It would be an understatement to say the last few weeks have been filled with difficult emotions as we face a global crisis. As things change and uncertainty builds up, I believe that we need to find ways of staying hopeful, positive and somewhat uplifted, so that the fear and helplessness doesn’t consume us.
On the day that the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in South Africa, I had what felt like a panic attack. The news broke while I was at work and I immediately couldn’t breath. I panicked for my children, myself and our continent. I kept trying to take deep breaths, but I was struggling. I went outside for fresh air but was only to begin breathing normally later that afternoon on my drive home. The very first case is the one that broke me the most.
A truth we can’t deny is that all of us process things differently – especially when it comes to change and uncertainty. Upfront, I want to acknowledge that anything you feel is absolutely valid. You are entitled to those feelings and the different ways they show up. Maybe they come and go? Maybe they consume you day and night.
Give yourself the grace and space to feel and express those emotions to people that you trust and process them in a way that makes sense for YOU.
Find your people:
Your support system is going to be very important – that goes for getting support as well as giving support. As human-beings, we need others. You may not be able to see friends and family right now, but you can still connect with supportive people, that will be there for you when you are panicking or need reassurance.
Reframe your thinking:
We are all going through a hard time right now – but there will be some good opportunities that could come out of this?
What are the positives for you? What is this period teaching you? There are always positives:
- Spending more time with your children?
- The chance to slow down, being less rushed and “busy”?
- The opportunity to connect with your partner after a rough patch?
- The chance to think about your next career move?
Keep these top of mind on a bad day.
Do one thing that uplifts you everyday:
Take your mind off things by doing something that brings you a bit of joy. I’ve jotted down some ideas below:
- Practice deep breathing when you need a moment to calm down
- Cuddle with your children
- Play with your children outside
- Read or watch less news if they spike your anxiety
- Place positive affirmations around your work and living space
- Do a digital detox – fill your social media and email subscriptions with content that inspires you
- Read / draw / tend to your garden
- Know you triggers and build self awareness
- Bake or try new dishes in the kitchen
No matter what you are struggling with right now, we all have something to be grateful for. Find some quiet time at the end of your day to remind yourself of 5-10 things that are going RIGHT. Look for the silver-lining every day. This will soon become a habit and a great coping mechanism.
Take time to write a few of these in your journals a reminder. What has stood out for me during this time, is how blessed and priveledged I am. To be able to have a safe and secure home, groceries, medical aid, etc are HUGE things right now. I’m grateful.
Most of the impact we are all feeling right now, was out of our control. But going forward, we can try and regain some of that control through careful planning. Planning gives some people structure and stability, so if this is you, start thinking ahead.
Look at things like budgeting and saving – what is within your control for the short-to-medium term, that will bring you more stability now or in future.
Remember that this is temporary:
We don’t know how long the lockdown will last or how some of the economic, social and financial implications may impact us, but we know that some-day, this will pass.
Remind yourself that some good things will come out of this.
You are building resilience.
You are being stretched.
You are learning and re-learning some things about yourself. About the world.
We will get to a better place.
Take the chance and belief that you will make it. Stay hopeful.
“But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength” – 2 Timothy 4:17
What is keeping you hopeful during this time? What are you grateful for?
Let’s keep in touch on social media. I’m on Instagram and Facebook.
Modern Zulu Mom