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The COVID-19 pandemic has taken all of us a bit by surprise. It has also made new talking point terms part of our daily vocabulary; phrases like “social-distancing,” “self-isolating,” “shelter-in-place,” quarantining and other “stay home” directives, are now part of our daily dialogue.
Life as we knew it, just even a few weeks ago, has changed so dramatically and exponentially, that it hardly seems real.
It feels like we are living in a futuristic science fiction movie rather than real life.
JEANNIE CUNNION: CORONAVIRUS – LESSONS FROM A MOM OF 5 ABOUT PARENTING IN A PANDEMIC
As a psychotherapist, I understand that the fears about getting the coronavirus are strongly aligned with concerns about feeling lonely, isolated, disconnected or separated from loved ones.
As Americans, we are not used to having our personal freedoms restricted -- even if it is for the greater good and protection of so many.
I realize it’s easy to get caught up in the losses and limitations of the moment. That is why it’s especially important to not allow our fears, panic, and anxieties get the best of us.
These emotions, although understandable, can blind us to the gifts this challenging time can offer us.
Adversity can produce greatness. Did you know that both the Empire State Building and Golden Gate Bridge were built during the Great Depression?
During a recent "Daily Briefing" segment with Dana Perino on FeedLine.net, I was asked to address how we can collectively deal best with our coronavirus fears.
How can we summon our inner resilience and self-soothing skills during a time of such high anxiety?
I am experiencing this new reality right along with everyone else and have collected some tips and observations along the way that I want to share with you.
I have also discovered some helpful strategies to navigate through these unprecedented and chaotic times.
Understand This Isolation/Quarantine is Only Temporary
First, understand that this pandemic will pass. It will not last forever. It’s important to guard your mental health and well-being during this time.
Stick to a regular schedule: eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep.
Ask yourself these questions: “How can I make this experience a meaningful and powerful one? How can I make this a great, even memorable experience?”
We are all in this together. And we will get through this. So, let’s make the most of it until it's over.
Tap into those mental superpowers of yours. We all possess them.
Find Activities That Bring You Joy
Just because we are social distancing and sheltering in place doesn’t mean you can’t engage in activities that bring you joy.
While we are still adjusting to this new normal, we have the perfect opportunity to try something new.
There could be a project we might have been too busy to pursue that can now get our attention.
We can return to an old hobby that got lost along the way, take a new class online or cook that tasty, complex recipe.
I encourage uou to engage in activities that stimulate your mind and help you to feel more alive and productive.
Now more than ever is the ideal time to activate your inner creativity.
Stay Emotionally Connected with Those You Love
For those who live alone, it’s vital to stay emotionally connected to the people you love.
Use this time to reconnect with lost or old friends.
Try a virtual cocktail party via the many video chat options available.
It’s such a great way to stay updated and connected with both family and friends.
Explore Alternative Career Paths
Sheltering in place is also the perfect time to explore alternative career paths that you have been contemplating.
Perhaps it’s time to write more: start that blog or begin to write that book.
Maybe it’s time to learn a new language or virtually explore topics that have always interested you.
Everyone has a gift. Now is the time to use yours and share it.
When we think from a construct of giving and using our talents to give back to the community, especially during this extraordinary time, it’s amazing how helpful this can be to our overall feeling of mental well-being.
Appreciate the Opportunity to be with Family
If you are at home with your family, this is a nice time for family appreciation moments via family dinners, family game nights, family chats, or family sharing.
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Now more than ever, it’s important to take responsibility for the emotional energy we put out there.
Emotions are contagious. This is the time to be together as well as to respect each other's space.
It's an ideal time to learn new ways to effectively communicate and to experiment with various and helpful communication styles.
Look for the gifts this new chapter in life is offering you and try to appreciate living in the moment.
There is always more to learn about the people we love and live with. Create new activities and new norms together.
Find support groups online if you’d like some additional help and encouragement.
Encourage your kids/students to socialize online
For the kids (students) who are struggling while sheltering in, separated from their friends and traditional socializing, encourage them to socialize on-line.
Let them know this is a unique time in history when kids get to give back to the community by staying home.
Remind them that staying home does not equal staying alone. They can still enjoy quality interpersonal interactions. There are online clubs, groups, and classes that can fill this temporary gap until life returns to normal.
This is a defining and patriotic moment for their generation that will make them stronger not only individually but collectively.
You are Stronger Than You Think You Are
Tough times can bring out our inner resiliency and creativity.
Meet the day by staying well, staying strong and staying home!!!!
You’ve got this!
The lightning all but snatches away their sight; every time the light (Helps) them, they walk therein, and when the darkness grows on them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could take away their faculty of hearing and seeing; for Allah hath power over all things. (The Cow 20 )