These are unusual times.
It’s been suggested that I write about ways to cope with the anxiety that is a reality as we try to cope with having the world as we know it turned upside down. However, I’m not sure that I have anything to add to the already helpful resources available (I recommend this article from the Globe and Mail, if you are looking for a good summary resource). Instead, I want to share with you what I’m experiencing and doing to cope.
I’m writing this in the early hours of the morning because I can’t fall asleep. I try, but my mind is a kaleidoscope: of images from the news items I have watched throughout the day; thoughts of my friends and family who are experiencing social distancing, work closures and the reality of the recently declared state of emergency; students who have been told to leave University residence with little notice.
I think about my clients and how I can continue to support them. I think about those who don’t have the ability to work from home because their jobs are to provide support to others—in person. I think about people who are frantically looking for toilet paper, food staples and cleaning products, and others who volunteering to continue to provide food to primary school students who use the school nutrition programs (now that the schools are closed for three weeks).
So, in this swirl of anxiety, thoughts, fears and negative images; how will I cope?
In times like these, I think about Viktor Frankl and his observation that we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control our reactions.
My reaction? Love.
- I will clean. Self-love is to make sure that my home is in some semblance of order. I’ll take the time to wash floors and clean out the fridge. Furniture will be dusted and mirrors polished. Junk drawers and Tupperware cupboards may be sorted.
- I will bake (and then share). I plan to bake many, many, many cookies and then leave them at loved-one’s front doors.
- I will only buy what I need rather than giving in to fears of scarcity that prevent other humans from getting what they need.
- I will go for walks, and smile and say hello—while practicing social distancing.
- I will try to be kind. This means keeping my opinions to myself.
- I will practice self-care by limiting the amount of news I listen to or read. Instead, I will enjoy books, knit and watch movies that I’ve been too busy to watch.
- When I’m at the store looking for toilet paper and eggs…I’ll also buy flowers.