COVID-19: Boundaries, Tips & Tools!
In this post I will share with you:
- Tips and Tools to keep you grounded during COVID-19
- A FREE workbook on “How to cope with anxiety”
- A FREE workbook on “How to ground yourself”
- How to stay sane & productive while working from home
- How to set healthy boundaries around COVID-19
- How you can support others during this time
- Some other fun stuff to explore that I will update on a daily basis 😉
I hope this little guide offers a few supportive resources, reminders, and ideas as you navigate through the next few weeks.
Feeling overwhelmed by the news these days?
It feels a little scary right now and maybe a lot scary for you..
The world is a lot right now and if you’re feeling it all, you are not alone. I wanted to create something not-too-overwhelming and supportive for you to utilize during this time.
You might want to curl up with a good book and tune the world out. But for most of us — even being quarantined at home — life, and work, need to continue. Despite the uncertainty.
There is understandably a lot of anxiety surrounding COVID-19 at the moment, so I thought it would be helpful to look at ways we can support ourselves and protect our mental health without neither staying in denial nor getting overwhelmed by the news.
Even when you aren’t experiencing feelings of distress, please remember that there are people who are seriously frightened by everything that’s going on. Please be compassionate and keep love in your heart.
And even though I am very calm (calmness is my superpower 😉), I know that many of you feel differently. Pandemics are not just a medical phenomena. They are extremely likely to invoke fear responses and disruption in society.
The bad news?
We are all being faced with massive uncertainty as we really have never been in a situation like the coronavirus is presenting us with. When faced with this much uncertainty, it is a rather normal human response to go into at least some degree of fear and anxiety. Some of you may even be experiencing panic. We try to understand “why” this happening and make some sense out of it with our minds to give ourselves some degree of certainty and safety.
The problem is that fear spreads faster than the virus. The stress caused by the media increases the risk of people hoarding, experiencing sleep disturbances, and feeling heightened anxiety. All these things lower the bodies immune system and that’s definitely something no one needs right now.
The good news?
It’s up to us to be aware that these behaviors are not directly caused by the virus but instead, by fear. It’s up to us to take a deep breath, wash our hands, eat a good meal, and keep doing the things that make us feel good – all the things we should do nonetheless.
And most importantly: We are all in this together! No matter what, we are not alone in this and we all have a role to play, something to learn. This is a great time to start or finish a creative project. Organize your home. Play. Laugh. Do things that keep your mind out of fear and I hope this post serves you well in one way or another. 🧡
All feelings around COVID-19 are valid
It’s ok to be scared/anxious/distressed over what’s happening around the world. It is ok to talk about it and ramp up the self-care. It’s ok to seek extra mental health support. It’s ok not to be ok. All feelings are valid!
The aim is not to feel no fear or panic. The aim is to be aware of it, feel it and give it space to move through you. Sometimes, taking care is less about adding more things to do and more about allowing ourselves to find the goodness we are already carrying somewhere within us. The memories, the joyful moments, the places that offer us something meaningful.
Remember what is important to you and find ways to incorporate this into your day. And while the outside seems increasingly overwhelming and uncontrollable, I suggest coming back to the only aspect of life we can control: the present. One day at a time.
Seek out reliable information and act on it, but stay skeptical of implausible conspiracy theories or claims of “fake news” that dismiss recommendations from public health officials.
For any of you struggling with anxiety, please pull from the skills you already have — don’t allow whatever social isolation you tend to seek keep you from reaching out to those you trust. We all need one another right now. Reassurance. Laughter. Calm. And recognition and support when that gets harder.
And if you are finding it difficult to deal with all the feelings right now…
CLICK HERE for a free Workbook on “How to cope with anxiety!”
CLICK HERE for a free Workbook with my favourite grounding techniques!
General Tips and Tools
Here is an incomplete list of things to come back to when the world is overwhelming, when you’re unsure, when you can’t think of what to do. These suggestions are here for you as just a small reminder of the things that are within our control.
- Self Compassion: None of us have experienced COVID-19 before. Have a lot of compassion for yourself and your responses to this experience.
