How can we create mindful intention around how we relate to ourselves and one another as the days pass by? How do we move through feelings of helplessness, anxiety, fear, and loss?
1. Accept Uncertainty
We wake up every morning, and it’s likely there will be an alarming headline, news that another person you know has been impacted by coronavirus, or new, unexpected challenges. Since it’s a basic function of our brain to plan and predict, this can cause anxiety. You might not know what the future holds—or even what is happening now—but you can find ground.
2. Do a Compassionate Check-In with Yourself
When faced with a crisis, it is easy to get irritable, depressed, self-critical, or anxious. Doing a mindful check-in can help curb unconscious tendencies to take everything you might be feeling out on others.
First: Recognize. At any moment when you can intentionally recognize what’s going on inside of you—the thoughts or feelings you are having—begin to step back and observe it. Giving yourself that space can help to broaden your perspective.
Allow. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, softening into the experience without fighting or wishing it were different. Letting ourselves really experience our emotions helps us to become unstuck and more flexible.
Investigate. Begin to investigate those emotions. Become curious and nonjudgmental about what is present. Why are you feeling this way? What does it feel like? Hold your emotions with kindness only.
Nurture. To nurture ourselves, we must turn toward tenderness to soothe and downregulate our nervous system’s threat response. We can tend to our needs from a caring place, see things more clearly, and feel calmer.
3. Have a Daily Gratitude Practice
Find things to be grateful for—even the smallest things. Acknowledge the ways that you and your family are safe and secure in this present moment. Cultivating a regular, moment-to-moment gratitude practice can increase a positive perspective and resilience toward hard circumstances.
4. Create Rituals of Connection
It’s playing a game together, calling a loved one every day, taking a walk together, preparing a meal. These rituals can give us a distinct sense of meaning when we are intentional about them. Not every moment of the day needs to be focused on one another, but you can notice the difference when you carve out the time. If you live alone, FaceTime, a Zoom call, or a phone call with a loved one can also be a way to create a ritual of connection with another person.
5. Set Boundaries, Set Intentions, and Take Needed Space
It’s important to be able to create some boundaries around your time—especially if you’re working from home—and to set some internal personal space.
If you are feeling calm and grounded, ask yourself: What can you do to ease tensions around the household? Especially in terms of offering support to your children or partner. Giving our feelings of anxiety and sadness recognition can reduce feelings of alienation and isolation. It is key to offer emotional support and availability without an agenda other than to attune to and connect with the other person.
6. Practice Fondness and Respect for One Another
Express your appreciation out loud. Thanking one another and offering expressions of authentic respect can go a long way in creating an atmosphere of civility, respect, and kindness.
7. Stay Connected
Take time to reach out to loved ones and friends, especially those who are living alone or may be feeling especially vulnerable. This time of social and physical isolation can be an opportunity to get clear on the relationships that really matter to you. If you don’t have time for a phone call or Zoom, texting or social media is also another way to stay engaged. The quality of our relationships very much determines the quality of our lives, and feeling emotionally connected and supported can be powerful in this time of uncertainty.