We all experience periods of darkness, none are immune to the intensity some feelings carry. Allow yourself to feel this way, sit and observe, notice, and tell yourself. ” feelings are only temporary”, It is when we try to ignore or deny our feelings, that issues begin to arise.
Experiencing a global pandemic may bring up all sorts of emotions… Fear, uncertainty, anxiety and lack of control are all okay. No matter what you “feel”, that feeling is valid and okay.
When you feel that you are surrounded by darkness, remember there is always light. We all carry a light inside, on some days it may feel dim, but its always burning. Light can be found during these times in simple and subtle ways, this light is the good. Sometimes you have to search, but it’s there. This light is found along the volunteers, picking up groceries and medications for the elderly so they can stay safe. It’s found in the families who are now together for more than just a weekend. The parents who are learning a new system of education beside their children, expressing gratitude for the technology making this possible and feeling a deeper level of appreciation for their teachers and schools.
Women are using their talent of sewing to volunteer time and make masks for their community, giving them a sense of purpose and fulfillment in helping others. Without darkness, our grocery store workers did not receive the praise they deserve for keeping our shelves stocked, the truck drivers were taken for granted. These people are essential because without them we would not have the privilege to shop or buy food thats conveniently organized and readily available. We are able to see the passion behind our fellow doctors and nurses as they work so tirelessly to care for their patients. We see the good in people coming out and glowing amongst the dark. We are mindful of how our actions affect others around us so we stay at home to stop the spread. We care about others… And not just ourselves. Our daily agendas have been placed on hold for a greater good. So yes, there is lots of panic and scare, but there’s also lots of light and gratitude if you search.
Observe your thoughts going through this, notice where your mind is starting to take you. Catch those thoughts and challenge them. Ask yourself questions like, “Is this true, do I have evidence to support this?, “What would I say to a friend who just said this about/to him/herself?” or “Is this thought based on logic or fact?”. — You are not your thoughts, you’re just the one who hears them.
Feel your feelings: You are not wrong or “bad” for feeling a certain way – You cannot control how a situation or event makes you feel. You can only control how you choose to respond. So, don’t judge yourself for not feeling like the best version of you right now, don’t criticize yourself for not bouncing right back… You are allowed to have bad days. So, do allow yourself to go through all of these emotions, do cry, do scream into a pillow and do reach out to a friend when you have a heavy load. We have a biological “need’ for human interaction and connection. Call, text, email or facetime… are all acceptable ways of keeping in touch.
Anxiety is a word used a lot today, anxiety is intense and real. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, pause… and focus on your breath, this can be done anywhere and at any time and works wonders on calming our nervous systems plus, it’s easy.
Simply breathe in for a count of 5, and breathe out for a count of 7. Try this for three minutes and see if you feel a difference. Listen to calming music, sit with your food and enjoy the taste, turn the news off and plan a routine you can establish for your day. Structure works wonders. Use your anxiety… Anxiety means “high energy”- that’s a positive! Find ways to release that energy into something productive, like writing or cleaning, art, gardening… I could go on but you get what I’m saying.
Remember, there is always light after darkness. Light comes in many different forms, but each form is a tiny spark that shines hope. When the light is hard to find, this just means to search a little deeper, it will always be found.