There is no right answer. But for me processing includes writing and although there is no right or wrong way to feel, act or process I thought I would compile this resource for those people like me who absolutely require looking on the bright side.
This is not a medical blog. I’m not going to tell you to wash your hands. (ok, maybe I’ll sneak it in there) but seriously, as a 29 year old woman- I’m a bit concerned that washing your hands seems like a new concept. I’m not here to make light of the situation and act like it’s all butterflies and rainbows.
I am sharing my truth, my personal experience because let’s face it I have a lot of experience with unexpected life changes.
I have said to several clients, friends, and family members that I think this type of upheaval feels quite familiar to me. If you’re new here, I’ll give you some quick bullet points, my best friend died by suicide when I was 16 and my mom attempted a year later. I spent my teenage years in a mixture of grief, house parties and finding my love for writing. I went to university eight hours away from my hometown in Upstate New York and moved abroad to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and currently live abroad in England with my fiancé.
In my first stint living abroad I had to deal with dramatic heartbreak and the unraveling of a five year relationship due to infidelity. But I healed, deepened my love for travel and myself and my adventures brought me to Australia where I met the love of my life. We had to abruptly leave the life we were building in Australia in 28 days which you can read about here. Then we had to deal with the visa process and the endless struggle of being in an international relationship. Most recently, we went through the process of my partner donating his kidney to his younger brother in August 2019 and that’s the first time I wrote about this concept of Hurry up and Wait. How to Deal with the Unknown.
Ok, now you’re caught up. This isn’t a pity party or a sob story. Those are all facts and events in my life. There are so many beautiful bits woven between those years but there has been A LOT of unknown and upheaval.
The truth is we never know how we are going to react to something, until it happens.
For some of you reading this, this global pandemic may be your worst case scenario. Maybe it’s your first upheaval or maybe you feel like you just can’t catch a break. Maybe you lost your job, your children are out of school and now you have to scramble to come up with a plan, maybe your business or livelihood is insecure or your wedding or a big trip got cancelled. (My parents had to cancel their first visit to England since I’ve lived here, wedding dress shopping, Harry’s 30th. Disappointed is a understatement) You could even be diagnosed with Corona Virus, in self isolation or have a loved one in that situation. You are allowed to feel angry, sad, confused, scared, disappointed or whatever emotion comes up.
But guess what, you are also in control of how you respond to the unknown when it comes to managing your mind and how you move forward. If you are not ready to control YOUR personal controllables, if you want to stay stuck in obsessing over the news, the statistics, the supplies, the future, then you probably should stop reading this. Seriously…
For the general population and most people reading this: your life will look completely different than you thought it would when the year ticked over to 2020.
But, as always, what we do with the cards we are dealt is much more important than the cards we are dealt.
This is my approach. If it helps one person it is worth writing.
Conscious Consumption– No matter what, we are in control of how much news we are reading and watching. It is important to stay up to date as things change so fast, but limiting your consumption will keep you in a much better frame of mind. Credible sources & accurate info. The advice I gleaned from the Life Coach School podcast and her series called “Handling Chaos” was to match your news consumption with your time spent on positive activities like reading, listening to podcasts, or booking in an online coaching or counseling session. But even the inspiring stuff, even the advice blogs and the good news accounts, there just has to be a limit to how much we consume.
Daily Healthy Habits– This is my job and passion anyway. But now more than ever. Routine matters. All the hand sanitizers in the world can not replace the strength that a healthy lifestyle gives your immune system. With the gyms being closed there is a greater demand for at home fitness which happens to be what I specialize in and have for FIVE YEARS! I have created this document of 15 FREE workouts you can do at home with little to no equipment.
You can also fill this out if you want to inquire about my full packages that include access to my online wellness community and my coaching support. I am so grateful this part of my routine is already cemented in my lifestyle, but if it’s not, all this extra time at home means it’s the perfect time to start. Either way, drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day, getting adequate sleep, eating a diet high in fruits and veggies (stock up on frozen) and moving your body is a great idea.
