We are all living in a situation that is so uncertain, and one we’ve not truly experienced before. The most recent pandemic occurred in, was it 2009? I don’t remember it being anything like this struggle with COVID-19. I hope you are staying safe and taking steps to protect your health.
This is a time when you’re likely to be more stressed than usual. Having to stay home is stressful for many, and may also cause financial issues. In addition, you may be having catastrophic thoughts, worrying about all that might happen.
So skills can help. Mindfulness is a big one for me. Remember that mindfulness is paying attention in the present moment, on purpose and non-judgmentally (according to Kabat-Zinn). So, what is true, right now, for you? Are you healthy? Do you have food to eat? Right now, in this moment, are your loved ones safe? If they are sick, are they being cared for?
Worrying about what might happen, in an unproductive way, makes everything worse and it doesn’t help. Unproductive worrying means you aren’t planning or problem-solving—it’s more like ruminating. So, bringing yourself back to what is real, right now, can help you to calm and ground yourself.
Uncertainty is difficult. We don’t know what might happen tomorrow. Being mindful means being wise, so being mindful of what you might need at home is part of mindfulness. Being mindful of what steps you can take to stay healthy is effective. That’s different from catastrophic thinking about all that could go wrong.
So, practice mindfulness. Remember to soothe yourself. Look for what might be helpful, such as the opportunity to spend more time with family or the opportunity to have more time to do things you wanted to do.
Maybe there will be meaning that comes out of this. Maybe we will learn to work together and support each other. Like what happened in Italy in this youtube video:
Stay well and live a skill-full life. Karyn Hall, Ph.D. May 1. 2020