All around the world countries are in lockdown in a bid to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 virus. We find ourselves coming to terms with this collective experience. In this short article, I would like to share some insights, inspirations, and suggestions for coping well in this extraordinary and strange time.
Tips for coping
Developing structure and routine
Strangely in lockdown, many of us have been given the gift of time.
In a recent article published in the New York Times, astronaut Scott Kelly offered some excellent advice on putting structure and routine into your day, including fixing a time to get up and bedtime. Having structure is helpful for our wellbeing and can offer a sense of purpose for both adults and children. There is an element of security and safety in a routine. Where possible, create some boundaries of workspace/home space and allow yourself and children time off.
Joy and Play
Allow time for joy and play. This feature of the human condition has manifested in the exponential growth of online kindness groups coming up like spring flowers and the outpouring of multiform and multimedia creative outlets and ways of expression. These expressions have taken the form of online singing and music-making, online art classes, ukulele playing classes to online meditation sessions across the globe. New possibilities continue to arise, as human beings endeavor to express themselves and connect with each other.
Communicate and Connect
Share stories of all kinds. This is an opportunity to connect deeply with our loved ones. If we are not in isolation with them, video calls are indeed a gift. In the absence of technology, children can be encouraged to write letters, send drawings to their grandparents, cousins, Uncles and Aunts.
In relation to communication, limit talking about the lockdown or the virus. In particular avoid talking about it in worried, anxious ways in the presence of young children – who in turn will model anxious adult behavior.
Accept and acknowledge
Work towards accepting how you truly feel. On the days you feel sad, angry or frustrated, sit with those feelings for a little time. Give yourself a hug. And when you are ready, let go. Diary writing or journaling is another option, in particular on the difficult days where you feel you have had enough. Both our physical and mental wellbeing needs to be prioritised, especially under our current circumstances.
Look for inspiration in each day. Take time to observe the exceptional courage, bravery and self-sacrifice of others: nurses, doctors, paramedics to those who deliver food, serve in the remaining food stores, the pharmacists and those who continue to keep communal spaces clean. The heart fills up with gratitude that cannot be truly expressed in words. The Italian children who drew pictures of rainbows with the caption ‘Everything will be alright’, the opera singers on the balconies are so touching and truly inspirational. Imagine all these acts of human kindness that we have witnessed and those that are there but hidden. We are sharing a collective experience of hope for our human family, realising the innate goodness of the human heart
Plug into your local or global community. There are neighborhood WhatsApp groups, online coffee meetings, parent support groups, etc. The list is endless. Forums exist to help and support the needy in our communities. Depending on our skills we can offer practical support to others.
One example is provided by the global Heartfulness meditation community of which I am a part. It gives me a unique sense of unity and oneness. Both daily and weekly we are sitting in our homes meditating together.
It is wondrous to witness the ability human beings have to adapt and find creative solutions, thriving under difficult and restricted circumstances. To instill a sense of meaning, we must look to create more structure in our daily lives, allowing time for joyful, playful activities. We must also recognise the importance of communication and our ability to connect in whatever forms are available to us. Perhaps above all else, we must exercise greater acceptance of how we feel from day to day, and allow ourselves time to process it. This could be through diary writing, experience of silence or the practice of meditation. Find inspiration in each day and reach out to local and global communities. We are as one human family living in extraordinary times.
RJ Carmen, 28 March 2020
Guided visualisations and relaxation for children https://www.heartfulness.uk/primaryschools/
www.heartfulness.org and www.heartfulnessinstitute.org