Coping when our lives have been drastically destabilised

We’ve never known our lives to be so destabilised. Many emotions are rushing through our bodies at the moment. It may be challenging to identify them because many are uncomfortable feelings which we don’t want to feel. In this challenging situation, what can you do to stabilise yourself in this ever-changing world? I have a few suggestions for you in this blog.

You are feeling your fear and the collective fear

Firstly, let’s get to the source of the problem. Many people are feeling their own fear, fatigue and panic as well as the collective fear and anxiety. Do you remember when Princess Diana died? There was a collective mourning: sadness with an edge of anger. Now the world population is dealing with the Covid-19 virus and this invisible threat brings fear and grief as our lives change in unimaginable ways.

The unthinkable is happening all the time. For the majority, our structured, busy work and other aspects of our lives seem so distant from our current reality. We are now in lock-down, staying home to save lives. It is like being in a film rather than the life you’re used to, it seems so unreal. People queue outside food and pharmacy shops 2m apart. Patiently waiting and hoping that the shelves have been restocked when the enter. We’re used to getting what we want when we want and with relative ease. This is a stress to our systems. Will there be food at the shop or something we need? We don’t know. This is a very different UK.

We are grieving

We are grieving for the life we lost. The stability and the sense of control we may have felt. We are also feeling anticipatory grief. This is your mind going into the future and imagining the worst-case scenarios. We know the world is going to be different from this moment forward. We aren’t sure exactly what it we will have lost. It means we feel unsafe moving into this unknown new future.

Journal to access your feelings

Whatever we are feeling it is important to allow ourselves to feel. Let the emotions discharge themself in some sort of safe way. Scientifically it has been shown that journalling helps individuals to get through challenging emotional times much faster. It allows you to process your thoughts and feelings. There’s support to get you going on Facebook at ExploreDiscover/posts You don’t need to write for long, 15 minutes was long enough. You do need to be radically honest with yourself about how you feel, no editing, be raw. Once you have written it down with a pen on paper (very important) then ask yourself, is there something else underneath this? Trust the process.

Be kind to yourself

This is not a situation you or any of us have encountered before. As a country we have never been put in lock-down. A virus is making its way across the globe stopping all forms of travel and transport. It is an unseen killer, and this makes us feel unsafe. There is the economic turmoil and the loss of connection. Don’t just expect yourself to bounce back. You will feel tired and foggy headed at times. Be kind to yourself. How you treat yourself is important. You may need to cultivate a new level of compassion for yourself. How could you do this? What does the scared child inside you need from your adult self? Do this and you will feel calm.

Watch what you’re feeding your mind

Without really noticing, it can be easy to fill your head with news hour after hour. It’s important to pay attention to what’s going on, but don’t let it fill every moment. As with all things in life we need balance to maintain our health and happiness. What you allow into your head is food for your brain. Watch what diet you feed it. This is even more important when it comes to children, as an unseen killer can give them nightmares.

Keep things in balance

Our minds show us pictures. My parents getting sick. We see the worst scenarios. You can’t stop thinking those thoughts, but you can balance them with best scenarios. Try to find balance in the things you think. People may get sick, but they can get better. Neither scenario should be ignored, and neither should dominate.

Noticing what you enjoy

This is reminding us of how precious life is. It makes us realise we’ve been being busy, rushing and we were scattered. Human doings not human beings. Now we’ve been forced to stay in one place for a period, we have time to notice. To come into the present. Write in your journal about what you see, what you notice this spring. Are you hearing more bird song without the traffic and aeroplane noise? Are you enjoying being in nature? Do you notice how good it makes you feel? After the lockdown how will you change your life? Will you still make time to visit the park once a day?

Think about the good things you want to continue to do in your life, such as pottering or even camping in the garden. Lots of people are joining the Facebook group: The Great Garden Indoor/ Outdoor Camp Easter 2020. This is bringing us back to the little pleasures in life. Having fun on our own or with our families in lockdown.

Cultivating more compassion

If people get a bit grizzly, realise they will also be feeling the grief and may not be themselves at the moment. We need to treat each other with compassion. You choose how you act in the world. Let there be more compassion than fear. I’m seeing more compassion in the world as I move around my community. We ask how each other are. I notice that people are genuinely interested in the answer. In England, you may ask “how are you?” But it’s a courtesy statement, a form of greeting. People didn’t really want to know the answer. The old “I’m fine” because I can see you’re too busy to listen, to me has gone. In this brief period of time so much has changed. We have restrictions on our liberty, but we have deepened our compassion. We notice each other. I hope we continue to learn these important lessons that this situation is bringing us. We can learn and grow into better versions of ourselves.

If you want a coaching session to support you through the six stages of grief, the final is to find meaning, get in touch with me. https://explorediscover.me/coaching/

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