The bombardment of the media makes it almost impossible to pay attention to anything else except the very disturbing impact of the Covid-19. My clients, friends, and family have backed up claims of the CDC that stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of other chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs
Predictions of what may be coming gins up our anxiety and fears even more. Additionally, the curtailing of individual freedoms can be disorganizing and deeply frustrating. It is important to be aware of and address these behaviors and emotions.
I’m hearing from my clients, however, how many of them are trying to look for the gifts this time may be presenting them. Here’s what I am learning how many are trying to use this time in a positive way:
- Embracing just slowing down and being present in the moment.
- Taking long walks and savoring the gifts nature has to offer
- Being intentional about practicing new positive habits, replacing negative habits
- Getting better sleep, getting to bed earlier
- Limiting the time we expose ourselves to the media, being responsibly informed but not letting ourselves get overwhelmed or become obsessive
- Trying to eat more healthy foods
- Picking up an old hobby that gives us joy
- Really taking time to contemplate where you want to invest your lofe energies
- Better self-care
- Taking a step toward a career change by enrolling in a class
- Finding a way to volunteer for a cause about which you are passionate
- Taking the opportunity to be more conscious and intentional about interactions with our partner, immediate family, and children
- Setting a disciplined exercise routine
- Starting or finishing a project that has been too long ignored
- Making a concerted effort to stay in touch with extended family and friends
Creating these opportunities for growth provides hope in a troubled time. In the same vein, I can’t help but wonder what the opportunities for growth on a global level might be. The pandemic instills in us an even deeper level understanding of just how interdependent we are globally. The biggest issues we face, climate, economic, our health, and the health of the planet, are not just our issues but issues of the entire planet. Integrating this new experience into our understanding of the world brings what the contemplatives call “metanoia” or a bigger mind awareness. I’m hopeful this new awareness will continue to bring more compassion and understanding in mobilizing global cooperation long after the immediate crises is over.