HOW TO SURVIVE CHANGES AND UNCERTAINTY USHERED IN BY COVID

I am no longer distracted by the bustling needs of life. It seems life has retreated, as we all wait on an illusory, mass induced shoreline, for the next boat to take us home.

Time has taken on new dimensions. Oddly enough it seems to fly by, which leaves me suspicious. It has been my experience, in life, that only when I am enjoying myself, does time race by.  I have been pondering on this, and suspect it may be due to either hope or denial. These two are easy to confuse.  A part of me still thinks that tomorrow morning, when I wake, everything will be as it was before Covid.  Is this hope or denial?

These are trying times for many. Living in the present has never been as important or as difficult, simultaneously. At moments like these, we may tend to experience nostalgia for what has passed and will no longer be returned to us, or we may find ourselves focusing on a poorly defined future, which transmutes into a menacing cocktail of anxiety, stress and panic.

Many are seeking a way to stay afloat despite the realization that today is the same as yesterday, nothing has changed and yet everything has changed, due to Covid. 

At first no one wanted to believe it, including myself. Some still don’t want to believe what is happening. Most of us would prefer to watch it happen somewhere else, preferably sitting behind our TV’s and monitors. This is how many of us grew up, watching tragedy unfold elsewhere. It didn’t touch us. We felt protected and privileged behind our monitors. 

It’s happening in Italy but not here, it’s happening in China but hey that’s China and I’m in New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Paris, Milan, Rome, so it’s not happening to me. These are the mechanisms at work that have weakened us as a species and these are the mechanisms which could destroy us. Perhaps something positive can be derived from Covid and this moment in history. The realization and awareness that our fragility might be what unites us, might be a game changer.

Choice is a privilege, although when faced with choice many experience stress and concern, afraid to make the wrong choice. These days, we find ourselves facing a yet to be defined design of the new world we are blindly stumbling towards, and as such, it may feel as though we have fewer choices or none at all. We are all faced with an obscure, imponderable image of a future, which has been ushered in by the 2020 pandemic.

We always have one choice, without exception. At any given moment, we can choose to keep running the race, no matter how treacherous the path gets, or we can surrender to that insistent, discouraging, inner nagging voice, which urges us to throw in the towel and give up.

There are those that feel blessed for simply being alive, and are reaching out to help others in their moment of need. There are those, including high profile political leaders, who have turned a blind eye towards the hardships which have befallen young and old, all over the world.

We are all looking for answers and we are all praying, whether we know it or not, in our own peculiar ways. Through hope and denial, we unknowingly cast a safety line for ourselves.

The same underlying currents compel us all. Whether you are hoping for all this to be over soon and to be propelled back to the so called ‘normal’, or whether you believe it is all a hoax. Both of these reactions, although on opposite ends of the spectrum, have one thing in common. These are both coping mechanisms and examples of our ability to resist change, one way or another, despite hardships, tragedy and loss pointing us in a new direction.

Change is a constant we need to accept and not resist, so that we might all find our way to that new shoreline we so desire. To find our way back to safety, to a place where serenity and peace of mind reign again.

No matter how stuck you feel, accepting change in life is the key to overcoming fear and help you envision a new future, one you can move towards, safely and confidently. When you accept change, you make a pact with yourself. You’ll instinctively know what needs to be done to gain the sustenance, energy, and motivation to move forward.

The effort and commitment you invest in your wellbeing, during difficult and restrictive times, will see you safely through to the other side of the dark tunnel and into the light.

No one said life was going to be easy and if you’ve read any history, you know and understand that tragedy, hardship, pain, illness, death and change have always been with us, making the rounds, from one generation to the next. The good news is, most of us have the tools necessary to help ourselves.

Sometimes we simply need a reminder or someone to shed a light for us, helping us pave the way back to a wholesome self. Capable not only of withstanding change, but of shaping and instigating it.

At first glance the four points that follow may seem simplistic and naive. Maybe you were expecting a list of mysterious new ways of coping, to be revealed to you. The truth is, this advice has stood the test of time and proven undeniably effective. The foundation of your wellbeing is built from daily rituals. These are the pillars that will keep you standing tall, regardless how heavy the burden you carry, and hardships you are enduring.

The groundwork that needs to be done, in order to get back on track, involves working on yourself. Our wellbeing is contingent on achieving a balance and paying equal attention to body, mind and spirit.

If your energies have been depleted, your spirit discouraged or your heart broken, you’ll need a full tune up. Some may even need an overhaul, in order to get their vessels back into the right orbit.

SUNLIGHT

The detrimental effects of insufficient sunlight are well documented. Depression is a typical onset which often leads to more serious mental and emotional disorders. Sunshine is imperative for your mental, emotional and physical health. Even if it means sticking your head out the window for 15 minutes a day or sitting by a sunny open window, it will make a difference. Cats always look for sunny spots on windowsills to take a catnap. They intuitively know what is good for them.

REST

Feeling tired does not guarantee a good nights rest. In order for you to recharge and reap all the advantages of a good nights rest, you need to to turn off the chatter in your head. If anxiety and worry strike at night, making you toss and turn, try to do some deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing will increase the supply of oxygen to your brain, which in turn stimulates the nervous system, promoting a state of calmness by shifting your awareness from your head to your body. This automatically turns off your worry channel.

A piece of advice, turn off all your wifi devices. It is a well documented fact, that cell phone radiation disrupts sleep, amongst other things. Try setting your phone to airplane mode, at night, and see what happens.

EXERCISE

When we are riddled by worry, grief or anxiety, without an escape route, our physical bodies take the brunt. Not all illness is rooted in our bodies. However, all the energies we do not manage to process and release, will get incorporated. This literally means, these will be transferred to our bodies. You may fall ill, so ill in fact, that you forget all your previous worries.

Take control of your life. Reduce, stress, anxiety and depression by stepping out of your head and into your body. Exercise needn’t be a chore. There are so many ways of keeping fit even if you don’t care for gyms. Loads of free workout videos online. Dance by yourself, or join an online virtual workout, yoga or pilates class if you need the extra motivation.

There are many ways of stopping the chatter in your head and help you focus again, try needlework, knitting, woodwork or crochet. Keeping your hands busy on a detailed task requiring your focus, will shut off your worry channel.

What you learn in any new discipline, whether it is martial arts, or knitting, can be applied to other areas of your life. Never underestimate the value and benefits that you can derive from simple tasks and daily rituals.

BALANCED DIET

Depression, anxiety and fear can play havoc with your life. Some may eat more than they need, to feel some solace, while others practically starve themselves, experiencing nausea at the mere thought of food. People react differently to stress, fear, panic and emotional pain.

It is important to nurture yourself in every sense. To achieve this you must feed your mind, body and spirit. This is the balanced diet you’ll need to achieve and maintain.

Feed your body, do not overfeed it nor neglect it. Feed your mind with new knowledge, which turns into new skills and self confidence. Feed your spirit with beauty and truth, which can be found in nature, art, literature, music and meditation.

This balanced diet will give you the courage and clarity needed to become the instigator of change in your life and no longer feel you are victim of circumstances. It will help you see beyond the present and ride the waves of change like a champion surfer of life.

Published by Maddalena Di Gregorio

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in” Robert L. Stevenson

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