We all as individuals deal with a crisis in our own way. Given social distancing requirements enacted (to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19), there is even greater need in which to work out how as individuals we intend to manage ourselves with the challenges presented. With many individuals working from home, social isolation is a risk factor. Fortunately, with video and phone technology available there has remained opportunity in which to maintain connection with our friends, family and the community.
However, there is a need for some to reinvent or be creative as to how we meet our respective needs to maintain our well-being. For example, given gym closures, creating an exercise plan within a workable environment. Given scarcity of certain supermarket items, learning how to preserve certain foods, or making them in creative ways. For instance, you can make your own sanitizers using alcohol – you may have to trade off!
Coping mechanisms will be put to the test in a crisis. Learning how to self-regulate is an essential skill. Having a good relaxation practice (e.g. mindfulness, meditation, yoga) will be invaluable during these times.
Recognising your core needs and attending to them will require a regular process of checking in. For some, just meeting basic needs may be challenging – having a roof over your head, a meal to eat and getting sleep. In addition to basic needs (shelter, food, sleep) core needs also include freedom, fun, achievement and belonging.
Freedom may be limited in some ways (e.g. social distancing) but may also be enhanced in other ways (e.g. when you wake up, when and how you work, more time with the kids). Your perception of freedom will play a significant role in how you cope with things. If you are feeling engulfed this will increase your stress. Conversely if you recognise certain freedom in choices you will naturally feel freer.
Is fun something that happens to you or do you create it. If you’ve taken for granted certain things or people giving you fun then perhaps there is opportunity to manifest more fun in your life by getting creative. What inherently do you enjoy and how can you bring about more of that in your life. Make a list and act to create this!
Feeling empowered can come from many sources such as achieving something, being validated, engaging in things that bring meaning and purpose. Perhaps it’s time to study that course you’ve always put off, or complete that task that you’ve procrastinated over, or attend to that goal that you’ve been intending to do. This may be an opportune time to feel empowered.
To belong, is to feel connected. When you love someone or something you have a strong bond and it makes you feel that you’re not alone. Relationships may be strained under these circumstances. Negotiating and communicating healthily your respective needs will be essential to minimise conflict or distancing. This may be a time to really work on your communication skills and how you meet your needs. Evaluating your priorities, your values – to really connect with what’s important may be part of this journey.
More than any other time in modern history we share a common, global challenge that we are all dealing with – individually and collectively. So, reach out to your friends, family and community in creative ways. Give yourself to a greater purpose. Get support. Stay connected. Attend to your core needs. Nurture yourself and others. Be free in your perceptions and your actions. It’s true that as individuals we deal with a crisis in our own way, but we share a common need – to survive and to thrive.
Written by David Kalmar