At this time in Wisconsin, fear and anxiety are more contagious than the Coronavirus itself. Social distancing, self-quarantine, and other precautions are being practiced to slow spreading of the virus.
However, we are facing the unexpected consequence of those precautions: they are increasing the spread of fear, anxiety and panic.
Please consider these great, effective ways to care for yourself during this unprecedented and challenging time:
- Acknowledge the fear and anxiety (it’s normal under the circumstances). Do your best to avoid dwelling on it, but have self-compassion for the difficulty of it. Check out www.self-compassion.org for some great guided meditations to help with this.
- Create boundaries around media (news and social). A constant stream of repetitive and fear-provoking information is not necessary. Set boundaries around how much time you spend watching.
- Connect with loved ones. Isolation creates more stress and lowers immunity. Instead of spending time on media, spend it talking or video-chatting with loved ones or playing a game together, or taking a walk outdoors (natures soothes).
- Love yourself by making time for relaxation or centering practices. It may be meditation, exercise, prayer, breathwork, laughter, music etc. This time offers us a gift of slowing down the pace of life. Check out my blog for dozens of articles with tools and techniques for anxiety reduction.
I especially recommend Mindful Belly Breathing for stress and anxiety.
- MY GIFT TO YOU: I am giving you my guided meditation for Mindful Belly Breathing (MP3 audio) for FREE. CLICK HERE. You can use it online or download to any device.
- Focus on what’s in your control. In any situation, there are things that are in your control and things that are not. Direct your mind and your actions toward those things that are in your control, such as following health precautions, eating well, sleeping well, making time for calming activities, connecting with loved ones, limiting social media, etc.
- Find something else to talk about. This may be harder than you think. That’s because the situation is so pervasive in our lives right now. But it makes a huge difference to gain some sense of normalcy by talking about other things.
- Keep up an old habit. Part of what is creating anxiety at this time is the loss of routines, habits and structure. Before all this happened, I had a habit of watching one episode of the TV show “Suits” on Amazon Prime on most nights. Now I make sure to watch one every night! As silly as that may seem, continuing trivial habits like this is very comforting and calming for your mind and your nervous system.
- Love one another. Now is the time for random acts of kindness, generosity, smiles, and gratitude to others. It will decrease your own stress, boost your immunity, build community, and touch another person’s heart. Make a call, offer help, smile, send a card in the US Mail, stay in touch with those who are living alone, play games or go for walks with your kids, thank those who are working so that we can still have necessary services available. These things will help you as much as (or more than!) the other person.
I’ll close with a mantra from lovingkindness meditation:
May we all be well, may we all be happy, may we all be peaceful.