- Maintain as much ritual and routine as possible: When so much change is out of our control, rooting into what we can do to maintain a semblance of normalcy is a way of grounding amidst the unknown.
- Nourish your body: Eat good foods, move, breathe, stretch, sleep, hydrate, and honour your physical self in ways that feel good for you.
- Practice mindfulness and presence: Guided meditations, mindful eating, and simply paying attention without judgment are all nourishing ways of showing up for ourselves.
- Shift expectations: You may not be able to do as much as you normally do during this time… that’s okay! Shift expectations to match the current situation.
- Learn something new: Taking any opportunity to learn something new is a great way of finding solace in challenging times. Learning ignites our brain and feels good for so many reasons.
- Connect: When we connect, we remind ourselves and others we’re not alone and we more readily find common humanity amidst all that is happening around and within us. Who have you been meaning to connect with that you might reach out to now?
Tips and Tools to keep you grounded
Now – more than ever – it’s important to come back to the basics. Practice grounding exercises, limit news and social media consumption, get outside when possible, engage in activities that feel good for you, ask for help, stay connected, tap into your gifts, and honour your process.
- Breathwork: Controlled breathing can instantly calm the nervous system and help bring balance to the entire being.
- Meditation + Journaling: Taking a moment to quiet the mind and reflect can give us the much needed space to heal and open to fresh energy.
- Mindful movement: Whether it’s yoga or a walk in nature, grounding in the body and in our environment can help root us in the present moment.
- Digital fast: Take a break from screens. Disconnecting from your devices, even for just a few hours, can help you reconnect with the self.
- Priority list: Create mental order by deciding what needs to be done now and what can be put off till a later. Tackling tasks one at a time makes our load more manageable. A good tool is the GOOD LIFE Journal
These possibilities will unfold as your awareness reaches beyond its old narrow limitations.
Stop for a second and ground yourself.
Breathe in deeply. Mhhh. Exhale slowly.
Can you hear your heart beating?
Can you feel your cells vibrating with energy and health?
Because they do. You are alive. You are here. Right now. Mhhh.
Take another breath through your nose. And out through your mouth.
How to stay sane & productive while working from home
I know that many of you are working from home this week. This can be especially challenging for those who have children running around or those finding it hard to stay focused on work while remaining in the familiar space.
Here are some tips to get you through:
- Try to keep your daily routine as much as possible.
- Set an alarm in the morning and get dressed as if it were a *normal* day.
- Get dressed and out of your PJs (you can change into your favourite Joggers, but NO PJ)!
- Create a clean space for working (even if it’s just a corner). Make it your new “office” that is only used for one purpose: work!
- Write down a powerful Mantra, e.g. “YOU CAN DO THIS!” and stick it somewhere where you can see it!
- Keep that space clean and free from clutter or any other kind of distraction.
- Schedule breaks (for lunch, a walk outside that are NOT in your work space).
- Make a “To-Do”- AND a “To-Feel”-List that are manageable and don’t overwhelm you.
- Set and maintain an end-time where you leave your work space. Shut down your computer and don’t return until the next day. Now it’s time to relax and take a well-deserved break.
- Keep your evening routine up as usual (if this normally involves going to a restaurant/the gym, cook a home-made meal or try an inline workout/yoga class). There are so many on YouTube (I love “Yoga with Adrienne”, but there are many more!)
- Mindfulness: One of the most well-known ways to cultivate an organised, focused mind is through mindfulness. One of the most well-known ways to cultivate an organized, focused mind is through mindfulness.
- Healthy Environment: Another simple – yet powerful – method to strengthen focus is by controlling your environment. Do what you can to reduce distractions and interruptions. If you work in a house full of kids and pets, this might be especially difficult. If you have a spare room, you could lock yourself in this quite space to reduce interruptions and set healthy time-frames for “mommy-time”.
How to set healthy boundaries around COVID-19
Boundaries are incredibly important when we are feeling anxious or experiencing a crisis. Knowing what we need and communicating it clearly is key. You have a right to set boundaries and take care of yourself regardless of how others’ interpret it!
Here are some examples of what boundaries can sound like around COVID-19:
- “I know this time is difficult for you, but I don’t want to talk about the coronavirus right now. Can we talk about something else?”
