It’s likely been a rough week for you and those around you. Besides constant streams of news, you’re probably being bombarded with emails from all kinds of companies and organizations letting you know what they are doing to handle this current public health situation. Me, too.
I want to offer another window to see through… It is possible that some “good things” might come from this experience. I’m not dismissing what it feels like/seems like right now. And I also think the best things that might come in the near future from this distressing event depend a whole lot on our intentional, conscious use of the moment.
This idea struck me yesterday after opening yet another email from some company saying that they care so much for their consumers, and here’s how they’re demonstrating that concern… While, yes, these businesses are doing so partly to keep their business going, it’s also been kind of nice to hear so many expressions of “We’re all in this thing together.” There’s never been quite enough of that thought in this world.
So I added these thoughts to my own coping toolbox.
When I start to feel the tension in my neck, shoulders, and back that reflects my mind’s anxiety, I do a few things to restore myself to immune-boosting/restoring relative calm. I invite you to join me:
Imagine each emailed expression of solidarity with humanity as genuine. Take 3 seconds to conjure up images of actual people discussing and then writing those emails. Repeat any words to myself that are calming — things like “We’re going to get through this together. Yes.”
If you wish to add a very brief meditative practice to your immunity-building activities, try this — you can do this virtually anywhere, no need to find any special kind of place or time:
- Pull your vision away from any screen that may be in front of you. Let your gaze gently turn toward the ground, but keep your head erect.
- Straighten your posture by imagining the very top of your head is connected to the sky and being gently lifted upward. Move your shoulders down and slightly back, causing your chest to rise and move forward a little.
- If possible, flatten your feet (in shoes or not) to the ground. If not possible, at least try to uncross your legs and feet, and wiggle your toes.
- If possible, raise your arms briefly over your head and reach for the sky. If not, straighten your arms in front of you or down your sides, focusing on opening your hands wide, stretching your fingers. Then release your hands and arms.
- While you are doing the above slow, light, gentle movements, take a few slow, deep breaths and think to yourself:
- This is a moment in time. And here is another one. And another one.
- End your “session” (there’s no magic amount of time — do it as long as you want/can) by thinking to yourself:
We’re all learning to be human, together.
If you feel an immediate sense of dismissive scoffing (“This is BS. This won’t change a thing”), just let the thought be there and then drift away, maybe with a little “mm hm” and a friendly pat to your own head.
“Out of an abundance of caution” (there’s a phrase I’ve never heard more in my life than in the past 2 weeks), my Houston office colleagues have instituted some protective policies for our clients. You’ll find it on the wall when you come into the office, or you can download it here. And if you’re seeing me at my office in The Woodlands, feel free to take similar actions (like washing your hands when you arrive), but we haven’t hung the policy on the wall there.
If you have a session scheduled in the next two weeks, please look in your email for a Client Portal link to a document called “In Case of an Emergency During Video or Phone Sessions (Telehealth)” — If you choose to reschedule your in-person session to make it by video or phone, I’m asking that you read over and complete the form before your session. It’s not related to the current public health situation, but is a state requirement of any health care professional (including mental health) to have clients complete such a form.
Linking arms with you from here,