Article by Wendy Radford owner of Radford Holistic Therapies
Thrive Versus Survive
Ideas as to how to navigate this world challenge of staying at home
In this time of self-isolation and self-distancing there are several pitfalls that we can fall into in our coping mechanism. Here are some suggestions to focus on to help us live through this so that we can thrive rather than just survive.
We have a sense of not being able to rely on anything being as we would expect. It is therefore helpful to create schedules, patterns and calendars for our days. Find things to look forward to even if it is listening to music, reading, enjoying a painting, baking, taking a bath, anything which will bring you into the present and into a place of joy.
While we are self-isolating or self-distancing our fight or flight mechanism cannot be put into action so stress hormones are running around with nowhere to go. The answer is to keep moving to protect and take care of ourselves. We can use our creativity to control our own lives – self regulation – keep things going. Use breathing, meditation, dance, clean, build, cook, just keep the body moving so those hormones have somewhere to go.
We are collective creatures, we don’t normally exist as individuals. Sharing with others is what fundamentally shapes who we are. So if you can, have family meals, play games, tell stories, make music, play charades, talk to neighbours over the fence or phone friends. Use virtual contacts if you know how, facetime, skype, zoom or any other platform that works for you, share your feelings of joy or frustration without dwelling on the drama. Laugh together, cry together, stay connected in whatever way you can.
Stay focused – mindfulness with self-compassion
Another form of coping method can be numbing out, feeling alienated and lost, out of control. Do not be passive. The first order of business is learn about yourself. Become your own pet project, become your own friend this helps you to feel alive. Take a breath and recognise when you have reacted in anger, fear or irritation. Notice each time you make a judgement. Aknowledge how you are feeling. Does it help you feel uplifted? Does it benefit you in anyway? Then make a choice…what action could help you to feel calm and alive? Which way do you wish to go…joy or fear?
Being mindful is all very well however it does not work on its own. It is truly important to bring self-compassion to it as well. Feel the anger, fear, irritation and acknowledge it, say ‘thank you’ and see how it helped you to survive, however what could you replace it with so that you can thrive?
Safety is a very important part of dealing with times like this. Learning to live with an inner sense that every moment is different from the next is a positive way forward. Everything changes, everything passes. Live in the moment. Breath consciously, this helps you to feel safe inside of you. What would make you feel safe within you in this particular moment. It will be different for everyone. Do you need privacy, connection, movement, silence, music, creativity, fresh air, meditation, …? Be grateful for the very moment that you are in. Scientific fact.. While being grateful, energetically we cannot be in fear/depressed.
Let us go forward being grateful for every moment in the present. Let go of the past, do not fret about the future. Just be present in the moment and bring forth your joy just for that moment. Let the rest of the moments take care of themselves. Start by living just one moment at a time, then build to one hour at a time etc. You can do this! It is your choice at every moment how you wish to feel. Uplifted?!