With the global pandemic of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and widespread measures of social distancing, isolating, working from home, kids at home, and all the concerns and challenges that have come with these measures….we are indeed in disparate times. Oxford dictionary defines disparate as essentially different without comparison. Notice how I did not use the word desperate in the title (but disparate), as these are extraordinary times and we are wanting to maintain wellness- physically, mentally and emotionally – and develop flexibility.
You may have felt overwhelmed during this time, or are feeling overwhelmed currently. The principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy may be able to support you.
The main idea is that we want to come to accept that we are in disparate times, be willing to feel and experience emotions that the pandemic measures inspire, diffuse from unhelpful thoughts, and commit to focusing on what we are wanting and where we are going.
Acceptance is about coming to terms with what is. This pandemic and these measures are here and happening. We are having tons of difficult thoughts and feelings around this, and our lives have changed. We don’t like it. We’re not cool with it, yet this is what is. Can we accept this?
Willingness is a very subtle shift in relating to our experience, thoughts, and feelings. I imagine willingness as turning to greet something that is there, rather than continuing along and ignoring, fighting, running or hiding from what is there. Invite your feelings in.
Diffusing is about allowing thought to pass on by, and not getting caught up in or fused to particular thoughts (especially the fear-based, unhelpful ones you may be dealing with). Make a concerted effort to breathe and try to distance yourself from the thought. It will pass. And if it comes back, difuse from it again, and again, and again.
Redirect and focus on what you can do, and what you want. Do you want to have a nice day? How can you make it more enjoyable for yourself or your family. Sure things happen throughout the day, yet you can commit to your intention of a good day by continuing to come back to the good, again, and again.
Try out this process, or, if you want more, check out The Illustrated Happiness Trap book by Dr. Russ Harris. In addition to practicing the above steps, here are some activities you may wish to try.
Organize your devices (files, music, films, documents) and delete or store externally what you don’t need on hand
Start a blog – a creative way to let the people in your know what you are up to
Just be! So many people are learning languages or decorating their homes- this is wonderful, yet be sure to allow yourself to BE- read a book, take a nap, enjoy being home.
Breathe fresh air everyday (while maintaining social distance or respecting quarantine measures)
Cook nutritious, healthful foods
Start a Covid-19 visual journal to mark this time in your life. You’ll be able to share it with others (if you desire to) for years to come
Connect with loved ones that you live with, or virtually with others- set video call dates with friends that you would normally have over or go out with.
Trust that you will get through this time.
Sending you my good thoughts, and positive vibes. Be well all.