There is a lot of content out there between calming apps and podcasts, to Instagram graphics of meditation tips and brewed teas, all touting how to remain calm in the face of coronavirus. While these are helpful for some, others might find them limiting or even frustrating, not really getting at the crux of what is preventing us from achieving calm.
As this virus has progressed over the last few weeks, each day seems to present new challenges, fears and anxieties. With its speed and rate of contagion, we too are experiencing a fast rate of ever-growing side effects. Financial and emotional being the two on the leader board. We knew a lock down was likely, but perhaps the reality of the financial strain is hitting way harder now that we are living its reality. Unable to pay rents and mortgages, fears about how to pay bills or grocery shop. Some of us have savings and some of us do not. There is a continuum here of financial need, but the fear is likely the same throughout: How will I get through this? It can trigger us to lose empathy for those who are ill and lose focus and perspective on why we are on lock down to begin with. It’s a worry, and it's hard to talk ourselves down from worry when we literally do not have answers for how we are going to move on from this financially. When we are focused on our financial loss and the implications of such loss, it’s also difficult for us to maintain a larger perspective about this virus and all those who are ill and treating it.
In addition to the calming apps and herbal tea suggestions, it can be hard to think about learning life lessons from this crisis at this stage, because we are in the middle of a crisis. Each person responds differently in the face of a crisis and some are affected differently than others. Some find comfort in big picture life lessons, others cannot access those lessons because they are so overwhelmed with risks and stressors associated with a crisis. Before we can find meaning, we have to come to terms with all that we are struggling with, and make a plan for how to address it.
I am all about finding the meaning and seeing the bigger picture. I find this to be extremely valuable therapeutically, to help my clients evolve past their issue and move into their power. The problem with a hierarchy of need however, is that if we are not able to meet our basic needs, then we are less likely to expand our mindset into seeing the big picture. To help you get there, my aim for this article is to help and encourage you to think through the problems created by this virus more concretely and empower you to make a plan.
When we have a plan for how our basic needs will be met, we are better able to move through difficult times to find the meaning in all of it. So perhaps some prompts will help you better gauge where you are realistically in terms of risk, how bad is your situation really, and help you mobilize your inner problem solver by switching from victim mindset into an action mindset. One in which you are in control and not helpless. We can address the emotional side effects of this crisis effectively and productively when we are in a “can do” versus a “can’t do” mindset. To shift yourself into this space, consider utilizing the handout below (download here for free).
Remember: everything is temporary, this too shall pass, and, most importantly, you are not in this alone.