I haven’t been in this space for a while now. My mind was busy with certain challenges and then the COVID-19 came along. I am lucky enough to have booked a 4 week annual leave at the start of the year, starting today, 30.03.20! I took this past weekend to finally allow myself to feel all the emotions I’ve been building inside and recentre (stepping in my heart and getting out of my head). For many the COVID-19 global crisis has triggered them to be in survival mode not knowing what’s next, people may have lost their job, a family member to the virus, have been sick or know someone that is sick etc… I felt that I was already in survival mode before the crisis and now I have a chance to revisit my choices and my priorities. As an empath, I found it hard to say something positive about the situation we are in as I can feel people’s pain and worry. In fact I felt overwhelmed by all the pain and worry as I listen to people, read and watch online news, go to the supermarket (that’s what hit me first). Then as I reread a paragraph from the book “Emotional detox for anxiety” by Sherianna Boyle, I wondered if I could help without feeling the pain and carrying them, without being part of the panic/misery. The paragraph stated, “Although you may be accustomed to seeing empathy as doing something (meaning you feel bad, so you want to make someone else feel better), in truth, empathy is the capacity to understand what someone else is feeling, to be able to put yourself in their shoes….. Empathy does not mean I have to feel your emotions. My understanding is enough!” Therefore I asked myself, what if I could do this and help people see this crisis as an opportunity, as a vehicle for positive change. See the good in the bad, see the light in the dark… you get my point! What if I can hold a space and being fully present for someone to feel and heal or shift their pain? What if I let go of the delusion that if I continue to worry somehow things are going to ‘stay’ under control?
Firstly I understand many of these pain as I also have lost a loved one to being sick at one point in my life, I have been in financial stress (still feeling it), I have been without a job before, my husband has lost his job 2 years ago or so and it was scary for us (we were not even eligible for government help back then), I have been sick before… And in no way I will claim to have the answers or deny your feelings. If you are in pain due to a loss (job, loved one, health etc…) and you need to process your grief, please do so and allow yourself the time to do so, possibly with a professional to support you or perhaps with the support of a friend or family member. It is important that you ask for help or get some support. Don’t do this on your own, we are a community and there is a lot of people out there willing and ready to help in many different ways (including myself, if you need to chat, send me an email).
Now the way I see it. There is a lot of fear out there about the future whether near or far. I know what it is to deal with uncertainty and the worry that comes with it but guess what? Life is unpredictable, that is a fact of life. Death is a part of life. As Srikumar Rao stated, we had this illusion that we had control over our lives but we have never really had control. No one can never really know what tomorrow is made of, what the next minute/second is made of. We can do certain things until we cannot, things go one way until they don’t. We had taken so much for granted in our lives that we never had really questioned our purpose on this planet or what does life really mean to us or how grateful we are for every things in our lives. We assumed that what we can or cannot do, what we have or do not have, the way we live, the way we respond or react to life is just the way it is! We accept our life as the default programming it is on now and resist anything that will disrupt this default and desperately want to press on the reset button right now so we can go back to being our old self. What if we can use this pause button (forced or voluntary) to reflect and re-frame? What if there is NO ONE way? What if you suddenly realised that you have the power to choose what’s next? What if this is an opportunity to be who you really are? What if this is the opportunity to be the best version of yourself?
“I just wanna say nothing is permanent in this world, only change”
― Jayson Engay
We assumed that there is only one way and that this one way is the right way! The thing is, we are constantly looking outside of ourselves for answers to our problems (awaiting for others to tell us what to do, through social media, looking at the latest trend etc…) in order to ‘fix’ things when in fact the answer is within. We are stuck in our comfort zone and more often than not, looking inward would make us feel a certain way and this is uncomfortable for many. Now COVID-19 is here and most of us need to stay home and here is an opportunity for us to look inward but we resist it because it is too uncomfortable. So how can we reframe our fears of this current situation?
