A recent blog post by Dr. Chris Germer, of the Center for Mindful Self Compassion, is both reassuring and uplifting in the face of the uncertainty posed by the the COVID-19 pandemic. It is natural to feel worry, fear, and concern as we navigate the ebb and flow of constantly changing information and disruption to regular routines. The virus is forcing us to leave our comfort zones of day-to-day work, school, and predictable plans. Germer offers practical steps we can each take to practice mindful, compassionate awareness during this challenging time. You can read the full blog post here.
In the meantime, let me offer you what I see as some of the potential silver linings that may result from this global event, as well as some practical wisdom and tips for dealing with the new routines imposed by social distancing or isolation.
Here are a few I am thinking about:
1. Evaluate what really matters in terms of how you spend time. You can distract yourself with social feeds, or escape into Netflix, but what about creative or household projects you have been putting off?
2. Reinvigorate the art of conversation. Pick up the phone and and call your loved ones. Engage your children in discussions about their interests. Encourage the sharing of feelings and talk about how to reassure and comfort each other. Don’t forget to have some fun!
3. Engage in rigorous self-care – rest, nutrition, loving exercise, and mindful awareness. The virus is demanding that we all pay attention to keeping our immune systems healthy and strong
4. Lean into positive digital skills, and become more adept at using communication technology like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype – and using these tools for their highest purpose — to connect us in meaningful ways.
5. Increase and expand compassionate practice to recognize our common humanity as we face this crisis together. We can give that practice “legs” by offering practical help to neighbours, friends, and those whose circumstances are more difficult than our own.
6. Use the found time resulting from cancellations to embrace the activities that are meaningful and really matter — based on core values. For me, these are deepening relationships, nature, creative expression and BOOKS 🙂
7. Give yourself full #permissiontopause and reflect. Do not fear deep inner work, instead take this opportunity to learn more about yourself, including the aspects that are anxious and fearful.
8. Find creative ways to stay in touch and maintain personal and professional connections while usual routines are interrupted. We may build new bridges to clients, colleagues, friends and family in this way.
9. Create new, peaceful, perhaps slower and more intentional routines that are adapted to the circumstances. These may stick, offering you new insights into an ongoing lifestyle that includes more ease and flow.
10. TRUST the ebb and flow of changing circumstances and corresponding thoughts and feelings that emerge ❤️ This is a chance to grow and truly put our loving wisdom into practice.
At the end of his blog, Germer asks the following: “What kind of world do we want to create as we navigate through global challenges like Covid-19? Will our hearts expand or contract as they bump into each new challenge? A global commitment to living compassionately can make all the difference and self-compassion seems like an excellent way to start.” I agree. Let’s start.
If you need support during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out.