This is the time to work on keeping ourselves strong and healthy. When we are under pressure our Window of Tolerance (an optimal zone of our tolerance to stress) shrinks. Additional struggles, family disfunction and past traumas, even more, reduce the ability to deal with life challenges and we need to introduce even more of self care strategies. Many of us are trying to carry the same load, trying to run the family and business same way as we did before it all started to fall apart, or trying to catch up with other things.
A big part of self care is lowering your expectations of yourself and others. We have to accept our limitations and make some adjustments. It’s absolutely normal to drop a ball or two. It’s ok to feel lost. Nobody prepared you for this. You are a living creature, it’s ok to feel what you feel, it’s ok to have doubts and worries. Not a single person feels fine during a global disaster. When we are facing life or death circumstances, loss of a job and financial security, freedom to move and isolation it’s not about excellence and productivity, but rather about keeping things normal.
In times of a threat our highest functions shut down, we get into a survival mode. This is the time to take care of your physical and physiological self, create a support group and help those who are in a worse situation. This all will pass and your performance will come back.
When we are stressed we are prone to reactivity, defensiveness, impatience. It affects our relationships. When we put other people’s needs before our own the time to take care of yourself never comes. You have to be strong for yourself so you can be strong for others. I came across an article that has some good suggestions on why we should ignore social media productivity posts
Your family is your Safe Base
Some of my clients tell me it became more difficult since their partner is at home, well, you wanted to spend the rest of you life with, it’s the time to practice what you promised when you got married.
Your family should be your safe base. If it is not, you have to build it. Clean your home, re-evaluate and establish your boundaries, strengthen your family connections. It’s easier to survive in a turbulent time when we are together. We hear this quite often now, start practising it, start within your family.
It’s the beginning of April 2020 and I’ve got some mild symptoms of the virus, I am stuck in a room. Both my family members do shift work and they collaborate to make sure that I am never without food or snacks, or any other support I needed. They leave fresh coffee in the morning in a thermos to make sure it’s hot when I get up, they let our cat spend time with me, giving her a bath after, they leave me encouraging notes. It feels really good to have people you can rely on, I feel I am cared for and that I am not alone.
Talk to your partner. Discuss what bothers you. Use I-statement. I-Statement means you tell how you feel vs. You-Statement when you tell ‘You make me feel this way’. When you use I-statement you tell about your own feelings, nobody can argue with your feelings. You have the right to feel what you feel and people accept that. This level of communication is universal. Everyone felt this way before and they would understand better what’s going on with you.
Call your grandma. Reach out to your distant family members, friends, grandparents. You don’t need to set up the virtual meeting, you can just call them as we did before, remember? Or Zoom or FaceTime them. Schedule regular meetings with a family member on virtual family chat or video chat.
Take care of your family first. Build a strong foundation at your home, and then extend your help to others. I am not saying that if you are a nurse, stop going to work and take care of your family. I am saying, don’t rush giving away your fire extinguisher when your own house is in flame. We are all in it together but they stronger healthier you and your family are the more you give to others.
Start a Gratitude thread. With all the losses that we’ve been experiencing right now, it’s important not to forget about what positive you still have in your life. Here is more on how to introduce it into your life.