While we all are doing our best to slow the spread of COVID-19, each day that passes brings with it additional worry, stress, and dread about what’s to come. As the crisis continues, we may notice that the pattern of these feelings may feel predictable and logical one day, and completely random the next, leaving us confused and maybe even blaming ourselves. And yet, it’s human to expect that our normal coping skills may be taxed during these unprecedented times.
Below are simple, yet effective tips for holding your ground when the world us around feels topsy-turvy. Like any skill, it’s best to practice these before you need them.
Scan your body for tension and intentionally release. Stretch neck, shoulders, and face, release tension in hands and feet.
How you are breathing right now reflects what you are thinking, feeling, sensing. When we are under intense stress, our bodies restrict our breathing in an attempt to minimize anticipated pain. You can counteract this by completely releasing your stomach muscles and taking a few long, slow, breaths.
3. Calming Image
Your dog’s face, a campfire, your favorite tree, a solitary place, a sacred space. These images anchor you in times of stress and overwhelm. Choose an image that is soothing and comforting, that reminds you of strength, resilience, and that transcends time. This is yours, it’s private and unique to you.
4. Put a Name to What You're Feeling
Research indicates that simply putting words to our emotional experience can help decrease its intensity. I’m feeling dread/overwhelm/fluttery inside/irritated/numb.
5. Calming Thought
I can handle this, this moment won’t last forever, I’m doing the best I can, We’re all in this together, Of course I’m feeling this way, I’ve felt this way before. These are examples of concise reminders of our own capacity to cope through difficult moments. Keep them close and use them.
6. Breathe, Part ll
When the world is spinning and you’ve forgotten all the above tips about how to hold ground, remember you have your breath. Come back to it again and again.