“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino
This is a difficult time for all of us. Many of us are worried about our health and the health of our loved ones. Many of us are working from home and dealing with the loneliness that comes from self-isolating. Many of us are scared for our businesses and our jobs and this brings some uncertainty about the future. Yet this challenging time also shows us some amazing things about our lives and focusing more on these amazing things whilst also taking care of our ourselves and our loved ones - can make this time much better than we had ever anticipated.
1. It puts things in perspective.
During this time we are forced to think bigger than our day-to-day worries. So often we get lost focusing on day-to-day stressors - worrying about deadlines, traffic jams, annoying bosses/colleagues and having too much to do. Many people often spend days beating themselves up over their weight, shape, life choices and abilities - not feeling “good enough”. At the moment, as we think about things much bigger than ourselves, it really puts into perspective that the things we worry about day-to-day are not such a big deal. It really makes us realise that we should cherish every moment we have and start being kinder to ourselves and others everyday.
2. It allows us to be grateful.
As we worry about the health of those we love - we can instead channel these worries into feelings of gratitude for those we love and care about. This time can really allow us to realise that we have so many amazing people in our lives that we probably take for granted day in and day out. We can use this time to spend more quality time with the people we care about or to make time for calls with them to talk to them and connect with them more frequently.
3. We can unite despite our differences.
So often we humans focus on our differences. What divides us and causes tension in the world is when we are actively looking for what separates us or differentiates us from another person... and so divides are created based on politics, race, gender, age, interests and so much more. However this time has shown us that ultimately we are all the same. If we look at the bigger picture - we are all just humans trying to do the best we can with what we know. This is a time for us to overlook our differences and instead focus on what brings us together and unites us as the human race.
4. We can take some time to rest and prioritise our health.
Very often we put-off taking care of our health until the future. We are so busy with work, the kids, chores, stresses.... that getting enough rest, eating well, moving our body, relaxing and doing things for self-care, just falls to the bottom of our to-do list. However with more time at home and health more becoming more of a priority - we can see this as an opportunity to really start taking care of ourselves and our health. If you would like any support in doing so, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. We can prioritise love, compassion and kindness.
Whilst at the moment you may be feeling fear - channeling this into feelings of love, compassion and kindness can really help. You can take this time to show yourself some love, compassion and kindness - really speaking to yourself positively and taking some time for self-care. You can also take this time to show love and kindness to those around you and to complete strangers too - this is a time for us all to come together, to unite and to show that we all care about each other greatly. What an amazing opportunity we have to express our gratitude for others right now.
The natural instinct at this time is to worry over all of the things that could do wrong in the future. What is often helpful when managing this anxiety about health or the future is to start channelling any worrying into planning instead. There is a big difference between worrying and planning - both involve thinking about the future but planning is a helpful and productive way of thinking about the future whereas worrying is a way of thinking about the future that can lead to heightened anxiety, feelings of fear and low mood. Here are some of the differences between the two:
1. Planning involves coming up with practical steps or solutions to the things you are worried about eg. I will work from home or encourage my loved ones to do so and make sure I’m getting enough sleep so that my immune system is strong. On the other hand worrying just tends to involve obsessing over everything that could go wrong.
2. Worrying also often involves focusing just on the worst case scenario. However planning keeps in mind all options on what could happen eg. yes there’s a chance I could get sick but I’m also very likely to recover or I may actually be completely fine and not get sick at all.
3. Planning also involves constructive thinking - after assessing a risk, planning allows you to take some positive steps to protect yourself and your health - which is important. Worrying on the other hand tends to get you trapped in a vicious circle or downward spiral of negative thoughts - without these serving any helpful purpose. It is much better for you to decide what practical steps you will take to address the risk and then to move on to focus on and think about something else.
So I send you all love over this difficult time - and wish strength for you all too. I hope we can all use this as an opportunity to create more love and kindness and to express our gratitude for those who mean so much to us.
“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength...”– Susan Gale