How to Move Forward When There’s No Going Back: 6 Ways to Quiet Your Mind in the Midst of a Pandemic
“Your resilience is your humanity.” – Hannah Gadsby
Even with the bullhorn of politics sounding louder each day, the effects of the pandemic still remain top of mind. Voting at polls has morphed into voting by mail. Back to school is now back to class on zoom in our living rooms. And we still don’t know when the vaccine will be live nor do we have enough information to predict how much longer our “normal” routines will be held at bay. There is no place this does not affect. It is in the news, our personal lives, our communities, and globally everywhere we look. It is easy to feel a persistent kind of fatigue and feel bogged down with overwhelm when there is no going back while we don’t know where we are headed. So take a moment to take this in and let’s process what we can take charge of.
- STAY PHYSICALLY ACTIVE.
I know, I know, everyone says this. Why? Because it works! Moving your body can help clear your mind and give you much needed energy. Better still, it processes adrenaline which may be adding to anxiety.
- GIVE YOURSELF WHAT YOU NEED.
Take a long, decadent shower. Play music that takes you on a journey. Let yourself cry. Break something if it helps you (nothing valuable to you or anyone else). Your job right now is listening to your body and caring for yourself.
- CONNECT WITH A FRIEND.
Our social distance is necessary, but taxing! We all need a friend who loves and cares about us to build our sense of safety and security in the world. Talk on the phone, have a glass of wine from 6 feet away in your driveway, or mask up and take a leisurely walk together. Laugh, talk it out, and simply connect.
A journal can not judge you. You can tell it anything and it won’t talk back. Journaling is a great way to organize or purge your thoughts. “Writing therapy” is one of my favorite ways to reign in my thoughts when they are running wild.
- REST AND RESTORE.
When you are loving and kind with yourself, healing happens. Sit quietly outdoors for 10 minutes. Go to bed early. Soak your feet. Breathe deeply and consciously.
- EACH NIGHT, WRITE ONE THING YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR.
This single evening practice can set you up for a peaceful night’s sleep and can be your lifeline to staying in a state of appreciation, normalcy, and routine.
Invitation: Try to let yourself off the hook. None of us have ever navigated the world the way it is today. Be OK with your own “bare minimums,” whatever those are for you. Move your self care to the top of the list and don’t worry about the crumbs on the kitchen counter for now. Don’t concern yourself with things that don’t matter. So what if your nails haven’t seen a manicurist for months or if your hair’s a little shaggy (on your head OR your legs)? This is no time for self-bullying!
Where we will be one month from now is a mystery. Don’t wait to live, live! Whatever that means for you today, do it. And give yourself as much peace as you can muster.
The world is calling us to bring a level of resilience that most of us have never experienced before. My best advice for building resilience is to allow all of your feelings, but redirect your emotions if afterward you feel worse and not better. Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a palm tree that stays centered and solidly rooted despite the intensity of a hurricane. The top of the tree may come out tattered from the harsh winds, but the leaves always grow back when the weather settles and you (the tree stalk) will remain intact.