Staying Grounded in the Shadow of Uncertainty
I’m two weeks in and I’m managing ok so far. If you’ve been home-based, how has it been for you?
I’ve had a ‘different’ couple of weeks, seeing clients online and although I’ve worked this way before, it has never been with my entire caseload. Seeing my clients in various different settings has been enjoyable. I’ve been invited in to see how their everyday lives place demands on them, whether it’s their children, dogs or cats needing them. We’ve also worked within different settings - some people have home offices, while others have invited me to connect with them in their bedrooms, cars or even in a country field. It has shown me how we can all continue to tend to our own needs, even in the face of challenges, such as those we are all currently being presented with.
Adapting to change has been a significant theme in my client work these past few weeks and I’ve suggested a few ways to better cope with the situation. This are just some ideas to support, rather than some kind of fix:
Try to plan some routine - not always easy but if there are things you need to achieve, it’s good to have a plan. Your plan doesn’t have to be rigid and particularly if you’re working around other people, rigidity can cause stress. Identify what absolutely needs to be done (outdoor time should be included) but it’s ok if it’s not all in the order you planned.
If you’re working from home, try to create a work space (however small your home is), even if it’s just the corner of the room and only use that space for work. Boundaries are very important but especially right now.
Get outside if you can - remaining connected to our environment can be a great anchor, when it feels like we are in a storm. Nature is carrying on, pretty much as normal with the birds singing and the flowers blooming. It’s good to be reminded of this. Feel the ground, literally, whether it’s the sand or grass under your feet or do some gardening and feel the earth between your fingers. Feel connected.
Stay connected with people - we are wired for connection and don’t function well without it.
Remember that anxiety is a normal adaptive response to a worrying or a potentially dangerous situation. When it stops us from doing roll the things we need to do , it becomes a problem. Try to see anxiety as a positive – if we weren’t worried, we wouldn’t bother to be careful or think about our own and others’ safety.
Try to reframe the idea of being stuck indoors or that your freedom has been taken away. Try to perceive the current situation as a way of keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.
Shorten your view of the future for the most part - looking too far ahead in such uncertain times can be overwhelming, so aim for the end of each day or the end of the week.
Allow yourself to feel disappointed, sad, angry or whatever it is you feel. Put a time limit on it though (maybe 10 minutes) - it might seem overly-simplistic but it’s a way of ensuring you don’t ignore your feelings, while not allowing it to preoccupy you for the entire day (which it may do if you don’t tend to it).
Do things you enjoy and even better, something that you feel you’re good at. What are you good at? What do you enjoy that makes you feel good about yourself? Maybe it’s improving your cooking skills, sketching, photography or practising an instrument.
Check in with yourself a few times a day. Ask yourself what you notice about how your body feels and how you are feeling emotionally. Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, feel your feet on the ground and allow yourself to notice whatever is there.