After three years of living mostly in physical isolation, I’ve learned a fair amount about this way of doing life. As such I figured I’d put out some resources over the coming days to share some of what I’ve learned.
Tool #1 – Rhythm, Ritual and Rest
*Create rhythms to your day, marked by when you wake and sleep and when you eat. Try to keep these consistent.
*Create rituals within your day – things you do the same each day at the same time. These rituals provide comfort to us and a way to remember that we are still okay.
*Rest when you can – from the burden of things you can’t control; from the noise of panic and fear; from the physical strain of trying to do too much. Whenever possible, rest BEFORE you become exhausted.
Tool #2: Be Intentional
We don’t do well as humans when we feel at loose ends. We thrive on purpose and meaning and that that’s why we need to be intentional!
*Be intentional about MOVING your body.
*Be intentional about CREATING something.
*Be intentional about CONNECTING with others via virtual coffee dates, text messages, phone calls or other methods.
*Be intentional about the OPPORTUNITIES you might have to do things you’ve wanted to do for years.
Tool #3: Get Honest
If you want to make positive change – whether around addiction, parenting, gender and sexuality, your partner relationships or a pandemic of global proportions the first step is to get honest!
*Get honest about your body: learn to listen to its cues for sleep, hydration, food, movement, and stress management.
*Get honest about your emotions: use a journal, talk to a friend or yell at the sky.
*Get honest about what you need: practice communicating with yourself and with friends and family what you need, whether it is time on your own, time outside, help getting groceries or therapy.
*Get honest about what it will take: maybe you need to rearrange rooms to give yourself a private place to be, rearrange the budget from commuting costs to therapy costs or rearrange your schedule to take more time to connect.
Tool #4: Take Agency
One of the best ways to avoid the sense of helplessness that can lead to trauma is to take agency.
Take agency over your schedule – how you carve up your day and what things you choose to prioritize.
Take agency over your food choices – to make sure your body has the healthy nutrients it needs to fight off disease.
Take agency over your inputs – use block features on social media, choose music to listen to that improves your mood, connect with friends and family who are supportive and caring.
Take agency over what you CAN control – and don’t just do this for yourself, but use this opportunity to teach your children as well. For instance, instead of forcing them to do worksheets at home, what is something they are completely fascinated by or that they’ve always wanted to learn about or learn how to do?
Tool #5: Find Purpose
It’s incredible to me how deeply ingrained our need for purpose and meaning – our need to make a difference is – to us as humans. So it should come as no surprise that even if work is cancelled or school is shut, we still need to find a way to bring purpose into our daily lives.
*Evaluate your strengths, skills, abilities and resources – what do you have to offer?
*Look beyond yourself – what do others need?
*Use what you have to support those around you.
And of course, consider not only how you can do this for yourself, but how can you teach these skills and thought processes to your children and teens?
Tool #6: Lean Into Love
There’s a lot of fear sloshing around right now – I know I’ve had my moments! – but knowing what to do when we catch ourselves afraid is harder. That’s where our final tool comes in – Lean Into Love!
*Take a deep breath to find patience
*Appreciate the other person’s perspective
*Choose compassion and generosity
*Keep your promises to your people whenever possible
*Take time to listen to each other
*Trust each other
*Show up for one another with support,
hope and loyalty