- Firstly, know that your fears come from your mental chatter. The scenarios/thoughts made in our mind are our monkey mind trying to keep us safe by projecting and recalling worse case scenarios, our full to-do-list, judgments, listing all the things we are fearful of, we can’t do etc…… thus leaving us with a feeling of misery and overwhelm. Srikumar Rao puts it this way, “Your mental chatter is fake news”. Overthinking leads to confusion and feeling of helplessness and panic. Bring your awareness to the present moment. Whenever you have these negative thoughts about the future, bring your attention to the present moment. you can do this by taking your focus from your mind to your breath. or you can take a good look around you and notice the things that are there. When you are in the present moment , you can tame your monkey mind and look at things with clarity.
- Secondly, Accepting what is and know that When/If things happen you will get through it as will everyone else. Choose to face adversity with awareness and presence. This way you go through it with a growth mindset and without the unnecessary suffering. Note that the suffering is not the same as how you feel. The suffering is due to the attachment we have to the outcome.
- Thirdly, once you are calm(er), make a list of those things that are on your mind, then think about them rationally. Firstly ask yourself if they are real. How likely is that going to happen? Then ask yourself, what action can I do to solve this problem (whether its finding a new job, get healthier, homeschooling your child…..)? For example, you may need to make a meal plan to start eating healthy food or updating your resume or asking someone for help about certain things that may not be your expertise.
- Fourthly, TAKE ACTION, the smallest thing you can do, just do it! The moment you take action you will feel less in your head and more energised. Get started with the meal plan, start updating your resume, call someone that can help with a business question/a health question etc… Only work on one or two things at a time. We can easily get carried away and want to tackle the whole list at once but this will just bring more overwhelm and worry.
Once you understand that your worries are just thoughts, you have the choice to change them to ones that will benefit you instead. Once you have taken charge of your thoughts, through awareness, you can start looking at things through a different lens. Note that the thoughts are more likely to come again, but the trick is to be able to witness them without judgment, become aware that they are here and just in your mind. You realise that these things hasn’t happen yet and may not even happen. So take your power back and choose a different thought, affirming that right in this moment you are safe. Looking at things through a different lens may mean, What if homeschooling is a chance to bond with your child while having fun? Perhaps your reframe question will be, How can I have more fun with my child while we learn? rather than I don’t know what to do with my child… How can I give back to the planet right now? rather than the world is suffering right now and I don’t know what to do. Michael Beckwith stated, “The pain pushes until the vision pulls.” Find your vision, start thinking from what you want to achieve instead, how you want to feel instead and let your inner wisdom guide you.
Things you can practice to help you be more calm are:
- Gratitude (For the tiniest thing every day- will keep a positive mindset)
- Meditation/Stillness (practice bringing your attention to the present moment)
- Mindfulness (Be present while cooking, chopping, cleaning….)
- Journaling (Write down your thoughts and feelings- help yourself to step into your heart from your head)
- Be in nature if you can (Go for walk if its allowed or step on the grass barefoot if you have some front yard or back yard, care for your plants indoor or outdoor, look at the sky, look at the trees, even picture of nature has been proven to work)
- Talk to someone
- Exercise (whatever you fancy, just keep moving)
- Allow time for yourself (perhaps when the children are sleeping or may be you can tag your partner…)
- Essential oils are wonderful
- EFT or tapping (lots of tools out there, I love the tapping solution)
- Food plays a role as well, make sure you choose nourishing food and avoid refine sugar as it will not help with feeling anxious or worrying
I hope that this can help. As I truly believe that life is happening for us, I think there is a lot for us to learn through this one in a lifetime situation. I think this is our opportunity to look at what we were doing and think of what positive change we can make. Could this be a chance to make better choices for our planet? Could this be a chance to find our true purpose in this life? Could this be a chance for us to S.L.O.W D.O.W.N for a New Life Resolution?! Could this be a chance for us to be more loving, more compassionate, more forgiving, more giving, more understanding, more supportive, more happy, more peaceful, more thoughtful…. May be its time for us to look at our Wellbeing differently! Ready to REFRAME? let’s do this!
What do you think? How are you feeling right now?
With much love and TO THE BEST IN YOU
Photo by Keenan Constance on Pexels.com