Four Ways to Stay Sane Over the Next Two Months
I know things have been intense these last two weeks, especially here in the greater New York City area, and they are only going to get more intense in the next few weeks as cases continue to rise. Earlier this week, the notifications about confirmed cases from people at work started rolling in. Many of them began exhibiting symptoms just 1-3 days after we were sent to work from home (March 10th). Of course, none of them were able to confirm what they had until two weeks later due to the unavailability of tests. At the time we closed, there were only four confirmed cases in New Jersey (where my office is located) and none in Hoboken where I work. Our offices closed at least five full days sooner than many in Manhattan. As you can see (and as was made clear by many health officials), COVID-19 was already spreading, and this delayed action and lack of proper testing is a major reason why New York City is in the state that it is in right now.
Luckily I work for a university who, like many other universities across the country, closed campus out of an abundance of precaution–and they got us out just in time. Many in the media criticized this action, however, it may very well have saved our student population AND ME.
Like most people, I’ve been experiencing waves of fear and anxiety about current circumstances. Just because I’m here helping you all doesn’t mean that I’m immune to the emotion surrounding what’s happening in the world, and I won’t pretend to be.
I want to tell you that it’s okay to be afraid.
You don’t have to pretend to be strong. You don’t have to bury the fear and pretend everything is going to be ok when you don’t know if it is.
We use coping tactics like denial (it’s just a cold), dismissiveness (I’m not worried!), humor, or even positivity as ways to mask our fears. It’s ok to admit to yourself and others that you are afraid.
You can’t help what you feel. Uncertainty is a BITCH and we are facing a lot of it right now.
But I do know that this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. This is the moment so many people have been predicting. The world will never be the same after this. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We have the opportunity to collectively create something better when this is over. Life will change. And we will be better for it.
So for now, we must all be here, together, with each other and for each other, as we move through this. Let yourself cry, and then let go of control, and surrender to change.
As of right now, my tentative return to work date is May 18th, which means I’ve got another month and a half of hanging out at home, and I imagine many of you do as well. Here’s four things that can help you survive the next few weeks:
#1: Limit Your Media Consumption
Stay informed, but moderate your consumption. Stop watching the news and stay out of your Facebook feeds. Stay informed, but remember that once you stop learning useful information that is relevant to your immediate safety, it becomes fear porn. Media speculation is only going to feed your fears, but it’s just that: speculation. Headlines are particularly loaded, divisive, and misleading right now because we are in an election year. The same way that you feed your body, you also feed your mind. Don’t fill it with fear.
You can still be social, just stick with groups that uplift you (like mine! Join here) or on platforms where there’s less fearmongering, like Instagram.
#2: Stay In The Present Moment
The more you focus on uncertainty of the future, the more fearful and anxious you become. Stay rooted in the right now, right in front of you. Your family. Your home. Your work. Yourself. Take it one hour at a time. The sun will still rise in the morning. You are going to be okay. Take a break. Take a breath. Let your mind be with things that bring you joy.
Some of my magical friends and I are offering lots of free or low-cost spiritual resources, classes and events right now including spiritual reading material, free long-distance group reiki sessions, donation-based one-on-one reiki sessions and personal readings, daily online yoga classes and so much more. Join my Facebook group for more details.
#3: Emotional Stability Comes From Within
The notion that it comes from certainty of outside things (like jobs, routines, and otherwise) is an illusion. When you relax into trusting the universe–that you are going to be okay, no matter what, you can release your need for control. This gives us the ability to be resilient, to change and adapt as we need to to whatever comes. It’s easier said than done, but if there were ever a moment to place your faith in something bigger than you, it’s now.
#4: Release The Need For Control
The only thing any of us truly has control over is ourselves. Mind your business, stay in your lane, take care of yourself and the ones who matter to you most, and detach from everything else. The only exception to this is if you feel called to help. Just remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and you must take care of your mental health and emotional well-being first and foremost.
It’s crazy out there, guys. Remember, you cannot control what goes on around you, but you can control what goes on within you and that is the greatest power any human being possesses.
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