Together we can get through this…

Take a deep breath. Slowly exhale. Release. Renew.
Take a deep breath. Slowly exhale. Release. Renew.

It is impossible to panic when you breathe deeply and that’s what we need to do.
Not panic.

Two weeks ago, I had never heard the term “social distancing.” And as a hugger, keeping my distance from someone doesn’t come natural to me – as it doesn’t to most of you either. But in the past week, we have begun to really understand the threat COVID 19 poses to us all.

Our brains don’t like change…even slight change will wake up our critter brain and get it scrambling, but BIG change for an indefinite amount of time can get the critter brain in full on panic.

What will happen to us? What will happen to those we love? Will we survive this? What will happen to our jobs, our businesses, and our money?

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

I know this sounds trite. But… take a deep breath. Slowly exhale. Release. It is physiologically impossible to be anxious when you are breathing deeply.

Remember this threat is temporary. The experts are talking about having to engage in social distancing for weeks or months, not years or decades.

Take a deep breath. Slowly exhale. Release.

There is so much we can’t control and there are some things we can control. We have a choice in how we think… Panic starts to take over when we don’t pause long enough to make a choice. This is where the breathing comes in.

Stop. Take a deep breath. Slowly exhale. Release.

Acknowledge your fear. Pretending we are not afraid just makes matters worse. When we acknowledge our fears, we know we are being honest with ourselves and our critter brain says, “Thank you for recognizing me” so it stops jumping up and down. When we do this, we can better explore what frightens us the most, and often, we can come up with strategies and coping mechanisms to feel better.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

We can use technology. Social distancing does not need to become social isolation. We have technology at our fingertips to engage with others. Use FaceTime, GoTo Meeting, Skype, or Zoom to visit with family, work colleagues, and friends. My college roommates and I have done this for years – sharing our morning coffee across states in our jammies with no make-up on. Just like old times (old, old, old times 😉) We feel better when we feel connected to others. It helps us realize we are not alone – we will get through this TOGETHER.

We can engage in random acts of kindness. We can reach out to friends who are struggling and offer a sympathetic ear and support. We can reach out to people who are hit particularly hard. Think of all the businesses who rely on our social gatherings. Perhaps reach out and see what you can do to help their employees make it through this “pause” in our social culture.  What if, on a recurring basis, we all gave the “tips” we normally would give to our most frequented restaurants and nail salons to pass on to their employees?  When we help others, we feel better.

We can think about our faith. When we are in touch with our faith – and all the things that give us confidence that we’ll make it through uncertain times – we often move from feeling anxious to feeling a sense of calm and confidence. What do you have faith in?
List them out… you’ll see it will become your gratitude list.

• Faith in the strength of your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues?
• Faith in the resiliency of Americans?
• Faith in your marriage as a committed team to navigate any challenge that comes your way?
• Faith in medical science?
• Faith in the men and women on the front line in the hospitals?
• Faith in the smart people working around the globe to deal with this pandemic?
• Faith in your own gifts of resilience and persistence, intelligence and problem-solving abilities, or capacity to connect to others?
• Faith that history constantly reveals crisis, like all the ones before it, will pass and one day be a distant memory.
• Faith in God, that everything works together for good even when we don’t understand how in the moment?

Take a deep breath. Slowly exhale. Release. Renew.
Take a deep breath. Slowly exhale. Release. Renew.

If you feel you need to talk, please schedule a Breakthrough session with me (I have waived my reservation fee during this crisis.)

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