You’ve read the international news, heard countries closing borders or schools shutting down, and seen the markets plummet. The covid-19 has been brewing for a few months in the media, and, nowadays, it reached the stage of an administrative and social tension.
I’m not a financial expert or an epidemiologist, but I am a coach and a therapist in training. As such, I want to bring my contribution to our psycho-emotional wellbeing during this time.
Below are three essential aspects to help go through the global tension in the best way possible.
#1. Pleasurable immediate environments soothe.
The global turmoil impacts everyone. Through our nervous systems, we pick up what is going on around us and to those of our kind. Also, our entire system (so mental, emotional & physiological) formulates a response. Meaning we “adapt” to the information our system picks up from our surroundings.
Tension, agitation, stress, and worry overcharge our nervous systems, tip emotional dispositions towards the negative spectrum, and, in time, push our bodies to secrete increasing quantities of cortisol.
That’s the hormone that shuts down our immune system and directs all our energy, as well as fires up our adrenals, to make us jump out of danger’s path. Except that our fight, flight, or freeze reactions can’t help us fight a virus. Have you ever seen a tiger fight a virus or bacteria? I didn’t think so.
As much as we’d like to dissociate from the collective atmosphere, we’re not wired to shut down from others in the long run. And we can’t fight disease with a weak immune system. As social beings, we have to tune in and live together.
Therefore, amid tense times, pleasurable immediate environments can keep us functional & resourceful.
We need to relax our systems, turn down the secretion of cortisol, and increase the release of oxytocin. From that inner state, we make wise decisions and orient ourselves better.
As such, our homes are our bastion of wellbeing. It might be a wise approach to make them extra soothing: add a plant, make sure we keep fresh aired rooms, seek more healthy nourishing, and hydrating foods, and make sure we have pleasant acoustics.
News anchors, TV reportages, or radio news might be less ideal background sounds for our homes these days. Also, too high sugar intakes aren’t an inspired choice either. We might want to limit them or orient ourselves to better and healthier selections for our environment.
#2. Close relationships impact our psycho-emotional states.
Immediate or intimate relationships (love, family, or very dear friendships) are vital for us in times of challenge.
I cannot stress enough that we aren’t designed to be hermits. Unless we’d be in the tiny percent of the human population, that is naturally recluse, most of us need social connection and support.
During times of tension, our closest relationships, the ones we experience daily, can be our psycho-emotional breath of fresh air.
Though it’s a wise approach to foster healthy relationships at any time, it’s all the more critical during challenging or uncertain times.
So call more often. Listen a minute longer before speaking. And make efforts to be present in your interactions – meaning put phones down when you’re with someone.
Stay connected with your cherished ones through as many senses as possible – let technology be only the hook for more physical time spent together.
Also, make it a priority to stay positive and light in your relationships. Filter out any heavy or negative influences these days. Leave arguments and tensions for other times, if possible. Let your loved ones know you need (and they too, for that matter) a more supportive or helpful atmosphere. In case you already have it, acknowledge them for the high-quality rapport you share.
And, as painful as it may be, release or put a pause on tense relationships. Let those people know you need time for yourself and inner work. And you’ll get back to them once you feel stronger and more composed. Invite them to do the same. Show courtesy to these people, for the simple & undeniable fact they’re human too.
#3. Routines & practices are well-being building blocks.
When you go to any health care specialist, aside from working on your biochemistry, they will encourage you to have supporting routines.
I’m talking about any physical routines to keep the body moving and flexible, as well as the mind and emotions grounded and stable.
That would be a PMA – positive mental attitude. The building blocks of a PMA are workouts, stretches, and recovery practices, as well as inner contemplations & grounding practices.
Because we can’t dissociate from our surroundings for too long, the key is to build a regular, sustainable routine for our bodies, emotions, and psyche. At-home workouts or retreats, as well as wellbeing routines, online gyms, online support groups, and online classes for personal development, might be viable options.
Also, a cleaner daily allowance of media entertainment might help us to maintain our positive mental attitude better. I’d suggest here documentaries related to health, psychological and emotional balancing, nature, or even about spiritual pursuits. Also, guided focusing practices are excellent tools to dive in deeper. I’m almost sure most of us have heard at least one guided focusing audio in our lives.
If you want to maintain a clear mind and a grounded psycho-emotional state, this is what I would advise anyone (including myself) to seek.
So, to recap, my suggestions for supporting our positive mental attitudes are:
#1. Pleasurable environments
#2. Positive immediate relationships
#3. Supportive routines & practices
I hope you stay as grounded as you can. And I hope you apply any concrete tools that help your positive attitude.