Comfort in Corona Times – Continued

Meanwhile, most of us are slowly settling into this currently-new-normal and I hope you are as healthy and happy as possible in these times. Since this situation is still ongoing and some of us are growing increasingly impatient, I wanted to counter some of the collective anxiety by sharing a sequel to my last Corona-Comfort article.

So below are again 7 tips, of course all starting with a C. 😇 This time digging a little deeper to stay not only physically healthy but also mentally strong, steady and sane! Each of these tips come with an exercise to help you coach yourself through a crisis and crazy times like these.

For those of you who are really overwhelmed, extra love your you, and I’d say: simply skim, focus on finding what works for you, and filter the rest. If you find only one insight that makes you feel better, this article has served its purpose!


1. Choose

Let’s start with one of the most important points of this article and in these times. The power of choice. As they say: we always have a choice. We may not always be able to choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react. Remembering this, puts us into a position of personal power.

  • Choosing how we see situations creates the difference between calm and chaos
  • Choosing our priorities helps us end the day feeling more fulfilled
  • Choosing to prioritize our needs, prevents us from becoming drained
  • Choosing what we watch, read and listen helps us to stay hopeful and positive

There is a Bible verse that always reminds me of the importance of consciously choosing who and what we allow into our lives:

“Guard your Heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life’ (Proverbs 4:23)

Which choices can you make to guard your heart in these times?

Exercise


One way to feel more in control, is by starting your day purposefully and peacefully. It doesn’t have to be a long ritual, it can simply be a choice.

For instance, by implementing one of the tips in this article. You could simply write down:

Today, I choose to ‘create’, ‘cleanse’, ‘cultivate’, ‘celebrate’, ‘change’, ‘control’
_________ (insert the situation you wish to prioritize today)

Of course you also insert your own statement above. Enjoy!


2. Cleanse

No worries, I’m not talking about disinfecting and deep-cleansing your house. Even though that’s always good, most of us are already doing that by now,. Multiple times. And again.

It is about cleansing certain areas of your life. This might include your house, but it could also focus on your body or refer to your soul. Which area of your life feels cluttered and in need of some attention?

Could you sort out your winter wardrobe to symbolically create space for spring and summer? Does your body feel stagnant from sitting a lot and could it use a some stretching and movement, a detox or simply some sleep? How about your mind, could you clean out your thoughts by writing all your worries out of of your head to create space for more gratitude or peace or love?

Exercise


As with everything in life, start small and one step at a time. As I’ve understood it, Marie Kondo recommends starting with your sock drawer, and sticking with one room/ project before you move on to the next.

That said, what is the sock drawer in your life? In other words, which project or part of your life could you start spring-cleansing today even?

And as you finish, remember to already write down the project you will tackle, next, so that you don’t fall into the trap of having unfinished piles all over the (virtual) place. You can do this!


3. Create

In these times, the temptation may arise to calm ourselves down by increasing our consumption: watching, reading, gaming, shopping or eating more than usual. No judgment. These are hard times and it’s easy to enjoy these moments, in moderation. A good rule of thumb I once learned from a video by Marie Forleo, is about balancing consumption and creativity.

While consumption is everything we take in, creativity is everything we give out to the world. Whether it’s writing a diary entry, a  card or a song, playing an instrument or a board game, channeling your inner child or being creative with your children… being creative in expressing yourself sparks that sense of lightness in life, and can’t we all use a little more of that?

Exercise


You could start right away by creating a list of creative activities that you could imagine yourself doing:

For instance: baking, making your own postcards, writing, singing, starting an herb garden, playing a long-forgotten instrument, painting, etc…

You can even turn this list into a little piece of art and hang it somewhere to remind you of your inner creative child.


Tip to avoid overwhelm: remember that you don’t need to do all these things at once! This list is about collecting creative ideas and inspiration. You’ll know when the moment comes to pick one of the points from this list and act on it.


4. Cultivate 

Some of us may have more time than usual, but how do we use it purposefully? Perhaps even by supporting those who don’t have that extra time right now?

One question we can ask ourselves is:
Which quality would you like to cultivate in your life?
Is It passion or patience, peace or purpose, creativity or connection, care or compassion, generosity or gratitude?

If you’re not sure right away, you can simply look at the area of your life that you’re most challenged in right now. Do you currently become more easily irritated, agitated, anxious, angry, withdrawn or worried? Then turn it around to the opposite and you’ll know which quality to cultivate. 🙃

Exercise


How about creating a mind map based on your desired quality? Around your desired quality, which you place in the center, you could write down ideas on how to practice this in daily life That way you’ll also have the C of Creativity covered 😊


5. Clap and Celebrate

Clapping for health workers has been a beautiful side effect of this situation. And yes, let’s clap along loudly for those who wholeheartedly support us in these times.

