Inner-Peace in a PandemicMay 31, 2021
Two weeks ago, today, life was pretty average. I took my daughter to school, saw some clients, had some meetings, did some writing, picked her up, took her to after-school class, and then home for homework, dinner, family time, bath and bed.
A week ago, I discovered we live in the New Rochelle Containment zone. That's right, the epicenter of cases in New York.
In the blink of an eye, our world has changed in response to the virus
– pandemic declared
– states of emergency enacted
– schools closed
– sporting events canceled
– travel bans put in place
– and quarantines are in effect.
It's scary how much things can change and how quickly.
But fear is a fascinating thing.
Fear is part of the evolutionary system that helps us survive. We need it. But under so many modern circumstances, fear does more harm than good.
Fear allows instinct to take over to preserve life when threatened by, say, an angry bear. The instinctual reactions of fight, flight, or freeze are not very helpful in fending off a microscopic virus. That fear energy needs to go someplace, so we find ourselves hoarding toilet paper. Emotions are contagious (even more than viruses). Therefore it is difficult not to panic when everyone and everything around you says you are not safe.
There isn't a shortage of food (and there won't be a shortage of toilet tissue), but there is a shortage of leadership, which is fueling the panic.
Maintaining my inner peace while living in one of the focal points of coronavirus has shined a light on exactly how I practice what I preach. What I do and exactly how I do it could probably fill another book. I hope my top three techniques will help you shift out of panic mode.
Avoid media overload
It is essential to stay informed because things are changing rapidly. How you choose to get the needed information can make a significant difference in your anxiety level. Stay away from new sources that sensationalize. Pick the most credible sources and then choose when and how you will get your updates in bite-sized pieces. I suggest that you identify a website or two (one local and one national) and then check in briefly twice a day to see what has changed. Overexposure does not make you any better informed but can make your fear level go through the roof.
To catastrophize is to imagine the worst possible outcome of an action or event. It is crucial to prepare for the real need to stay home for weeks. It does not help to imagine the unlikely chance that the world will soon be taken over by zombies or aliens (and hoarding paper products would not help if it were). Deal with each situation as it comes, and plan for the future within reason. Imagining the worst increases your anxiety and rarely leads to being better prepared for the future.
Choose to focus on the good
Instead of focusing on all the things you can't do, focus on what is positive in our current situation. Hunkering down and sheltering in gives you the opportunity to:
- Spend more quality time with family
- Focus on self-care
- Reconnect with a hobby or interest you usually don't have time for
- Learn something new
- Read a book or binge-watch a show
- Start a gratitude journal
I would love to hear how you are changing the energy around this current challenge and how you are using this gift of time. Please send me an email to share.
And if you are having trouble managing your anxiety, please reach out. I am offering free inner peace consultations for the next two weeks to support you during this unprecedented experience. No obligation and I promise not to try to sell you anything.