Well, we are into the third week of this pandemic. How are you doing? Not so easy, is it? The pandemic has thrown us into a major life transition. We have all been forced to change our lives. The changes we make are situational i.e. working from home, not working, social distancing, washing hands up-teen times a day etc. However, the transition is psychological and is defined by the individual, that is how an individual will cope with all the changes. To navigate the transition successfully is to navigate to the other side of COVID-19.
In a major life transition William Bridges’ explains that the ‘old ways’ of doing things no longer work and before we figure out how to adjust to the new ways of living, we struggle in a kind of ‘no man’s land’ or limbo – between what was and what the future will be. Bridges’ theory of transition refers to this limbo state as the ‘neutral zone’. The ‘neutral zone’ is marked by chaos, confusion and creativity. And, feelings of anxiety and anger can be pronounced – similar feelings appear in the grieving process. As the individual works to process these feelings and deal with the discomfort, creativity can emerge with a step-by-step plan to move towards the future positively.
Currently, uncertainty of the timeline is top of mind as well as fear of the unknown, fear of getting sick, fear of losing loved ones.
Given that we are in this ‘neutral zone’, the key is to focus on what we can control and not worry about what we can’t control. When we focus on what we can do then the negative feelings will dissipate.
7 – Tips To Take Charge of What is Within Your Control:
- Accept that this is life right now & do your part– your goal is to help ‘flatten the curve’. As Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada has put it quite succinctly: COVID -19 is a serious public health threat and all citizens need to act now and do their part.
- Establish a routine & stick to it: go to bed and get up at the same time every day; shower & get dressed daily. Eat healthy and regular meals; get some exercise and fresh air; if working from home follow a schedule; take a break and dance to your favourite music; learn a new skill.
- Stay connected with friends and family: Schedule face-time meetings. Meet for a coffee via face-time and chat. Check-in through texts and emails and phone calls.
- Carve out time to self-reflect: each day or at least weekly. The word PRAXIS means to reflect + correct. That is; reflect on your life right now and then commit to changing one thing for the better.
- Imagine the positive. If you see the outlook as positive, your attitude will change toward optimism.
- Unclutter & organize: Carve out time weekly to get ‘your house’ in order. Get organized; unclutter a closet; get your taxes done.
- Journal: take time daily to write down your thoughts & feelings; journaling can be part of your self-reflection. End each journal entry with gratitude i.e. state 1 or 2 things that you were grateful for that day.
There is a John Lennon quote that speaks volumes and I often share it with my clients: “If you slow down in life, you show up”. For many, this can be a real-time of assessing your life and committing to doing things differently. And, if you have children at home, connect with them.
Come on, stay safe & let’s flatten that curve!
If you need counselling or coaching help, I offer online counselling Vancouver via scheduled appointments by phone or through a secure online video platform.