Relephant Read: Elephant’s Continually updated Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon
Here is what we thought the quarantine would look like:
Spiritual growth, an organic garden, self-care, baking our own bread, subscribing to courses online, de-cluttering our house, a regular workout, a fit body, tons of time to read books, movies to watch, and creative impulse for the artist within us.
Here is the reality check:
Our savings are going down, we have no income anymore, we eat pasta and potatoes, we live in a little apartment, our neighbors are noisy, we are alone, we have no neighbors, no one calls to check if we are doing okay, we are touch-deprived, we hear our neighbors having sex, we are with our kids, we never wanted to homeschool them but we feel like we have to, our dog is eating the furniture, we still have no time to read, draw, or paint, we have no inspiration, our projects are falling apart, our plants are dying, our loved ones have COVID-19, and we can’t visit our relatives.
There’s no need to romanticize the quarantine. Every day, we wake up and anxiety creeps in—that’s ok. Let’s not create pressure to make the best out of it or wear our #stayathome glow.
The truth is that living beings do not thrive when restrained. We are here to connect, to bond, to belong, and to contribute.
It’s great to be grateful for what we have, and think about what we want to do after the quarantine, but what we need right now are tools to manage our minds and our emotions. Here are some tips:
>> Let’s do what’s best for our nervous system—let’s self-regulate.
It starts with not feeling guilty when spiraling downward. Not judging ourselves for feeling those waves of negativity. It’s all normal.
Our brain switches to survival mode when there is too much uncertainty. Our nervous system can’t process this amount of information, especially when most of it generates anxiety.
The whole planet is at a standstill because of this disease.
We can’t stop talking about it because we can’t process something we don’t understand. We are disconnected from what makes us feel alive; socializing, proximity, touch, sharing, freedom of movement, fun, exploration, and adventure.
>> Give ourselves permission to feel all the feels—label the most disturbing emotion.
“Today I feel (fill in the blank), and that’s okay.“
Labeling what disturbs us calms the nervous system. Acknowledgment stops energy leaks caused by unnecessary judgment.
>> Give that emotion a movement and a sound.
Feel this emotion in the body. Give it a movement and a sound. We need to give ourselves a few minutes, and the permission to go there fully. We want the energy that is stuck there to move outward.
Interpret it—it’s emotional theater time. It’s powerful. Dance out the emotion if that works better. But, I still encourage giving it a sound to release. Practice until there is a feeling of it being complete.
If another emotion arises afterward, repeat the process.
>> Shake the body for five minutes.
Animals don’t hold trauma in their system because they shake after feeling a threat. It works wonders for us too. Stand up and shake it, shake it, shake it.
Sounding is again welcome.
>> Rest and integrate.
Notice all the sensations in the body—and rest.
>> The clearing through speech.
We need a partner for this, but it can be done online.
One person shares while the other listens. Set a timer. Five minutes for each person, or longer.
“Today I feel (fill in the blank).”
Share all there is on that topic. Our sensations, our fears, our hopes, and whatever comes across our mind. At the end of the sharing, our partner can thank us and we switch.
The listener is just listening. We want to make sure to finish the practice before exchanging feedback.
There are a few more little things we can do as well. Plan the day—even if it’s simple—and stick to it. Write it down. It will give a sense of certainty during these troubled times.
Choose one source of information you trust and leave the rest. Give up on conversing endlessly about why this is happening. No one really knows, and it leaves us feeling more frustrated.
Share solutions, progress, contributions, and funny memes because laughing is medicine.
One last tip—don’t forget to take notice of fellow humans doing their best.