10 Ways to Cope with COVID

Andy Stanley, author, and speaker, recently said that “Fear turns us into fortune-tellers.” Every night we tune into the press conference to hear Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci tell us what we can expect. We send messages to each other, saying, “I heard that all of this should be over by May 15.” Or we shake our heads grimly and say, “I don’t know how long, but I think this is going to go on for a while.” 

The simple fact is that we don’t know. 

And it’s our fear that compels us to forecast what will happen. It’s much more comforting to know what’s up next. 

Knowing what’s next makes us feel confident and secure.

The teacher, the doctor, even the guy leading the spin class tells us what to expect. When we know what to expect, we can relax in the present moment. But in these times, we don’t know what’s coming, so we are unable to relax.

Pervasive and corroding, fear slithers in like a snake and weaves its way into the fabric of our everyday lives.  

You may be thinking that’s not true for you. Sometimes fear manifests as depression, procrastination, controlling, overeating, oversleeping, over- drinking, overthinking, overworking, over everything. Any of that sound familiar?

We fight off fear through action, cleaning the house, de-cluttering the closets, taking control over our kid’s digital learning, or becoming the chief controller over the book club’s new Zoom meeting. We try all manner of things to avoid facing the fear of uncertainty.  

It’s ok.  

Everyone across the entire globe is experiencing this pandemic as a trauma, which is defined as a “deeply distressing or disturbing event.”  

How can we cope while moving through this trauma:

1.Connect with your community.

  • We can practice social distancing while also connecting. I have three communities that I stay connected to, my book club, my church group, and my yoga group. I check in with them daily.  

2. Face the facts.

  • Step out of the “everything is fine” bubble and honor your emotions as they come up. Invite them in, hold some space for them to express themselves. Then let them pass.  

3. Move your body.

  • Moderate exercise for an extended amount of time can release endorphins that will make you feel better. Dance, run, walk the dog, ride your bike, get on the mat and flow. Just move. 

4. Listen to what you need.

  • If you need to rest, then take a nap. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re lonely, call a friend. Take care of your basic needs.  

5. Stay away from alcohol.

  • Sure it may be helpful at the moment, but it’s just masking the fear that we all need to process and release.

6. Find a routine.

  • In my house, we are finding our rhythm. Maybe it’s the same as it was pre-COVID. Ours isn’t. And that’s ok too.

7. Fix the little things. 

One of my friends called me the other day. Her client called and needed something that would take about 20 min of concentrated time from her but her toddler requires every bit of her attention. Her stress blocked her from seeing a solution. I suggested that she put her toddler in front of the TV just long enough to send the client what they needed.  

  • Take the 20 min to do the little things. It will make some room in your head and relieve some of those small stressors.  

8. Take stock.

  • Focus your energy on what you do have and practice some gratitude.

9. Meditate.

 A lot of us think that we can’t meditate because we can’t sit still for an hour or 10 min. Let me clear up a common misconception. Meditation is NOT the absence of thought. Our minds are full of thoughts. Meditation teaches us to become observers of our thoughts. Like everything, it takes practice.  

  • Here’s a simple way to start: Light a birthday candle and watch it burn down. It takes about three minutes. Watch the flame. BOOM. You’ve meditated for three minutes.  

10. Pray.

  • Talk to something bigger than you. It doesn’t have to be the religious god. It can be the Universe, Mother Nature, “Good Orderly Direction.” I don’t care what you call it, but tell It what’s troubling you. Practice some humility and ask It for peace.  

Vacations are great. But don’t take a trip into the future. Try to stay in today, notice, observe, and be here now.  

Just for Today

I will catch myself when I start fortune-telling. I’ll bring my focus back into today.

Prayer

Creative Intelligence, help me trust in your divine order. Grant me peace and take away my fear.  

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