We are definitely in an uncharted territory as a planet and you may be feeling a lot of fear, overwhelm and anxiety at this time. Things have had to change very quickly and that can be unsettling and bring up a lot. I want to honour all that you are feeling and say that you are not alone. But, as someone who has worked almost entirely online for the past five years and self-isolates regularly (the needs of a highly sensitive introvert!) I can say that there is a real opportunity for more magic in your life, should you choose it.
At this time so many of us are now being given an opportunity to slow down and spend more time being present. It can seem scary and like too much at first, particularly as this isn’t a choice people are making. But, we always have a choice when it comes to how we react to things happening that affect us. And how you react and use this time is a choice. I completely understand how scary it can feel right now and there’s concern for loved ones (especially older ones); worries about food supply; added responsibilities and extra care around hygiene and distancing needing to be taken. This isn’t to de-validate these genuine realities, it’s simply some suggestions from my experience which might support you to make the most of this time.
Start a new self-care practice
Your daily schedule may be a bit all over the place as you might have family around and/or be trying to fit in supporting others. I know how easy it is to let self-care drop, eat badly and not get going in the morning if I don’t have to. But the sooner you establish a new regular routine which includes movement and eating/hydrating well, plus other practices that support you e.g. meditation or journaling, you’ll start to settle in and feel good inside and out. Work with your new schedule. You might now have the time to get up early and do an online class as you aren’t commuting, something you may have wished for in the past. Or you could include your kids and do an online dance class together or involve them in food prep – again something there was never the time for.
Once you accept this ‘new normal’ and allow yourself to settle into it, you might find that you can finally use this time to do some of the things you’ve always said you’d do but haven’t. Hello writing that book, learning a new skill or creating art for the first time since childhood. Whatever it is, now is a time to connect with that creative part of you and actually follow through. You might even begin to wish you have more time in the end ;-).
Get to know yourself
So many people are scared of being alone and of dealing with themselves on a deep level. I know in my late twenties I avoided being alone with myself and my feelings and would numb them with copious amounts of food, and escape in countless TV shows. But as I started my own self-care journey I began to meditate and journal, getting to tentatively know my own inner landscape, I realised that I was more fearful of what might come up than what actually did. Beginning to start that journey has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The more I explore and learn about myself, the more I want to spend time in my inner world.
In the beginning I recommend starting small – perhaps with support such as a held online space – and do a little every day in a way that feels good to you. If you don’t like to journal try voice recording your thoughts and feelings. If you don’t like a certain type of meditation try another. There are so many tools and practices out there that can help you connect to yourself and it’s about finding the right one for you and your life.
Things may come up as you do this, especially as you may have more time on your hands, which leads me on to my next point – do reach out if it gets overwhelming or too much for you.
Reach out for support
If fears do come up around food, survival, money, safety or anything else, reach out to someone you trust. We are all in this together, and granted some people have more resources than others, but we can all look out for one another, share and provide compassion. Often we don’t ask for help out of fear or thinking we know the response, but there’s so much strength in asking for help and you will lessen the burden on yourself.
Also if old addictions or patterns feel like they may be coming up reach out for help here too. I have felt cravings for chocolate and wine this week, for the first time in a long time. Of course if you can allow yourself to have some in a kind way go for it. But if you feel you might be turning to coping behaviours that may spiral, get help sooner rather than later.
This can be such a wonderful gift, as learning to ask for help in the long run will change your life. It may bring you closer to others as well as help you feel not so alone in general. We tend to live as islands amongst one another and there is such power in doing this journey together.
Allow yourself to just be
We live in such a fast paced, do-do-do, ‘want everything yesterday’ world. This has been detrimental to the planet and our wellbeing – with anxiety, stress and depression levels sky rocketing. Now is an opportunity to re-connect with simply be-ing. Allowing yourself to be in the moment without feeling like you have to do anything. I just spoke with a client who for the first time in years was sitting in the sun watching geese in a river, feeling like she was allowed to be there without any guilt and like she should be working. I find it so sad that our world has come to this, but again it’s choosing how you want to react at this time.
Can you allow yourself to just be?
Picture by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash