“Lock down doesn’t mean
inner isolation. This is one of
the biggest opportunities for
us as a human-beings to be
present, truly genuine and
sincere to people around us…”
Cecile Spirit, Singapore
It’s official that Malaysia and much of the world to include my hometown in the US are on lock down. Such is is considered a storm, and maybe a perfect storm, since it is global. Now, this isn’t the first time that I’ve been confined to Malaysia. I experienced a perfect storm in the US that blew me into Asia in 2016. And, the dark clouds that accompany any major storm hovered over me until recently. Back in October 2019, my US passport was confiscated by the American Embassy until I cleared up a sticky tax situation with my government. It didn’t feel good then and it definitely doesn’t feel good now. However, I know that every storm will pass and that there is actually a silver lining in every dark cloud. You may have to look closely, but its there; just as the rainbow that appears after the storm. However, what I realize is that some people will react to this Corona Virus storm in a totally different way depending on their resilience and mind space. In attempting to be resistant to the virus doesn’t mean that you are resilient in life’s situations, especially when it comes to isolation.
People are being asked to stay home and basically not congregate. This is asking a lot of most people because we are hard wired to socialize. Some will be fine as they cling on to their smartphone and post everything from their grocery cart items to their baby taking her first step since they are home to witness it and not at work, while some will have difficulties not having the physical connection, i.e. isolation and/or being confined. Oxford University Press stated that research outcomes show that people’s resilience highly depends on their social embeddedness, their capacity to uphold a social network, or their being part of a so-called social ecology. How will government orders to stay home impact you both now and in the future? Not to sound like an alarmist, but some people will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Allow me to digress, children may internalize these next few weeks far more dire than someone who can discern facts from fiction shared in the media and online. Children’s minds are not developed to process the words and situations like adults. What they hear and interpret is far different because they have a limited scope or view and cannot use past experiences to cope. Research has shown that the elderly suffer greatly from isolation. It’s bad enough that people wait for the weekend or holidays to visit them, but now they may be alone for longer periods of time. Interestingly, the two groups who are susceptible to Corona Virus are also highly likely to be adversely affected by the very steps needed to stop the virus. So, direct your attention and care to the elderly and children. Now, what about the rest of us who are in the middle? You need to make sure that your wellbeing is a priority. Here are three things to manage your mind space:
1. Sip on the News
News is like water for our brain. Not enough can be problematic but too much can be dangerous like drinking from a fire hydrant. Trust me… if for a day, you turn off your news and delete all the videos and messages that bombard you, I promise the next day it will take all of 15 minutes to catch up on everything that you thought that you missed. The simple truth is that negative news is addictive. And, like crack, alcohol or an abusive mate… nothing good can come out of being over-saturated with that negativity. Case in point, just as people are contracting the virus… people are becoming well, too. People spend more time with the doom and gloom even though there are talented doctors and scientists working around the clock on this “epidemic”, but we aren’t hearing about them at the same rate. We aren’t even hearing about the thousands of people who have travelled without incident and passed the temperature test. Nope… positivity doesn’t sale. I stop watching the news years ago, and I’m in the same boat as everyone else and maybe more informed because I don’t focus on the negative. Someone once asked me how I will know if something
happens. I told her that someone will probably knock on my door or text me: I’ll get the information. I don’t have to spend my day taking in stuff that will not create peace, joy and balance. If it isn’t NEW, delete it; rereading the ‘same news’ doesn’t make it more real or you more informed.
2. Connect Deeply
It can be easy to simply read a few postings and throw in your two cents every now and then, but as a friend at NBC said, “I read your stuff. But people are passive consumers. We don’t say anything. We just consume.” Now will be the time to become an active participant in your life and in the lives of those who you have allowed in your life. Be bold and call people to share with them how you appreciate, love or value them. Whatever you do, don’t sit in front of the T.V. or computer and not be fully engaged in life. Even if you think that you don’t need to be deep, there may be someone who needs you to become deeper. Yes… getting online isn’t new, but how deep do we really go and even take people? I’m really pushing for you to go deep and connect intimately with yourself, as well. This is a perfect time to journal to spend quality time with yourself.
3. Practice Self-Care: This is an Emergency
When people have huge chunks of time because they are forced to be home, they get into those files in their head and start thinking about stuff that has gone wrong, people who have caused harm, etc. This is just one of many forms of negative selftalk. When you start having negative thoughts, shift your thinking to things that bring you joy. I recommend that you write down five Go-To-Thoughts that make you feel good, so that when you start thinking about how bad things are or how you wished things were different, you can refocus on your GTT. Don’t use this time to pick yourself apart, but rather use this time to build yourself up. Some folks spend more time on skin care than self-care. Skin care is one form of self-care, but you are far more than the skin you are in. Incorporate the airlines suggestion on an emergency situation: care for yourself and then assists others.