By Jo Mooy
The coronavirus has left us vulnerable, frightened and spinning without any ground—but we can practice self-care to restore ourselves and bring balance to our emotional state.
“Chaos shakes up the mission of the righteous.”The quote, found in an old journal, could have been a headline for these days of lingering uncertainty. Six months ago the “mission” was so clear and our endeavors so very “righteous.” All over the world, people were linking hearts and hands in various causes to bring love and light to the planet. We were sure of our collective destiny and we were firm in our commitment to its success.
That was before a virus descended like a thunderbolt out of clear blue skies, creating an unprecedented new normal. It shattered all sense of safety and resolve. It left us vulnerable, frightened and spinning without any ground. We’re a social species, needing to see, touch, hug and talk with others. We can’t do that anymore because distancing is part of the new normal.
Six months into the pandemic I sensed a seismic change in the attitudes of different groups on social media. Individuals who were normally bright and cheerful were now sullen or angry. I polled one group with 108 members, asking: “How is everyone doing?” Within a few hours 80 responded to the question. A few said they were fine. Most were not okay, which was a refreshingly honest assessment on how they were dealing with the unfamiliar pandemic.
The members were experiencing emotional ups and downs. One described the experience like a “yo-yo or riding the biggest roller coaster ever.” Quite a few said they were okay one day, then the following day they were depressed, exhausted, lonely or generally out of sorts. Most had to adapt to the current conditions because they lived alone. Nature walks helped. Reaching out to family and friends on Zoom or through other electronic means allowed others to have a semblance of personal contact. Quite a few were grateful for spiritual practices and daily meditation that helped to keep their sanity.
With such a high number responding to the simple question, “How is everyone doing?” it’s clear that everyone is affected by the virus. Even the leaders in the community were having bouts of anger, fear, anxiety and even depression. One announced to her followers that she was “signing off and stopping all communications, written or verbal, until she got her bearings back.” She told me she was unable to advise others right now from the place she was in. This spiritual leader has a vast international and domestic audience. What she did took great courage, as it impacts her livelihood. But she was determined to take care of herself regardless of the ramifications. The point of this is to say YOU ARE NOT ALONE! What you’re going through is happening, in one way or another, to everyone else.
What Should You be Doing?
I intuitively sense that COVID-19 won’t be over for the foreseeable future. The conditions it’s caused on our collective psyche will also continue. The usual suggestions are to meditate daily or do spiritual practices or activities. Meditation continues to be a great centering and calming influence on the psyche. Mindful breathing stills the crazies racing around in the mind and allows one to focus on the peaceful state it brings. But if you’re unable to do that, try a different approach.
Self-care is a way to restore yourself or bring balance to your emotional state. It can be done quite easily through these practices:
1) Limit the amount of time you spend on social media. Don’t go down the rabbit hole.
2) Do NOT watch the news. You can keep up with headlines that come in to your phone or computer, then choose whether or not you’ll read the details.
3) Be aware of what causes your emotions to rise up. Loneliness and isolation can be a trigger.
4) Take a personal time-out
A time-out is a healthy approach to self-care. Leave whatever situation you’re in that’s causing distress. It may be something you saw on social media or a news headline. It could be a disagreeable phone call. Whatever it is, remove yourself quickly. Put no judgment on the situation or your removal from it. Just change the view.
This is a simple technique that works wonders. Take the time-out and go watch a movie—no matter the day or the hour. It immediately leads you into a different story. Or read a good novel. Both the movie or the book should be total escapism—nothing serious. It will change the mood. Another activity is to take an afternoon nap. It works like a pleasant restorative and gives you permission to step away from the uproar around you. Whatever you decide, do something—ANYTHING—that will break the cycle of despair or negative thoughts and ease the emotional ups and downs.
Remember when our mission was clear and righteous? It still is. You Are Not Alone! We’re all in this together until the virus disappears. In the meantime, be kind to each other. Reach out to someone hurting and be there for them. One day it will end.
Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Along with Patricia Cockerill, she has guided the Women’s Meditation Circle since January 2006 where it has been honored for five years in a row as the “Favorite Meditation” group in Sarasota, FL, by Natural Awakenings Magazine. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to http://www.starsoundings.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.