One of the hard moments in my life as a mother was when my distraught teenage daughter pleaded with me to fix one of life’s bad situations. “Mom, make it go away,” she pleaded. While I can no longer remember what was wrong, two things stuck with me:
- how desperately my daughter didn’t want reality to be what it was – desperate enough to make an impossible appeal in complete seriousness
- how stunned I was by her seriousness and how hard it still was to tell her I couldn’t make it go away
Knowing there is no way out but through, where we are right now with corona brings that back. There is no self-care tip or technique that is going to make this pandemic go away. But what we do have going for us right now is the ability to be aware – specifically, the ability to be aware of the way we are personally vulnerable to stress. With that self-knowledge, we are then each able to think carefully about what we can do that would most help to ease our anxiety. With that knowledge, we can then make a commitment to doing those very things to better get through this crisis.
When I put that question to myself, I realized I would be a lot better off if I formally dedicated myself to doing two things:
- Making a mantra out of “I will see this through”
- Deliberately breathing and deliberately moving more slowly when I’m anxious
Telling myself, “I will see this through” prevents me from unconsciously lapsing into non-acceptance and getting stuck in the unproductive, energy-draining state of wishing reality wasn’t what it is. Instead, “I will see this through” is a reminder to problem solve instead of shut down, which not only solves problems but supports a sense of self-determination, which can feel especially shaky right now.
Deliberately breathing and deliberately moving more slowly counters my tendency to move at warp speed when I get revved up, which only serves to escalate and perpetuate the anxiety.
What about you?
What two things could you dedicate yourself to doing that would serve you well for whatever lays ahead? If you are willing to share (anonymously), fill out this 3-question survey. I’ll share the results to give others useful self-care ideas.