"It's the end of the world as we know it... and I feel fine"
Over the past few days, R.E.M. has popped into my head. Most recently at 3am this morning after getting up to pee in the middle of the night. I found myself wondering about what the lyrics to this song would sound like today & whatever happened to Michael Stipe and R.E.M? I thought I should google that in the morning (I did - he's celebrating his 60th with some new music apparently)
Things feel pretty surreal right now.
Spending 10 minutes on Facebook feels like entering into an apocalyptic alternate reality where toilet paper is God & hand sanitizer is currency.
Just another thing in a long line of 2020 weirdness. I've said it before, this is a truly bizarre year.
Anyway - today I'd like to offer you some ideas for managing your anxiety, regulating your nervous system, and connecting to your body in the midst of a global pandemic.
First. To the Health Care workers, teachers, public servants, retail employees, and other essential services providers: I know times like this may mean that you've got to work longer hours, risk illness to yourself & your family, manage your changing home & childcare situation as well as taking care not to take on the emotionally charged energy of the people around you. I want you to know that you're appreciated, thank you.
Here are my top 5 tips for managing your stress, taking care of your nervous system and connecting to your body as the world navigates COVID-19.
1. Limit Media - I know how hard this is! Like I said above, Facebook is a trainwreck and it's almost impossible to look away! Yet, that constant barrage of weirdly curated information (based on what you click into or comment on) is often contradictory, incorrect and alarmist. Instead, take time to read the latest information from a news outlet you can trust and then shut yourself off from all the rest.
Any decisions you make around how you'll navigate the pandemic are yours to make. Your body, your choice. Find a good, science-based source of information that you check every once in a while - you can always just refer to the World Health Organization - just like with the climate crisis, it's best to trust the scientists over your neighbor sharing someone's tweet on Facebook.
Choose compassion over judgment and know that the only decisions you need to be worrying about right now are the ones you're making. We may all be baffled about the toilet paper, but for some people this is a very real fear and they're just trying to find some control in a situation that feels very out of control. Understand that this is a very common response for those who have experienced trauma - and so compassion over judgment is always a kinder option.
Finally, it's okay if you don't share your opinion on social media right now. I know that I'm slightly hypocritical with this one because I'm sharing this post, but there's so much noise right now and this is a perfect opportunity to practice observation rather than active participation. No pressure, you can just stay quiet.
2. Feel prepared in your own unique way - how can you practice agency in your life? Does it mean getting a few extra cans of soup and making sure you have Tylenol on hand? Maybe grabbing a board game or a new video game if you know your kids might be home from school. Even arranging child care or taking steps to make a plan will give you peace of mind that can help you feel comfortable and at ease.
3. Meditate or do some alternate nostril or deep breathing daily. Taking time to slow down, shut off all the noise and connect inwardly is a great way to realign with your values and your deeper wisdom.
4. Nourish your body with good food, water & movement. I don't even think I need to expand on this one too much! Staying healthy is so important and will help you manage the stress of the changes that may be happening around you.
5. Commit to pleasure. Find time to do things that feel good. Pleasure is healing and it can help to soothe your nervous system while also connecting you to your body. When you're at risk of illness, there can be a tendency to look at your body as the enemy. Making friends with your body will help you support yourself through any stress or illness that may occur. Plus, there are other surprising benefits when your pleasure includes an orgasm (or three). Check out this article for more details!
And, for all of you who create content, make things, and sell things online or in a brick & mortar. I want you to know that I feel you in this challenge of trying to make content that doesn't exploit, add to the noise, or ignore the reality of what the world is experiencing right now. I hope that this post has created a space for you to feel held, supported and safe in exploring how you're feeling right now as well as comfortable with turning toward love, hope & pleasure as a way to navigate your way through.
Sending you love & lots of virtual hugs - we've got this.