For everyone’s physical health, STAYING HOME is the new normal for many people right now. And if you’re among the many, essential service workers, I give you acknowledgement and thank you for your bravery.
There’s no doubt it is a challenging time, and we’re facing a massive changing situation the world has never seen before on this scale. Unprecedented is hardly an adequate description for it. But it is a shared experience and because of that I see an opportunity. I’m not the first to say it.
“In every crisis lies an opportunity.”
We are in the space between the old way of being and the possibility of new. To those of you who are staying home, I’d like to offer you a few of the opportunities or gifts I see that we could learn during this time.
Enforced mindfulness—There are only so many ways to escape or distract ourselves at home. Practice awareness to learn to stay present to what you are feeling and experiencing, so that you can then learn to ground and calm yourself without seeking to escape.
Do this by paying attention. Slow down if you notice you’re getting upset or emotional. Breathe, take a walk or just move your body. Talk to someone you love, journal, or sit in stillness.
Grounding yourself means using all your senses. Notice what you’re seeing, touching (for example, the chair that is supporting you), smelling, hearing and tasting. Focus on this moment.
More time—I’m sure everyone at some point in the past has complained there’s not enough time to get things done… well here it is. Having so much time though can sort of leave us without direction. It takes a conscious effort to take action. What have you wanted to do, to learn? What’s one action you can take today towards that? No matter how small, one action today will lead to more and before you know it you’re building momentum and well on your way.
Reflection/self-understanding—Re-evaluate what’s important to you. Where do you want to spend/invest your time? Who are you being in life and who do you want to be? What do you want your life to look like a year from now, 5 or 10 years from now?
Intentions/Values/GPS—How do you want to be through this stressful time? What would you like to create in your life? Do this by reaching out to connect with others. Express gratitude. Practice kindness (to yourself as well). What health practices would you like to improve; sleep, movement, nutrition, hydration, breath work? Practice more joy; do things purely for pleasure rather than growth, work or other reasons.
Hobbies—What brings you happiness? Now is a great time to practice and improve your skills. Or teach yourself a brand-new skill! Whatever you want to learn you’re bound to find an online course, YouTube videos to watch and learn. Or perhaps your hobby is one that allows you to produce and create; knitting, painting, cooking. Whatever you produce, if there’s a market for it and you produce enough you may even create a new income stream.
Self care—Looking after yourself in ways you might not have in the past is a great way to use your time and energy. Find ways to eat better (this could be learning new recipes), move more, create stillness, or practice reaching out to others for more connection.
Giving—With our normal routines disrupted, and jobs lost, there’s time to volunteer. Giving to others is the best way to regain a sense of purpose. It feels good to serve others, to use our time to be helpful. Even if you’re staying home, there are ways to serve. Help others find the resources they need online. Reach out to seniors or others and connect by phone. Using your time to give to others also keeps you connected.
These are just some of the gifts people are experiencing during this forced pause in our ‘normal’ lives. There are many more, such as focused family time, reconnecting with out-of-town friends and family via online video calls, neighbour connections (from 6 ft away or more!), and expressions of gratitude for essential workers in healthcare, emergency preparedness, retail and the supply chain. Share the gifts you’ve experienced in the comments below.
Liz Coleman, RTC, is a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor based in Surrey, BC. She specializes in anxiety, anger, insecurity, and relationship problems. If you have any questions about this article or would like to schedule an appointment, please call Ms. Coleman at (604) 809-8947 or use the convenient form on her Contact page.