Coverage
It’s important to stay informed. Now is definitely not a time to stick your head in the sand.
But staying informed can quickly morph into compulsively checking all your feeds for an update and not allowing your body and mind a moment to recover.
Set an intention for the day for when you’ll check for updates. Sure, you’ll mess it up and check 36 times in one hour. Forgive yourself for that and get back on track.
Stay informed, not consumed.
STEP THREE: Connect
We are social beings and we are required to distance ourselves. We need a way to stay connected.
Even on lockdown, there are ways to keep in touch. Video calling is supremely awesome in place of face-to-face. Don’t like Facetime or Skype? Try Zoom for free video calling and see those lovely faces you miss.
If you’re feeling isolated while working from home, try a virtual co-working space. I’m loving Tara Mohr’s co-working circles. And Seth Godin has also opened up his Akimbo co-working platform for free.
What about you? What will you do for a safe harbor? Or to connect? Let’s share ideas with each other and support each other through this. Post your tips in the comments.
Sending you so much peace and strength during these times.