The last two months have been extraordinary and trying times for many of us. Among the many social media posts on the topic of COVID-19, there was an especially profound metaphor for the current situation we find ourselves in. In it, the author (attributed to Damian Barr) stated “We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.” This imagery creates the idea that we’re all in rough seas, but the tools we have at our disposal can vary greatly. Some may be in life rafts while others are on super yachts. The seasickness may be real for us all, but some are coping well while others are struggling to survive. This poem speaks empathetic ally and passionately about being there for each other, and seeing other points of view, through incredibly challenging times.
So how do we support each other? How do we truly listen? How do we take care of our families? How do we take care of ourselves? Here are a few tips we’ve devised over the last two months living under a ‘new normal’:
1) Reach out to family and friends:
In a time when we cannot be the social beings that we’re accustomed to being, seeing and spending time with family and friends in person, we need to now look to other means, other approaches to be connected. Fortunately, we live in an age of incredible technology and communication. The internet, the smartphone, and the software available to us enables us to connect virtually to those we love, and to seek help from our homes when we need it. Whether it be FaceTime, Zoom (now free for personal use), Teams, Hangouts, Webex, Facebook, text message, or the old fashioned phone call, we can connect when we want to. It may not be ideal, but make an effort to reach out. Do you have a friend who lives alone? Perhaps a cousin working in a hospital caring for sick patients? Check in with them. Set a routine and follow up every few days, even if only for a few minutes. In the process you’ll help their mental well-being as well as yours.
2) Recognize that which you can change, and that which you cannot:
Stay-at-home orders. Small business closures. Unemployment over 20M people. These are real, challenging, negative outcomes of approaches to fight a dangerous virus. We all need to adapt to the reality of the current situation. But there are things we can do to cope. First, start with a reflection of what is most important to you. Did you love going out to eat, or miss going for your daily workout with your personal trainer? In the future, we’ll get back to those routines. In the meantime, look for alternatives to the routines you once had. Perhaps ask Alexa for a new recipe to cook, or challenge your house-mates to a workout competition running the stairs or across your backyard. If you have little ones like I do, turn them into living, breathing workout weights!
Second, reflect not on what you’ve lost, but what you’ve gained. Were you putting off that home improvement project? Did you have a book you wanted to read that was collecting dust? Or maybe you felt you weren’t spending enough time with your family members? Now’s the time to take advantage of the new schedule and routine and put that time to good use. Sometimes when a door closes, even for a little while, a few windows do open.
3) If you’re anxious, depressed, lonely, or in need, seek professional help:
Sometimes, we need support to get through challenges and navigate the emotions we’re feeling. That’s healthy and normal. We recommend asking yourself a few questions to determine if you should seek professional support. And if in doubt, reach out.
- Am I more worried about health, money, my future, or life in general than I used to be?
- Do I find myself more sad, more tired, or lacking motivation than before covid?
- Am I looking for tools and techniques to cope?
- Do I want someone to listen to me, to hear my fears and concerns, and help prepare approaches to help me though this time?
At Inner Clarity, we are here to help. We put our clients first, and will discuss your presenting conditions with you before determining an appropriate path forward. We work to match you with the right therapist for you, and take a mindful approach to treatment. We assess outcomes and work within the standards of our profession to bring you results. We believe in living A Clear Mind for a Healthy Life.
Together, we strive to “Find your Inner Clarity.”