Updated: Aug 12, 2020
Right now, we are facing unfamiliar and uncertain territory around the world. Everyone is feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Children are homeschooling while their parents are working from home. Medical workers are on the front line risking their lives to care for the affected and those with illnesses and injuries before the outbreak even began. Many people are advised to #stayhome and avoid physical contact with other people. People are dying. The economy is suffering. Unemployment is at an all-time high and the Stock Market is at an all-time low. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are living with the fear that comes from uncertainty. Social distancing has become a new norm. With so much going on, there's no wonder people are experiencing anxiety, fear, uneasiness, uncertainty, discomfort, anger, depression, and stress. Everyone is dealing with so many different emotions and sensations. Every time we turn on the news or social media, we're faced with the increasing number of those affected and the fact that It seems like its getting closer and closer to home. No one is exempt. Regardless of your race, age, economic status, gender or religion, we are all affected by this.
While we can't control the things that are happening around us, we can control how we respond to it. I thought personally as a child of The Most High, someone who is saved that I had to put on this brave face and showcase this hopeful and optimistic outlook on it all. I thought despite everything going on around me and inside of me, that I had to pretend that I was ok and that I wasn't fearful or concerned. I was in denial about what I was feeling because I thought that fear and faith does not co-exist. It's not until I heard a video from Devon Franklin titled "No fake Faith and No hollow Hope, that gave me a different perspective allowed me to admit how I felt.
I've included the video but in a nutshell, Devon tells us that "Too often in times that are unknown, unprecedented, unprayed for and unplanned we have the tendency to try to just reach for the hope and reach for the faith without allowing that hope and faith to have a foundation of honesty and truth" He then goes to say "It is okay to admit...Yo, this is scary, this is different, I’m a little uneasy. It's okay to acknowledge those feelings and then make the choice to be hopeful and then make the choice to have faith. Then your faith is rooted and grounded in truth and honesty. Please do not think at this moment that you have to be in denial about how you feel..."
Many of us are in denial of what we are feeling. We haven't given ourselves permission to "be in it for a minute" and acknowledge those feelings of uncertainty and uneasiness. Just with any other emotion, we encounter, its only effective when we find the lesson in them, work through them and not try to bury, deny or go around them. The important thing is to allow yourself to feel what is really going on inside of you and then choose to be hopeful and choose a positive way to respond to it. Below are some effective ways and resources to help you cope with everything going on around you while still staying productive and hopeful.
(Resources at bottom of page)
1. Connect with others:
Remember this is a time to insulate yourself not isolate yourself.
Isolate means to cause (a person or place) to be or remain alone or apart from others.
It's important to remember that even though we are advised to stay away from others during this time, it doesn't mean you have to isolate yourself. You are not alone or apart from others. Find an online/virtual community that you can be apart of everyday. Whether it's a Zoom meeting with friends, family or colleagues or a group call or chat. Stay connected to those who give you hope and those who keep your mind on more uplifting and inspiring things.
Insulate means to protect (something) by interposing material that prevents the loss of heat or the intrusion of sound.
When you insulate yourself be sure to protect yourself by staying connected with others so that you don't lose your fire, so you don't lose that heat in your soul, and that burning desire to keep going. When you insulate yourself be sure to quiet the sounds of despair and hopelessness that can intrude your inner peace. This may include listening to motivational videos each morning you awake and before you go to bed. Also laughing is a great way to cope with what is going on. Look at funny Youtube videos or stand up comedies to keep you in good vibes.
2. Developing your Self-Awareness
To be self-aware is to have conscious knowledge and sharp realization of your character and personality, strengths, weaknesses, emotions, motives, thoughts, beliefs, and desires. Use this time to be objective in discovering who you really are. Although difficult it can also be rewarding as this allows you to accept who you are and make the necessary changes to grow. Reflection questions that force you to go within is a great way to start. Self-reflection is most effective when you use a journal and write down your thoughts. It’s also best to find a quiet place to contemplate.
3. Meditation and Mindfulness
According to Deepak Chopra meditation is the progressive silencing of the thought process until you get to the source of thought.
