Embracing Self-Love and Sanity in a Pandemic
In communities across the U.S. and around the world, people are being mandated or encouraged to distance themselves from friends, family, co-workers and strangers. We are told to avoid social gatherings and just stay home. People are working remotely via an Internet connection; they are on the front lines; or they are experiencing unemployment.
We’ve learned some new terms in recent months: Stay Home/Stay Safe, Social Distancing, Flatten the Curve, Self-Quarantine, Curb the Spread of the Virus, and of course, Coronavirus and COVID-19.
Many of us know someone that has or has had the coronavirus. As I write this story, I am praying for the recovery of a friend who is in the hospital.
As plans, events and celebrations are placed on hold or are cancelled all together, we come to realize that this virus, COVID-19, is changing the way we live. Most of all, it’s giving each of us time to assess what’s important in life.
Letting Go to Just Be
Because we are inundated with information about COVID-19, it’s easy to become fearful. Realize, we can only control what we can control. So make an effort to eat right, get some sunshine, exercise, get enough sleep, wipe down packages that enter your home, and steer clear of crowds and physical contact with others. That’s it. That’s as much control as there is in this situation. By allowing fear to dominate our thinking, we are leading with the mind, not the heart, which makes it impossible to enjoy life’s special moments.
Coming to Terms with What Is
Being obligated to stay at home forces you to spend time with yourself as well, which gives you more time to think. Afterall, you cannot remain busy forever, right? Because the future is unknown, and we are not in control of the outcome to any extent, we are forced to let go and see what happens. While this approach may seem scary, being open to an alternative outcome can lead to a healthy release of expectations, which can result in enlightenment.
Once you realize this new way of living is not changing anytime soon, it’s time to take the next step: assess where you are in an honest and loving way and make positive changes in your life.
“By all means, deep clean your homes and offices. But more importantly, when feelings of anxiety, repression, fear, anger, or outrage arise, work with them. Investigate them. Turn them over and clean them out. Regardless of whether or not you become sick, you have an opportunity to work with the feelings that arise here.”
– Mikki Baloy, “Love in the Time of COVID”
Learning to accept, love and appreciate yourself for who you are will help you get out of crisis/fear mode and into a state of peace. Margaret Paul, Ph.D., offers several steps you can take to learn to love yourself.
- Be willing to feel pain and take responsibility for your feelings. Realize that feelings, “good” or “bad” are informational.
- Be willing to learn about your emotions.
- Learn about your false beliefs. Ask yourself, “What am I thinking or doing that’s causing the painful feelings?”
- Open your heart and start a dialogue with your higher self.
- Take loving action. Ask yourself: “What can I do to love myself?” and “How can I feel love for myself?”
- Evaluate your actions and begin again.
Take Stock, Make Changes and Appreciate the Moment
With 75 percent of the U.S. population staying home, we’ve been forced to take stock and appreciate who is important to us in our lives. Whether it’s family members, friends, neighbors or co-workers, all provide us with a sense of being connected and a reason to care. Conversely, we also realize who we are with is who we are with until the public health threat is over.
We are being forced to slow down life’s frantic pace. Even better, being cooped up inside causes people to go outside (when allowed to do so) and exercise, or soak up some sunshine.
I’m astonished to see people I’ve never seen before walking, running and biking in my neighborhood. Neighbors are sitting and chatting 6 feet apart. People appear more relaxed, smile and say hello. There are stories of people under quarantine who are coming up with creative ways to spend time inside too.
Here are a few suggestions from lovehappensmag.com:
- Learn how to cook.
- Watch online videos.
- Call friends.
- Clean up your closet and donate clothes.
- Read that book.
- Establish a schedule.
- Check out museums online.
- If you have a yard: plant flowers.
- Paint, draw, take photographs.
The birds are chirping more, the sky is brighter, the air is cleaner, and wild animals you would not see are showing up in neighborhoods, towns and cities.
Just last night I heard a horrific sound outside – grabbed the flashlight and ran. Was it a cat being killed in my suburban neighborhood? Was a fox tangling with a coyote? I flashed the light onto the biggest raccoon I’ve ever seen in my life! He was chasing another one and screaming as he did so. An incredible sight!
Sometimes change is forced upon us if we like it or not. In addition to the loss of so many people, this virus is bringing about major changes in how we work and live. The worldwide impact shows us clearly that we are all one people on one planet, which makes us more connected as human beings. Neighbors are looking out for neighbors too!
Wishing you peace, love and light as we continue moving forward to summer and its offering of a hopeful reprieve.