Who Do We Want to Be During COVID?

So, when I read the blog from the BC Epilepsy Society, it caused me to reflect back to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It doesn’t take a lot of time to remember the fear that permeated our community and the emotional responses to the Novel Coronavirus:

  • Hoarding toilet paper, Clorox wipes and prescription medication.
  • Anger in grocery stores aisles, on the sidewalks, and at the beach.
  • Panic when we saw headlines from around the world.

When we are confronted with something new and uncertain, we can sometimes find ourselves looking for absolutes — black or white answers in a world of grey — this is when fear predominates our mind and limits our resourcefulness. Fear reactions are not unexpected. However, it has the potential to take over when we don’t have all of the answers or understand what may come next.

As the BC Epilepsy blog post so eloquently stated, “It is important to recognize that a place of fear may not be the best place for you right now.” We can’t find our way out of the pandemic if we can’t think properly.

We need to be looking for ways to empower ourselves with rational thought, moving out of the realm of fear and into a space where we can be calm, adaptable, productive and hopeful.

Take a look at the following Venn diagram which outlines three possible cognitive / emotional states when we are dealing with COVID-19. Take the time to read the descriptors in each of the three identified areas:

  • FEAR ZONE
  • LEARNING ZONE
  • GROWTH ZONE

Did you read them? No, you didn’t. I can tell. Now, go back and read them. It’s worth the time to reflect on ourselves and where we are right now.

During uncertain times like COVID-19, many of us start in the FEAR ZONE, but we need to move into the LEARNING ZONE and hopefully the GROWTH ZONE. And it’s not necessarily a linear progression. Be cognizant of the fact that we can bounce back and forth as we are confronted with new facts and new realities.

So …

If you find yourself in the Fear Zone — recognize it. Acknowledge it and work to find ways to re-centre yourself — EMPOWER yourself — to move along the continuum to the Learning Zone and then the Growth Zone. Be aware when you slide back work to move forward again.

Solutions are found to today’s most pressing problems when we are calm, patient and creative — NOT when we are in a state of fear.

Here are some great ways to help empower you when you find yourself in unfamiliar and uncertain times — when you’re stuck and filled with fear:

Practice Self-Care, Mindfulness and Relaxation

Mindfulness Builds Personal Capacity
  • When we are physically and mentally exhausted we are less able to deal with stress.
  • Find the time for an activity you enjoy — focus on the positive.
  • Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present — eliminate the distractions around you and focus on the now.
  • Immerse yourself in your senses and focus on what you can feel, smell, touch, hear and see around you.
  • Relaxation techniques can aid in positive thinking, concentration, memory and decision making as well as having a calmer and clearer mind.
  • Do some yoga.

Get Enough Sleep – And Keep it Regular

Magical, Restorative Sleep
  • Sleep is that miracle fix that really makes a difference (look for a future blog post on it — there’s some really cool evidence out there on how powerful it can be).
  • Even when you are feeling overwhelmed, try sticking to a regular sleep routine and getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

Get Some Exercise – Outdoors if Possible

Nothing Beats Breathing in Nature
  • Exercise is important for both physical health and mental well-being.
  • Exercise increases your endorphin levels which elevate your mood. Even a walk or hike is awesome.
  • Get outdoors — Mother Nature is always there to make things better.

And finally, remember this …

You WILL get through this pandemic.

HOW you get through it really depends on you and your mindset.

3 thoughts on “Who Do We Want to Be During COVID?

  1. Love this. I also wanted to say a HUGE thank you from all the parents who have been hoping for the online option that you have provided. After receiving your letter and survey Thursday, I spent the weekend feeling very fortunate and “cared for”. I really feel that my kids are growing up in a wonderful community that has their best interests at heart. So, thank you. I can’t imagine how much extra work and outside-the-box creativity it has meant for the district, but I want you to know that my extended family appreciates it VERY much. It means that my children can hug their grandparents this year. It means that my widowed mom can still look forward to visits from her “little ones”. It means that my kids will have less-stressed parents and more extracurricular adventures. I know we aren’t the only family to feel this way. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Like

  2. I have always enjoyed reading your posts and wanted to let you know that they are appreciated (even though I may not always comment on them).

    What you have shared with us in this post is so well presented. I wish everyone could read it, not just the lucky people in our school district. Thank you very much.

    Like

    • Thank you, Anne Marie. Your words are very kind and appreciated. There are a number of folks who read it outside of our district as I post it on a couple of social media sites including my personal Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Knowing that some people read it to better understand my thinking and priorities is what is important for me.

      Like

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