The current pandemic has had a profound effect on all of our lives
There is a lot of personal disruption, economic loss and uncertainty about what’s in store for the future. Even the most resilient and toughest of us finds ourselves experiencing stress, anxiety, fear and exhaustion.
It is at a time like this, that we need to tap into our inner resilience and human capabilities. It is our ability and capacity to deal with challenging and changing situations and bouncing back from them.
Acceptance is a very important part of resilience. We accept there are certain things outside our personal control, which we have to and deal with it. Letting go, is also an important part of resilience. We let go of wanting things to be different, exactly the way we want them to be.
Resilience is important because it helps us deal with the current situation and not be overcome by it. The reality is, we have to adapt and cope and deal with the current situation until it improves. If we succumb to stress, anxiety and fear, it was seriously affect our mental health, our capacity to cope and our ability and readiness to bounce back from the situation.
No matter how bad the current situation is, there is always somebody worse off than us. Think about people who are currently refugees fleeing their country, living in refugee camps in terrible conditions, or taking terrible chances with your lives in an effort to reach countries were there believe their situation will improve and be better.
Everyone’s situation is different, and some people are more seriously impacted by the current situation than others. It is not for me to be prescriptive or say what people should be doing. I can, however, suggest some options and ideas which people may find useful and applicable to their current situation.
If you’re feeling really down, talking to somebody about your situation can help. This can be in the form of talking to a friend or family member or seeking professional help from a counsellor or coach or similar type person.
Gratitude is a very powerful way of dealing with adversity in our lives. If you were to list down the things that you have that you are grateful for it can change your mindset to a positive one. For example, if you say to yourself that you’re grateful that you have not been infected by the coronavirus – you have food to eat and a roof over your head – you have a job or you are receiving some financial support from the government – you are in a loving relationship – you have a happy family who are healthy, and so on. No matter how bad things are, there are always positive things in our lives. In mindfulness practice, it is common each morning to either verbalise our list down on a piece of paper, 5 to 10 things that you are grateful for each day. It’s a great way of starting off the day on a positive note.
While our lives can be difficult at the moment there are some basic things that we can look after which will help us now and in the future:
- Physical Health – it is important to take exercise on a regular basis and eat good food. If our physical health deteriorates, it affects our mental health. Make an exercise and healthy eating plan for yourself and your family and stick to it.
- Emotional Health – negative emotions that we feel are caused by negative thoughts that we think are real. If you are having a negative thought, spot it straightaway, stop it and swap it for a positive thought. This of course is easier said than done and it does take practice. But it is really worth doing, and sticking with. So if you are in a negative thought/emotion situation, write down on a piece of paper, the emotion you are feeling, and the thought that has caused it, think about it, and think about something positive and see how that changes your emotion.
- Mindset/Mental Health – when times are difficult the situation is temporary vs permanent. Tell yourself, “it is difficult right now, but nothing lasts forever – there are things I can do to deal with the situation as best I can.”
- Spiritual Health – this is really about living our life according to our core values and meaning. It is often that our core values are not linked to our economic success. For example, core values of: love; kindness; friendship; curiosity and learning. Research has shown that often in the poorest and most desperate places on earth, we often find the happiest people. Mindfulness and meditation practice is a great way of looking after our spiritual health. It comes mind, gives us clarity so that we are able to cope better and make better decisions and choices.
Thinking about and preparing for the future.
There is certainly a lot of change going on at the moment and the way that we live our lives and the way that we work and socialise will change in the future. This will affect all of us. It is a useful exercise to sit down and think about your current situation and how it is likely to change in the future. It could be that you will be mostly/permanently working from home – maybe your current career/job will become redundant/obsolete. If this is the reality that you are facing, then hiding from it, not dealing with it will not help you. It may be that you need to up skill or change your skills for future career needs. There are many online courses available now from various institutions, universities and training centres. This could be an opportunity for you to learn, retrain and re-track your life. If you’re having difficulty with this sometimes a few sessions with somebody like a friend, Life Coach can be very helpful and successful in helping you to plan and think your way to a situation like this.
There are always ups and downs and challenges in life. There are personal challenges and society challenges. When we think about how people have, for example, lived true World Wars and other disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, flooding, demise of traditional work/industries down to the ages. There is always something that we will be dealing with. Perhaps when coronavirus has a vaccine and is less dangerous, we will have the enormous challenge of global warming and its effects. There will always be challenges and changes. It’s important that we recognise this fact and build up a resilience and capacity to cope, adapt and change with the, various circumstances that arise. Resilience is a skill that can be learned. Like all skills that have to be learned, it takes study and practice to weave it into the way we think and lead our lives.
I hope you have found this article useful, in many ways I am writing this article for myself as well as the other people who will read it. I myself have to remind myself to be resilient and cope with change in adversity. I do certainly find that my practice of Mindfulness and Meditation have a significant effect on my mental health, mindset and emotions. In addition, in the past and currently, I myself use the services of a Life Coach to help me think about my life, my goals, my values and what I want to achieve, so that I can focus and have a plan for my future.