And let’s show our support not just by clapping but also by acting on what they are asking of us: staying at home if we can and keeping our distance.

We can also symbolically clap for and celebrate other workers who play an important part in society in these times, from grocery store employees, cleaners, police officers, public transport employees, etc. Simply imagine what would happen if they stopped working… and then act from that feeling of for them.

And of course you could celebrate those people that you are grateful to have in your life. Write a card, send some flowers, make that extra phone or video  call and express how much these people mean to you. Especially in these times we can all use a little extra love.

Exercise


Who do you feel compelled to celebrate/ clap for in your life?
How could you express your gratitude to this person?
In which way and when will you actually do this?
*Clap for yourself*


6. Change

This current crisis can make it seem as though time is standing still. Almost everyone has been taken out of their daily routine. We can long for the good old times or look forward to better times to come and that’s perfectly normal. Yet we can also be present and realize that there may be a gift in all of this too.

For instance, we get to take a grateful but good look at the areas in our lives that could use some change. How many of us have overstayed in situations that we have long outgrown? In the hectic of daily living, we usually don’t really pay attention to that nagging feeling inside of us. But it’s been there and may even be magnified now.

Which area in your life is calling out for change? Do you have friendships, relationships, work, living situations or patterns and behaviors that need to be upgraded or have passed their due dates?

Now could be a perfect moment to create change in these areas of your life or personality. You probably know deep inside what it is that’s calling out for change… and the next step after acceptance is to take action. This blog article on the five stages of change could guide you on getting started.

Exercise


This is an existing exercise with a little twist. You begin by creating a table with three columns titled: Start, Stop and Continue. Here you can list all the behaviors and habits that you’d like to, yep, start, stop or continue in your life.

Once you’re done, first of all congratulate yourself for all the items you have been engaging in from the ‘Continue’ section. Yes, you can clap. :))

Next, look at the ‘Start’ and ’Stop’ section. Now from the category that has most items, pick out one habit (yes, only one for all the perfectionists among us!) that you’d like to focus on during this time period.

You can even make it more concrete (enjoy, fellow perfectionists!) by making it s.m.a.r.t. or…. simply take your first step and flow into the next one from there
.


7. Control

Photo credits: thecounselingteacher.com

This virus has confronted us in many ways. One of the hardest aspects is that it shows us our vulnerability, as we can’t control the outcome. We just can’t. We can’t control what our governments decide and communicate, we can’t control the spread of the disease no matter how hard we try or wish we could, we can’t always control how people around us react, we can’t control the news that’s shown on television, social media or sent to us.

It’s easy to focus on all the things we can no longer do in these times, what’s become more difficult now and on everything and everyone we miss. It’s good to feel those feelings and of course grieve if we need to as we lovingly acknowledge what is going on inside. At the same time, it’s important to not become stuck in this process.

We may not be able to do all the things we would like to right now or we may have to do things we’d rather not do. Through it all, we can control what we focus on and how we react and act towards what’s going on. We can put this into practice by adopting a can-do mentality. How do we choose to look at this situation, which perspective do we take, do we let fear in, or do we let faith in and love win?

Exercise


One way to have a quick reality check is by drawing two columns on a piece of paper (or of course digitally). The left column stands for all the things we can not control and the right one stands for the things we can control.

No doubt, the left one will be longer but that’s a good thing, because you don’t need to do anything with it, you can even tear it off and throw it away afterwards (so much for the cleanse described in point two) or you can of course keep it as a reminder that certain things are beyond your control.

The right column shows you all the aspects of your life that you do have control over. Isn’t that empowering? Now you can keep this list close to you, and whenever you feel yourself spiraling into fear or hopelessness, grab this list and pick one of the items on the right hand side that you can do right now. This may be as simple as counting your blessings or calming yourself with a cup of tea. And you can always pray this simple serenity prayer:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

——————————————————————————-

And all I can do now is to end this article in the exact same way as the first one because: Basically it boils down to choosing where we put our focus. Each day that this situation lasts, we can make better for ourselves and others by asking and acting on this question:

Am I Spreading Fear or Love?

💛

Thanks for reading this article and I would LOVE to hear from you. How are you doing in this situation and what is helping you through these times? Feel free to share in the comments below. We’re all in this together!


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