In order to support our families and friends with this difficult time, one of our current parents, Laura García Beltrán, who also happens to be a coach and short-term strategic therapist, has written some advice and tips!
We hope this helps you through this tricky time!
Managing the Coronavirus
Coronavirus is a reality. It is a test for everyone. During these weeks, we have been overwhelmed by the news, the recommendations from all kinds of experts and about everything, finally ordering us to stay home until further notice. We have never before been faced with anything similar. We must stop seeing our families and friends, and instead be at home 24/7 with our children. Stop our work life at immediately. Being confined seems like the best strategy to stop mass infection and avoid saturating the health systems of our countries. However, there are no certainties. This uncertainty, that invades the body and the mind, is accompanied by certain sensations (physical and psychological) that are totally natural in a context like the one we are experiencing. However, this does not mean that they cannot be managed. On the contrary, we can learn to “ride” them with patience, so that they do not control us. If we are to do so, it is important to accept and normalize them as part of this experience.
Some of the sensations that we can experience during confinement might include
irritability, a sudden urge to cry, a feeling of hopelessness and sadness, accelerated heartbeat, suffocation and shortness of breath, inability to manage the information from the media, poor concentration, extreme fear of infection for ourselves and for our families, a fear of going outside, or a feeling of disconnection.
Before continuing, it is important to emphasize that each one of us, as human beings, are unique. None of us experience sensations the same way as others. Our sensory channel is unique to us as individuals. For this reason, it is impossible to give you a magic recipe to deal with all the negative sensations felt by any one individual. The idea is for you to take this information and adapt it to you, to your routines and your particular context.
One of the most complicated recommendations to follow in difficult times is to “be positive”. If this were possible then this wouldn’t be a difficult time right now, and you wouldn’t be reading these lines. For this reason, from a strategic perspective I want to propose an exercise that will invite our minds to travel on an alternative journey from the “traditional”. The end objective is that you feel more positive, but without falling into the voluntary effort of wanting to, which is precisely what blocks you from being able to do so.
Let us begin.
We cannot suppress the coronavirus. Like it or not, it is the reality. However, we can choose how to live with it on a daily basis. In this way, the exercise that I want to propose is a theoretical question, one which we can ask ourselves every morning. The question is as follows: “If I wanted to worsen (instead of improve) my current situation, of being at home all day without being able to leave, what would I have to do or stop doing? How would I have to live? How would we have to think or stop thinking voluntarily about our situation; today at home due to the health emergency that we are experiencing.
Obviously, it is a theoretical question, one which belongs to a very old logic that says that to straighten something, we must first find all the ways to twist it further.”
Here I will leave you a list which I made this morning of examples of how to I could make my day worse:
-Read the news about the coronavirus all day without even checking if it comes from real sources and continuously talk about it.
-Stay all day in my pajamas, sitting on the sofa feeling sorry for my situation.
-Pretend that my children are adults and will/can behave like me.
-Pretend that I can continue working the same hours and at the same pace as I am used to.
-Pretend that I can keep the house perfectly tidy and clean all day.
-Disconnect from the people I love and those who make me laugh.
-Try to ignore the overwhelming feelings of anguish that come to me throughout the day, as if nothing has happened.
-Put the children to bed late and feel that I don’t have an “adult” time before I go to sleep.
We cannot change what is happening. We can only follow the precautions that
health experts give us. However, we can choose how to live our lives at home. What
we eat, the movements we make and in general all our day-to-day actions inside the house. Furthermore, we are facing a worldwide health emergency. We’re confined at home and the uncertainness about the future is permeated in the air. It is totally natural to feel physical sensations such as shortness of breath, racing heart, and sudden desires to cry. When stress mechanisms are activated in our body, our almost automatic intention is to try and to cancel these reactions: “try not to feel them”. However, the more we try to get rid of them, the more they invade and overwhelm. Avoid fighting them, accept them and live with them, this is part of accepting the situation and what is happening. If in this process of daily acceptance, we felt that the intensity of our feelings is so high that we cannot control them, it is best to ask for professional help.
Ultimately, we are all in this together. There are things that we alone cannot control, like freely leaving the house, nor the spread of the virus. However, we can always choose how we face our day.
In closing, I would like to tell you a story from Milena Busquets. Once upon a time in a faraway place, a mighty emperor, clever and compassionate, decided one day to gather together all the sages of the kingdom, all the philosophers, all the mathematicians, all the scientists, and all the poets and he said: “I want a short phrase, that works in all possible circumstances, always.” The wise people met and spent months thinking. Finally, they came back and and presented their phrase to the emperor. They told him, we have the phrase and it is the following: “This too shall pass… “