The Byproduct of an Emergency
By Jacqueline Mendez
During this time of uncertainty and still being unsure of how the Coronavirus epidemic will continue to evolve, each of us must take precautions to stay safe, healthy and centered. It is also important to remember that emergencies occur so that we can emerge and see ourselves, others, and life itself through different lenses.
We are getting a lot of different messages from a variety of sources. Every day the landscape is changing rapidly. I understand that it is hard not to panic. It’s also hard to not catastrophize what we are watching on the news and what we are reading, but doing so can actually make things worse.
It’s important to have some tools to regulate when you start to feel out of control, panicky, anxious, scared or worried. Our nervous system and our reptile brain—freeze, flight or fight—begin to focus on survival and the fear of being and not having not enough come rushing up. (Below a list I have compiled to help keep yourself (and myself) centered and manage anxiety so that we can feel safe and keep healthy during this challenging time.)
Yet every time we emerge from a dark place, we emerge with the byproduct of any emergency with more kindness and resiliency.
What I am reminded most at this time is that during challenging times we get to meet ourselves in transformative ways. After all, even the Coronavirus has itself transformed into a more powerful force.
When a crisis or emergency hits, we get knocked out of our comfort zone, shaken to our inner core, and are forced to see things differently. We get to stretch, lean and expand into spaces we would never have considered before. Whether it arrives as an affair, a medical crisis, a death, or a deadly flu, we must pause and reconsider how we got there, what we are willing to do different and commit to a different way of holding for ourselves and others.
In times of uncertainty, the not knowing of what is next can feel so scary and overwhelming. Yet every time we emerge from a dark place, we emerge with the byproduct of more kindness and resiliency. Acknowledging how resilient you really always have been—you never get what you can’t handle. Kindness towards the parts inside yourself that forgot. Kindness towards others who are also doing the best they can.
I know this to be true because each of you has already gone through life events that felt unbearable at that time. And, here you are. You made it through with more wisdom and love for the tender parts. A deeper connection to your inner resources, higher intelligence.
1. Stay informed. This does not mean watching 24 hours of news updates. I for one am watching the morning news so I can better plan my day. I am turning off the evening news so that my body has time to unwind before bedtime. Practice inquiry. Be curious about the source. If you feel anxiety rising, take a break. Breathe. Come back to it later.
2. Stay connected with others. We are fortunate that we can stay connected to one another via the internet, or phone. Take advantage of this! In a time when we may have to isolate more and are being asked to change how we engage with our social support; we can stay connected to friends and family in this way. Reach out to loved ones, especially older and immune-suppressed individuals. Have a FaceTime Coffee or Happy Hour. Check on each other.
3. Move. We know that movement fires up the immune system and helps unwind the nervous system. You can do jumping jacks, sit ups and push-ups right now! Why not do a dance party for one or with others also at home with you. How about a FaceTime others or a Google Hangout? Now you got an online festival going!
4. Take a bath and follow it with a nap. Water has a soothing effect on the body. Helps to energetically keep it neutral. Letting the body unwind in a bath and following it with some rest will keep you healthy.
5. Get out into nature. Go for a walk in your neighborhood. Stand still outdoors for a moment. Do some gardening. If it’s too cold or chilly, tend to indoor plants. Nature helps us remember that everything comes in cycles. This too shall pass.
6. Breathe. Slow down. Feel the inhale and exhale. Practice right this moment. Feel the air enter your body and then exit. Notice what parts of the body can and want to invite some relaxation.
7. Be in your loving. We are all doing the best we can. We can live without toilet paper and bottled water. We cannot live without connection and compassion. Hug your loved ones. Tell them how much they mean to you. If it’s too hard to say it, write it or do an act of kindness that’s meaningful to them. And, yes, wash your hands first.
Above all, do take care of yourself. Take care of body and mental health so that you can stay safe and healthy.
Wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, eat healthy, stay hydrated, sleep well, breathe deeply, be still in moments, stay safe, and laugh.
Sending you oodles of love and healing light.