Overhanging clouds of doom and uncertainty continue to force their way into many different parts of the world with lightning quick speed due to the spread of the Coronavirus. So many people have been impacted by outbreaks of the virus and the World Health Organization has officially declared that the COVID-19 is now a pandemic.
With each passing day, the news just seems to be getting worse. A massively slumping stock market, school closures, cancelled trips, locked borders, an unforeseen end to Coronavirus, and severe restrictions have all been jabbing away at many people’s sense of well-being and it doesn’t look like this will let up anytime soon.
Most of us need certainty in our life. With certainty comes a sense of safety and stability as we know what is happening and when it’s going to happen. However, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we currently have no idea what the future will hold over the next few weeks and months.
This type of uncertainty will more than likely cause increased levels of stress and anxiety which can trigger a cascade of stress hormones being released by our sympathetic nervous system. Stress hormones can cause physiological changes in our body that can definitely impact our mental health, especially if we cannot find a way to put the brakes on the stress and take control of the vehicle.
The vehicle that I refer to is our minds and the habitual thought patterns that can overwhelm us in times of stress and anxiety.
Brene Brown, best-selling author, presenter and storyteller, strongly believes that vulnerability is not weakness, but instead our most accurate measure of courage. It’s about tackling uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure straight on. The way we do that is by acknowledging that these things do exist in our life. How can we lean into the discomfort of our vulnerability?
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting all of us. Acknowledging how we genuinely feel is an act of vulnerability and an important step in the process of putting the brakes on the stress and anxiety we are likely to experience in our life in the coming weeks and months. So, what are other ways we can we put the brakes on?
Stuck at Home
As countless people around the world are now faced with having to work and learn from home, there is a sense of being on lockdown. Reframing what being ‘stuck at home’ means is a great thought activity that we should all take part in as it can help to lessen the mental constriction that comes with the feeling of being on lockdown.
How might being ‘stuck at home’ be looked at more as an opportunity rather than a curse? It is essential to understand with every obstacle comes opportunity. We might not see it in the moment, but many genuine opportunities exist when we look forward with clear eyes and a clear mind.
Chances are we will probably never again have such an opportunity to be at home for such an extended period of time again. What a great chance to learn new things, complete unfinished projects and work on self.
Some questions to explore while you grapple with how to use time more effectively over the next several weeks are:
What unfinished books can I now finish reading?
What home projects can I now complete?
How can I declutter the physical space in my home?
How can I mentally declutter?
In what ways can I be more physically active?
How can my family better bond?
It is important to accept there will be an increase of stress and anxiety in the coming weeks. Instead of letting it become a runaway freight train that gains momentum, accept that everything is impermanent and this too shall pass. Remember in these times of uncertainty, a mental reset genuinely helps to reframe the story we tell ourselves. With this reframe comes the opportunity to clear our minds and to clear our eyes. How will you better lean into the uncertainty that has descended on us?
Thanks for reading.
Neila Steele & Andy Vasily