With everything happening in the world right now, we are more vulnerable to trauma and emotional dysregulation than ever before. COVID-19 has thrust us into a newly emerging form of historical trauma and we are having to continually adjust on the fly. This can be incredibly difficult when we feel trapped in a state of immobilization. The following are a few tips to shift yourself from a state of paralysis to a mobilized state:
- Actively challenge your negative thoughts: Instead of focusing on feelings of anger or fear, challenge yourself to focus on things within your control. For example, “I am able to keep myself and my loved ones safe by staying home. I can create structure and routine within my home that supports my mental health.”
- Practice grace toward yourself and others: Some days will be harder than others and we are all navigating uncharted waters. It will be messy at times and there will inevitably be moments where we struggle to present as our best selves. Strength comes through the practice of grace toward ourselves and others. When you experience others respond in a reactive way, pause and remember they are facing similar challenges and may not have the same coping skills you possess.
- Shift your priorities: We live and work in a world that places a very high value on productivity—but we aren’t living in that world right now, and using productivity as the sole metric to measure success doesn’t serve us well. Take this opportunity to slow down a bit. Prioritize your physical and psychological health above all else.
- Focus on self-care: Showing up for yourself and your loved ones requires you take care of yourself. Take time to engage in activities that bring you joy. Limit your exposure to social media and news focused on the pandemic. Practice diaphragmatic breathing, yoga, mindfulness practices, and grounding activities. Make an effort to be playful—listen to music, play games, and enjoy some quiet time to relax.
- Make an effort to schedule time for social engagement: Although we have a responsibility to maintain a healthy social distance, this does not mean we are excluded from any social engagement. We are hard-wired as social beings and we are fortunate to live in a time where technology affords us the ability connect and remain socially responsible. Schedule game nights, plan a virtual happy hour with friends, and FaceTime frequently with loved ones.
Most importantly, remember there are resources available to you! If you are struggling, please reach out. In times like these, we have to be our own hero and I believe we all have a great capacity to do hard things!