I’m homebound in my city, a few kilometers south of Madrid, while I write this. All of us in Spain are staying at home to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
The whole world is on alert, trying to stop the Covid-19 pandemic as best we can.
Most of us have never seen anything like this in our lifetimes, right?
At least not in the developed countries.
It’s global, meaning it’s affecting -or it soon will- every country on Earth.
And it’s also very personal. All our daily activities have radically changed in unthinkable ways that only sci-fi writers could anticipate.
We are in the territory of the unknown.
And that is always scary.
These are my thoughts on how to deal with this time of uncertainty and stress. I hope you find them useful.
A few thoughts on how to deal with the coronavirus crisis (in a soulful way)
1) Trust in your ability to cope
Human beings have an incredible capacity for adaptation.
We have done it again and again.
It might feel uncomfortable because -Hey, who likes to be shaken out of her routines?- but we’ll soon find ways of adjusting to the new reality until they become our new normal.
You will be asked to stay home, to stop touching your face, or hugging your friends or shaking hands…
Trust you can do it.
The instinct to adjust to new circumstances is within you.
It’s coded in your DNA.
Even if you’re not aware of it, know that you have it.
2) Keep fear at bay
It’s normal to be afraid. Fear is also part of your intuition, and as long as you don’t let it “possess you” -as Carl Jung would say, it will be useful.
So acknowledge your fears, yes, but don’t panic.
When we are freaking out, fear circuits are firing in our brain, and the creative areas of your mind disconnect. Hence, we lose access to our best solutions, and what’s worse, herd mentality kicks in without you even noticing it! (more on herd mentality in a moment).
These are a few things you can do to counteract excessive fear:
- Use laughter -my Whatsapp is flooded right now with funny stories about the toilet paper shortage!
- Yawn as much as possible- according to Mark Waldman it’s the best way to refresh the mind and bring new neurochemicals into the creative areas of the brain.
- Speak to someone you love, keep your social connections alive by using technology. We are so lucky they exist!
3) Expect to see the best and the worse of human beings.
The best and the worst qualities of human beings will show up in these times.
Inspiring and heart breaking behaviors are all around us.
I see in the news today, people doing the shopping for their elderly neighbors to keep them safely at home. People from the Chinese community generously donating masks to the police, who don’t have enough right now.
(Warning: You may want to skip the next paragraph if you get easily hurt by negativity, because I share a few of those awful things that are going on right now.)
Sadly, I also see news of people abandoning dogs and cats for the fear of getting the virus from them -there is not a single dog or cat who has gotten the virus. And the heart-breaking news that some elderly people died alone in a nursery home.
The good and the awful. Light and shadow in Jungian speak.
Of course, I could have chosen to turn off the news.
But I deliberately chose to watch them, so I could consciously send my prayers to those in need.
4) Be aware of the herd mentality.
I’ve mentioned above that when we are in fear, we are at the mercy of our most primitive brain. Herd mentality kicks in so easily we don’t even notice it.
I had a dream a few weeks ago warning me against it:
In the dream, I am with my husband on an island when suddenly a volcano explodes. Candent rocks are flying from the crater and I suddenly realize I had already dreamt about this. I tell my husband: ”-Let’s run downhill away from the rocks. I know I dreamt with this, and I know what to do to stay safe.”
But then -in the dream- I see everyone else running uphill, towards the top of the volcano, and I think: ”- Do they know something I don’t? Is there a refuge up there that I don’t know of? But I also know that getting closer to the source of the lava doesn’t make sense to me!”
So my husband and me keep running towards the opposite direction, no matter what the rest of the people are doing.”
My suggestion to you:
Be a leader.
Follow your inner wisdom. Trust it.
Because of this dream, I’ve tried to follow my instincts on how to protect myself and my family, even if others thought I was exaggerating my protective measures. I still might get the virus, who knows, but as the main caretaker of a 81-year-old diabetic father, it feels like the right thing to do.
5) This is as an opportunity
We have no idea how much the world will change due to this. And it presents us the unique opportunity to re-think out priorities, to re-connect with our values, what we consider important in our lives: our families, friends, furry babies, our health, to re-create the world.
Things are changing rapidly and we still can’t even imagine the consequences of all this.
Why don’t we all make the conscious choice to co-create a new, better world after this?
This is what you can do right now (my take on an exercise by Marc Waldman).
- What is my deepest, innermost value?
- How can I bring more of that into my life right now?
Wishing you the best during these difficult and unsettling times.