Relationships: Living in close quarters during COVID-19 can be a challenge
Some of us have approached the collective quarantine of the last few months in a Jean-Paul Sartre “No Exit” kind of way — “Hell is other people” — or embraced a more John Donne “No Man Is an Island” philosophy. Most of us have probably been doing a little of both.
Hell, at times, can be other people, especially when you’re trying to work and certain daughters are nostalgia-watching an old video in which kids march around 1970s-era Disneyland singing. And singing and singing. (Granted, it’s a very low level of hell, like a starter level for beginners. But still.) At the same time, we need others, and we thrive as part of a community.
These last months spent sheltering-in-place have turned our homes into equal parts workplace, home school, fitness center, sourdough bakery and streaming movie theater. And while work calls, Zoom meetings and deadline crunches require more quiet than usual, beginner tuba practice requires everyone else to take a long walk or find some other way to deal.
We’ve all coped somehow.
But if you’re looking for new ways to thrive — and not just survive — during an international time out with no endpoint in sight, these experts have some suggestions.
Connect with nature
Some beaches and parks have yet to reopen — or social-distancing parking restrictions make visits difficult. But neighborhoods are always open, and you’re free (six feet away free, at least) to wander and look up to behold the trees and the sky. So take the time to at least micro-dose a little nature.
“There are simple things you can do. Just five minutes outside can shift your brain and bring you back to center,” says Sara Schulting-Kranz, a life coach, certified wilderness guide and author of “Walk Through This: Harness the Healing Power of Nature and Travel the Road to Forgiveness.” “I go out into my backyard and take a few minutes to sit in the sun. When I take my dog to the park, I take my shoes off and sit down for a few minutes and just let myself be home with the Earth.”
In this moment, it’s OK
“I’m a coach — I feel like I’m pretty mentally strong. I have a lot of tools in the toolbox. But by last night, I just felt totally broken,” says Elizabeth Pearson, an Orange County executive career and mindset coach for women. Pearson, after a bathtub crying moment, remembered Eckhart Tolle’s teachings on staying in the present.
“I took it as a sign that I needed to really try to remain in the present moment. I think that this fear that everybody’s feeling is a projection of what could happen in the future. One good thing we can do is acknowledge those moments when we’ve gone into projecting into the future and just bring it back to ‘Is everything okay right now?’”
Answer: Yeah. Pretty much.
If you’re having a bathtub crying moment, refocus with the G.R.A.C.E. mnemonic developed by psychotherapist Leah MacPherson.
Gratitude: Count your blessings — literally. Find three things to be grateful for daily.
Routine: A routine can be comforting in times of uncertainty. Keep a regular sleep schedule and plan a consistent routine with times for work and pleasure.
Activity: Get your rear end off that chair. It’ll help keep you fit and boost your mood.
Creativity: Paint, sing, dance, build. Feed your soul.
Engagement: Stay connected with friends and family and reach out to others who may feel isolated.
Look for the helpers
“This reminds me of 9/11, when there was so much uncertainty in the world and you saw a lot of ugliness. But you also saw a lot of beauty and coming together,” says Sarah Baker, a Los Angeles area life coach. “Try focusing on that versus focusing on the guy taking all the berries at Trader Joe’s. I can’t do anything about him, but I can support my neighbor who’s at home sewing masks for local hospitals.”
She scores an emotional twofer by delivering the masks and getting alone time on her motorcycle.
Other options? Call a friend. Contact older neighbors and offer to shop for them. Donate blood.
“We got chalk,” Pearson says, “and we went down to this jogging path in front of our house and wrote messages like ‘You’re awesome,’ ‘You’re doing great,’ ‘You’re loved.’ I felt like it made a shift in our whole family, like ‘We’re going to be positive and put some positive energy out there.”
Learn to speak love languages
We all prefer to give and receive love in one or a combination of five ways, says Gary Chapman, the best-selling author of “The Five Love Languages.” Those languages include words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch.
In my family, we’ve used this wisdom to better comfort each other. My oldest daughter offers hugs when someone’s distressed (physical touch). Her sister is not into being touched — at all — but wants to hang out (quality time).
There’s an element of the “Gift of the Magi” here, because the oldest daughter needs a lot of alone time, and lots of quality time is like a nightmare to her. This all dawned on us the other night, and they’re working it out. They realized both like acts of service, so they’ll draw each other foot baths or bake a batch of cookies to show the other one love.
Try the Serenity Prayer
The serenity prayer used in 12-step programs is a helpful mantra for any time of crisis: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
“It’s about realizing where to draw that line and trying to relinquish the control,” says Baker. “We’ve got six rolls of the toilet paper left because I didn’t go out and hoard it months ago. But you know what? It’ll show up. And if not, I’ve got T-shirts, bleach and a washing machine. It’s fine.”
Published at Wed, 24 Jun 2020 16:30:33 +0000, source Relationships: Living in close quarters during COVID-19 can be a challenge.