You may approach this uncertain time from a space of trying to control as many variables as possible, or by becoming angry easily, or escaping into a space in your mind that says, this virus isn’t yours to worry about. You might ask, how am I supposed to be in relationships in these times when it feels like I can’t manage my own anxiety?
Let’s take it one step at a time. As people, we must first acknowledge and work with our own “stuff” before being regulated enough to help other people in our lives. There is a wonderful 3 step process to help when you might be feeling so overwhelmed by your emotions that you are behaving from a space of anxiety like yelling at your television or buying all (I mean all) of the toilet paper. The people closest to us feel and feed off of our actions and energy when we are stressed. This is why self-regulation is a key first step. When you feel yourself becoming anxious practice the simple mindfulness skill STOP, THINK, ACT:
STOP—Recognize my behavior and how it is impacting others so I can slow it down.
THINK—Acknowledge the emotion I am feeling and why.
ACT—Choose one small thing I can do instead in this moment that will be helpful to me.
Every portion of this mindfulness practice is important, so take your time moving through it. When you complete the process, allow yourself a little time for self-compassion to remind yourself you are doing your best in this difficult time. Because, you are.
How can you plan to set aside time each day to reflect on how you are adjusting to uncertainty? It may not seem “normal” to give yourself extra time to reflect, but right now is the best time I can think of to slow down and steep a bit in reflections about how you are coping beautifully. This practice helps you and in turn helps your family to know that it is safe for life to be slow and intentional amid uncertainty. Give yourself the gift of time for extra conversation, reflection, and closeness in the coming weeks.
Feel free to share how you are setting time aside for solo reflection!