- “I appreciate your helpful suggestions, but right now I just need some time and space to experience my emotions.”
- “I see that you are very informed and up-to-date, but I don’t want to be updated by every news-article or breaking news.”
- “I understand this may not seem like a “big deal” to you, but I am taking the current situation serious and have decided to stay home for now.”
- “I know that socialising is super important for you, but I will not be able to attain the gathering tonight.”
- “I truly respect your opinion about everything going on right now, but I need some space to come to my own conclusions.”
- “I am taking this situation during COVID-19 serious so I am currently not shaking hands or hugging. We can air-five or elbow-shake instead!” 😉
How you can support others during this time
I was watching the news last night and all I could hear was “Calm down! Don’t panic!”
Unfortunately, these well-intentioned words don’t often go over well. Even though these intentions no doubt came from a helpful place, you might know that the hard way of telling someone to calm down usually backfires.
When someone’s upset and anxious, it can lead you to feeling uncomfortable or even annoyed. Though it can seem innocent to toss out a “calm down” to assuage your own discomfort, it’s not very helpful to your friend. When you can authentically let people know you share their pain, and give them your undivided attention to listen, they benefit from the human connection you offer in an otherwise difficult situation.
Here are some ideas that work a lot better than the patronising “don’t panic”:
- Show You’re Listening: When someone is experiencing fear or anxiety, what they really want is: to be seen, heard, and validated. So let them know you’re listening.
- Empathise: Empathy says that you want to help. Say, “You’re understandably scared right now, and I totally get why. Let’s see if we can figure out how to solve this together.”
- Offer to Help: There may be nothing you can realistically do but that doesn’t mean you can’t still offer to be of assistance. When you give support in the form of comfort and attention, you are already helping. And it’s OK to ask, “How can I help you right now?” even if there isn’t anything concrete you can do.
- Breathe: Breathing techniques have been proven to help dissipate stress and restore calm to our bodies. Offering to do it together invites you to share their stress. After they have calmed their body and mind, say, “Let’s take three deep breaths together.” Maybe you burst out laughing at the end, or maybe it really relaxes them (and you).
There’s no need to panic.
Being cautious, yes.
But not panicked.
Last, but not least
Please take care of yourself as best as you can – it’s time to get back to basics – eating regularly, sleeping, taking breaks, practicing quiet time and limiting screen time among others. Instead of constantly checking the news, turn inwards. Be gentle. Be kind. Breathe. But do NOT spread – or stay in – fear.
Remember: We cannot control what goes on in the world, but we can always control how we REACT to it! Just like the virus is contagious, so is your reaction to it!
Let’s generate COMPASSION, EMPATHY and AWARENESS!
I don’t have all (or really any) answers. I am not a medical doctor and I don’t know much about COVID-19. However, I do know a lot about fear and anxiety, and I know that this time is especially hard for those who are very vulnerable towards external events they cannot control.
So let this be a gentle reminder that even if we can’t control what’s happening outside of us, we can always control what is happening INSIDE of us. Now, more than ever, let’s stick to encouraging each other and finding our innate power. Not through fear or threats or overreacting but through intention, action, and love that comes from within.
Just as fear around COVID-19 is contagious, so is faith. Faith is unseen but felt. It is strength when we feel we have none. Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to. Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.
What if this was a call to come back home to ourselves, to act out of love rather than fear, to focus on being, rather than doing.. and if we are able to move through the process we will be rewarded with the freedom to let go of control of the outside world. The freedom to be with ourselves inside yourselves.
If there was ever a time to acknowledge that your relationship to yourself can have a direct impact on others – it could be now.
May the social distance we are forced to create due to COVID-19 remind us of the closeness we still share! Let’s choose to consciously create a sense of peace and togetherness in our days, even whilst we are apart. For, it could be now that we begin to feel a new sense of wonder about the truth of our oneness.
Sending much love to those who are calm, those who are concerned, those who are panicked.
I see you all and keep you tight in my heart 🧡
Ps: CLICK HERE for my list of favourite books and documentaries!
CLICK HERE for a free Workbook with my favourite grounding techniques!
And HERE for a workbook on “How to cope with anxiety!”