Living With Great Uncertainty?
It is especially important to decide what are the steps to take during the Coronavirus pandemic. A new normal has been forced on most of us in the world. A difficult time with many quarantined at home and routines greatly disrupted. If your financial situation is dire because of this new reality or if you or a loved one are not feeling well, the burden is truly enormous. Day to day we are faced with how unpredictable things are, and out of our control.
The truth is that we could never really count on things to go the way we wanted them to go even before this. How often did you make plans in the past only to see them disrupted?
Roshi Joan Halifax, a world-renowned Buddhist teacher says; “Every itinerary is subject to reality”. They say men makes plans and god laughs. I am not sure he or she are laughing right now but we certainly had our plans and our lives greatly disrupted. When you decide what are the steps to take during the coronavirus pandemic you find a sense of some control over the circumstances of your life.
The Price We Pay When Stressed
We have lived our lives for the most part, with at least the resemblance of predictability and this event, this invisible threat, has taken over our routines completely.
What happens when we are faced with a threat?
You all know the feeling of suddenly being frightened. Perhaps you stepped onto the road and a car came quickly. The heart rate goes up, the breath quickens, the body tenses and the mind goes into high alert as you jump out of the way.
Designed to Protect Us
This response is a beneficial one. It is designed to protect us, and soon after the threat subsides, the body and mind return to balance and we return to normal.
If it is short term and we are back to feeling safe, it is not a problem. The nervous system regulates itself and we return to how things were before. When the threat is ongoing, when things seem chronically out of sorts, a different process starts taking over.
What happens when the threat is ongoing?
When we experience chronic stress and I think we all have been experiencing chronic stress; our body, mind and spirit, our whole system gets affected by it.
On a cognitive level we do not think as clearly as we used to. The part of our brain that oversees processing information and making wise decisions gets somewhat disconnected from the part of the brain that is in charge of survival and that part takes over. And so, our decision-making ability is reduced just when we need it the most.
So what can you do?
You can take control of what is actually under your power to control!
Below you will find the steps to take during the coronavirus pandemic that will help you stay healthy and sane!
I know that the instructions keep changing. Also, that not everyone is in the same situation and that our risk depends on many factors.
I urge you to use your common sense and you may find yourself doing more than is enforced or recommended. We can learn from countries like South Korea and Japan where face masks and strong personal accountability are simply part of the culture and they are doing better than most western countries.
Creating a routine is exceptionally beneficial. It may not be your old routine but nevertheless a routine.
- Getting up at a certain time.
- Planning for the day.
- Getting dressed…
I use a small erase board now that I am home to make it more visual for myself and I find it very helpful.
You can put on your schedule a combination of things that you need to do and things that you want to do. It works best to alternate so you are rewarding yourself with a desired activity after you completed a necessary task.
Why is that important? Well, we are creatures of habit and getting dressed means to our habitual brain that some action is coming and so it helps motivate us for whatever project you are taking on that day.
As part of your daily routine make sure you plan for connection. This is crucial for our well-being. We are social animals. We thrive to connect. It actually boosts our immune system and enhances are emotional health.
- Connecting with family, with friends.
- Connecting on social media, joining events such as this one.
- Connecting with people you have not talked to in a long while.
- Possibly mending relationships that require some forgiveness and reaching out to those you know can benefit from a call and a check-in.
Choose Kindness & Compassion
It is exceptionally important right now. We are all more on the edge than usual. I already explained that our brains get hijacked during stressful times. Well, we are all in this together. If you find yourself irritable and anxious, do not take it out on someone else. Find a way to nourish yourself and feel better.
This is a great time to practice the 5 gatekeepers of speech:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Is it beneficial?
- Is it necessary?
- Is it the right time?
Move Your Body
Movement is essential to our well-being, it influences our mood, our physical health, and our sleep. If you can go outside, please do. Even if it is a short walk around the neighborhood. My dogs are a little sick of me right now and they hide when they hear me walk to get the leash.
If you are confined to your house or apartment for any reason and you can go up and down the stairs. If you are more limited in your abilities just walk around the house. Set alerts on your phone to get up and move every hour or so.
Feed Yourself Well
Eating processed food and foods high in sugar or any other junk food may be what your mind sends you to do but it is just another example of your compromised cognitive abilities. This is the time to eat clean.
- Eating good wholesome foods.
- Lots of vegetables and fruit.
- Good quality protein of whatever source.
- Drinking lots and lots of water and limiting caffeine are all essential.
- Don’t stimulate your system with caffeine when it is already on overdrive.
Nutrition is medicine and you need all the help you can get. Eating well improves your immune system, reduces your stress and improves your sleep and your mood. A clean diet is what you need. If you are a stress eater go for nuts, fruit, dark chocolate. Be kind to your body and your mind.
Create a Sleep Routine
Keeping a routine, moving your body and eating clean will all enhance your sleep and we all know how important sleep is for our immune function and our overall health.
- A bath.
- A dark room.
- No alcohol or caffeine for at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- No devices for about an hour…
Pray, Meditate, and Find Gratitude
Taking care of your spiritual life is as important. If you never prayed before, maybe it is a time to start.
- Wishing well for yourself and for others is a form of prayer.
- Adding a gratitude practice, a list of what you are grateful for to start and end your day helps as well.
Meditation calms the mind and re-connects your brain in a manner that allows you to regain your cognitive abilities and return to making good choices for yourself. Even 10 minutes a few times a day make a big difference. Prayer when done with devotion and intention is in a way a form of meditation.
Your spiritual self-care is as important as your physical self-care.
Below you will find a wonderful and quick mindfulenss tool to help you manage your state of mind during this difficult time. This can be viewed as on of the steps to take during the Corona virus pandemic