“In the midst of winter, I found within myself, an invincible summer” Albert Camus
How do we cope when everything around us feels like absolute chaos? How do we focus on what needs to be done when we feel like we are caught up in a storm? The threat of COVID-19 is bringing up a great deal of fear for many people.
Here are four practices for coping with our current circumstances:
1. Arm yourself with the facts. There is a lot of hype out there about the virus and pretty much anyone can write anything. Make sure to follow credible evidence-based sources. The government official notices and articles written by academics and health professionals like the WHO are your best option. Getting the right information will build a sense that you are standing on solid ground.
2. Practice being present. The only thing we can be sure of is right now. Speculation about the future is an attempt to control the uncontrollable. Stay in the present. Do what you can with today. This hour, this day, you are in charge of your choices.
3. Develop a routine for your days and stick to it. Set up a schedule for yourself and your family as if you were still going to work. This could include a regular wake and sleep time, specific hours that you will work from home or your children will do schoolwork and time for daily exercise and meditation.
4. Be kind. We are all in this together. Choose kindness and patience with yourself and others. It is by supporting each other and treating each other with respect that we will get through this experience - together. Challenges are part of life. They are how we grow and learn. This too shall pass and we will learn from the experience and be more resilient for having come out the other side.
The same tools for building mental well-being can be used to develop coping strategies for the fear and uncertainty of this period.