During this COVID-19 Pandemic time, I am finding it helpful to continue reading and listening to inspiring readings to help me return to a place of hope when anxiety flourishes. This past month’s reading/listening included some thinking about grief in new ways, some seminars on happiness, and a Chopra Meditation on hope. This blog captures some of the key things I took away. It’s helpful for me to clarify how to help myself return to hope when I start to feel anxious and uncertain!
The world of COVID-19 is filled with uncertainty; the unknown looms, from continued new insight into seriousness of the disease as well as what will life be like moving forward. Then there are the anxious feelings of waiting for something and not moving forward (when will the self-isolation end?), the sinfulness of unproductive days, the feeling of being alone with much more limited connections, and the anticipatory grief of what if scenarios: What will the economic impact mean for us? Will I know someone who dies? Will life (ever) return to normal – will we ever be able to do the things we love again?
The power of hope helps bring peace of mind in midst of all this uncertainty and anxiety. How does one tap into the power of hope? Here’s some ideas based on what I’ve been reading/listening to:
- Recognize that you and your body might need some different things right now. That said, still make sure you are getting the sleep you need, eating the right kinds of food (be careful of too much comfort food!), and keeping up with exercise (especially finding new ways to accomplish it).
- Be OK with the negative emotions, whether grief or guilt. It doesn’t matter if the loss is big or small, the emotion is real. Don’t berate yourself with the “Really, it’s not that bad – others have it much worse – why are you feeling down?” voice. It’s OK to feel bad some days.
- Recognize that the unknown is not the enemy. The world is constantly changing. Change drives growth! What areas can you work on during this time of semi-isolation? For me, one is working on being non-judgmental (especially of the folks I deem stupid in their reactions to the pandemic) and another is stopping the Compare & Despair (especially when I see others doing so much more with their own isolation time).
- Take time to make connections (in new ways!) to build your sense of belonging. Yes, I learned Zoom, did a ‘walk & talk’ via phone, and am texting or calling at least one person everyday now.
- Continue to practice gratitude. The more grateful you are, the more hopeful you’ll be. What love, joy, and beauty do I have in my life right now? What do I appreciate about today? Even in the midst of all the negative news, it is OK to be happy about a call with a friend, sunshine in the sunroom, spring flowers in bloom, on-line yoga, and time to explore new recipes.
- Practice compassion for others. Yes, I can be very judgmental. When I see people breaking the “pandemic” rules (on social media, in the store), my first reaction is I want them to experience the consequences of their actions! But everyone is worthy of compassion – even the rule-breakers – because you don’t know what their individual trauma might be. So now is a great time to meet every situation with kindness. Accept people are doing the best that they can – no judgment.
- Don’t look towards the future for contentment. Be content in this moment. Choose to live life now. Now is the only place things can happen: Not the past – that cannot be changed. Not the future – you don’t know what will unfold. Focus on today.
Regardless of the uncertainty, life unfolds. Even when I am feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I can pause and be aware of the love, beauty, and joy around me. Every day is a new day to make choices to engage in activities that support my life vision – active, connected, creative, contemplative. Even in this time of isolation, I can focus on the things (even the littlest of things) I can do/accomplish. I can make time every day for playfulness and joy. I can reach out and connect with others. I can explore new ways of doing things. I can live in the now. Today.
Walk your path one day at a time as the future unfolds.
Express love. See beauty. Experience joy.
Live in this moment.
I am alive. I am here.
Live in the Now
Not the Past. Not the Future.
So simple. Yet, also so difficult
In the face of so much uncertainty.
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