Meditation not only allows you to get in touch with your true essence of who you are but also decreases anxiety, depression and stress while increasing your memory, self-awareness, and helping you gain clarity. Oprah & Deepak host 21 Day Meditation Experiences throughout the year. Their latest experience is titled Hope in Uncertain Times. This daily mediation will help you to find peace of mind in the midst of turmoil, and help our global community find hope and optimism. There are also thought-provoking journal questions that will bring you self-awareness.
Mindfulness is important because it brings your awareness to the present moment. The present moment is the only truth there is. You tap into what you are feeling at this moment and what you are thinking at this moment. Spending too much time planning, problem-solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or random thoughts can be draining.
Here are a few mindfulness exercises you can do right now: https://psychcentral.com/blog/1-minute-mindfulness-exercises/
4. Meticulous Goal Setting and Unfinished Projects
Use this time to set meticulous well-planned goals for yourself. Remember you are in a cocoon not a coffin. You are in the midst of transformation during this time. How you came in will not be how you come out. Life will still go on after all of this is over. Setting goals give you a reason to wake up every morning. Setting goals give you a reason to remain hopeful of your future. A great way to set goals is by using the S.M.A.R.T. technique. These are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound. When you set SMART goals, you have a better chance of achieving them. What goals can you set and achieve while you're at home?
Think of all the unfinished projects you never had time to complete. Remember that book you were supposed to write or that online course you wanted to create? Now's a great time to revisit things you put on the shelf due to time management. You can also use this time to declutter your space including the closets, garage, basement and attic.
5. Create a daily routine
Creating a daily routine can help with your mental health during this time. Routines can help you cope with change, form healthy habits and reduce stress. By this being a stressful time within itself, finding ways to reduce your stress levels in regards to day-to-day activities is very imperative. Routine can take the uncertainty out of your day as well as help you make room for all that's important. Having a routine can help you to cultivate positive daily habits and to prioritize self-care. This is extremely important to you if you are a parent with children at home. Children secretly love structure so providing them a routine each day that incorporates school work, family time, chores and importantly sleep will help you tremendously! Don't forget to add sleep in your daily routine too.
During this "stand still" it is very easy to create unhealthy habits. Eating unhealthy and inactivity are a few of those habits that come to mind. In addition to controlling your weight, exercise can also help prevent health problems and concerns such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, arthritis, heart disease, strokes and many forms of cancers. Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious. Exercises boost your energy and your confidence. It also delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores
7. Stay Home and off of social media
Just like many people, social media has become a place of entertainment. We spend hours browsing social media sites, becoming lost in a barrage of information from family, friends and strangers. This can become a distraction. While some people use social media as a place to stay informed, please keep in mind there is a lot of misinformation and propaganda floating around social media that can cause anxiety and misdirected fear. Limiting your access to social media can prevent an influx of negative and nervous energy. Tuning in to the news can have the same effect. It's okay to want to stay informed about what is happening but remember, the information you take in can affect your thoughts, emotions and actions in a negative or positive way. Be mindful of what you are feeding your spirit during this time. Choose things that give you hope and not despair.
In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra shares with us The Law of Detachment. He explains that "In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty...in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe."
In order to acquire peace of mind during this time, you may have to relinquish your attachment to the outcome. The truth of the matter is these are unprecedented and uncertain times. However, everything happens in Divine Order. Trust that things are working for your Highest Good, no matter how it seems. The universe is replenishing itself; take this time to replenish yourself as well. Know that when you emerge from this like a caterpillar emerging into a butterfly, you will finally realize why your Higher Power had to insulate you. Books will come from this, meticulous and sustainable business plans will come from this, deeper bonds will come from this, rest and stillness will come from this, healing will come from this, well planned and SMART personal, financial, spiritual and interpersonal goals will come from this, strength and survival will come from this, a deeper relationship with Divine Creator will come from this!! A new YOU will come from this because you will grow and develop a different outlook on L.I.F.E. (Living in Full Excellence). The best is yet to come love.