Radical Self Awareness– If you don’t know how you are feeling, you won’t be able to deal with how you are feeling. The best tactic I have ever used for understanding my feelings is writing them down. I don’t care if you never have before just try it. You can start with journal prompts if that helps. Two that spring to mind are: “The things that I am most worried about right now are….” and “If I had a magic wand.. I would… “ If it seems silly to you, you probably need it even more. Everyone will deal with this differently but knowing what you actually feel will help you to address those feelings. It’s okay if this changes a lot day to day or even hour by hour.
Mindfulness– This category is broad, increasingly trendy but absolutely life changing. I am also offering a 30 day free meditation & mindfulness support group because alongside exercising, meditation has been the most powerful daily habit for me. I am not affiliated with the Calm app but I recommend it to everyone because it makes beginning or cementing the practice of meditation so easy. It is a paid app but it’s worth every penny. Just 10 minute daily calm. I have a 30 day free trial I can set you up with if you’re interested. Other mindfulness practices can serve you in this dramatic place of uncertainty we are all floating in; like keeping a gratitude journal, physically writing down 3-5 things daily that you are grateful for and really taking the time to feel that. I also use brain dump journaling, pulling affirmation cards and repeating “I am” affirmations in the mirror, while doing the dishes or in the shower.
Unplug– This is important all of the time but staying at home, dealing with a global pandemic, we are all checking our phone, the news, email,texts and Whatsapp more than usual. Here are my top tips on unplugging. Leaving your phone outside of the bedroom and having a cut off time for work, especially working from home, is extremely important. We use our devices for so much entertainment, socialization, information, shopping, working, etc. but not setting up boundaries will leave us feeling depleted, frazzled, and for some even lonely or depressed.
The Company You Keep– Online. Offline. Who you Follow. Who you Check in with. You get to decide. I am so grateful for my Sweaty Souls community, the other leaders in my industry, fellow coaches, One Wave community and the people I love near and far. Not everyone will want the same kind of friends and energy around them. Maybe you need or want to stay stuck in the complaining circle. That’s your choice. As for me, I’m going to look for the helpers. Look for those taking the lemons and making lemonade. Just because we are shutting down face to face socialization doesn’t mean you can’t Facetime, call friends, set up group workouts or socialization time using the free platform Zoom.Us, Google Hangout or Skype. Make an effort to do little things to stay connected. The little things mean a lot.
Personal autonomy– You might feel really differently about the pandemic than your partner, neighbor, boss, sister or friend. That is okay. Don’t waste your energy trying to change their opinion or behavior. No one is “right” here. We are all allowed to feel our feelings and as always no one should ever invalidate the way you feel. Accept your emotions. If you can’t see eye to eye, just show them respect & space to handle the situation how they need to. If you are living together, try to be open and communicate your feelings, needs and like any situation compromise when possible. Remember things change every single day with this crisis, people who feel great now might be really worried in a few days or vice versa, don’t mock people’s reaction, just focus your energy on helping yourself and helping those who are close to you and especially those who are vulnerable.
Recommendations: I highly recommend filling your mind and newsfeed with different perspectives and those who can look on the bright side, especially if you are struggling to.
Some great accounts on Instagram:
Life Coach School Podcast, as I mentioned- this Handling Chaos podcast series is one of the most impactful things I’ve consumed since this Covid-19 pandemic started. It is action oriented, it gives you back your power and it reminds you that no matter what has changed you ultimately still have some control.
Calm App – meditations & sleep stories! The best meditation app on the market. Great for beginners.
Still feeling anxious? here are some great tips from Harvard Medical School blog. They also have a COVID-19 resource center that they are updating DAILY with podcasts, articles and advice from some of the best doctors in the world.
As I said, feel your feelings but focus on controlling the controllables in your life, no matter how few that may be. Like all hard times, they won’t last forever. Follow the advice of your local government officials and stay home because even though it is hard, it’s worth it to nip this in the bud as quickly as possible.
If you have any accounts or ideas that are helping you stay optimistic, grounded and calm, please share them with me in the comments or shoot me a message on social! You can find me hanging out as usual on Instagram stories and a bit on Facebook.
I’ll leave you with this quote because every single time I hear it, I smile and feel at peace. It may not be what we wanted, but I’m open minded to the fact that this is in fact…what we needed to change life and the world as we know it.
Stay calm, stay safe, stay washing those hands and stay home. You might be at home, but you are definitely not alone.