Holy Cow- the world is going through something…
Corona Virus (COVID19) has come into our lives fast and furiously. It snuck up on the United States and all other countries of the world without the slightest warning. It has turned the life of every single human being in this world upside down. The way we think, the way we live our lives and the way that we care for our family and friends has changed.
I could sit here and say that change should be easy and that we should embrace change; and welcome it with open arms. That would be easy. For most people, that is simply not the case. If you are someone that adapts easily to change, wears a smile on their face at all times and is always optimistic, cherish that. For most, there is a certain level of underlying anxiety about the current state of the world and it is difficult to keep it locked away.
If you are someone that is feeling the stress and having difficulty focusing on daily life, keep reading. If you fall into the other category and have it all under control, keep reading too. This stuff is really applicable to everyday life and consider that by learning about it, you could help someone else.
One of the interventions that I use with clients is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It is an action-oriented approach to life’s problems. Through ACT, clients are encouraged to bring awareness, and embrace their thoughts and feelings, rather than fighting them or feeling guilty. Then, through action steps, solve problems and create relief. In other words, finding ways to no longer be limited in actions by our own negative feelings.
If you are still following me, I am going to provide an example of how to do this specifically in relation to COVID19. Dr. Russ Harris is a medical doctor, psychotherapist and author from Australia and a world-renowned ACT trainer. He has developed a clear method to FACE COVID.
F= Focus on what’s in your control
A= Acknowledge your thoughts & feelings
C= Come back into your body
E= Engage in what you’re doing
C= Committed Action
O= Opening Up
I= Identify Resources
D= Disinfect & distance
FACE: We tend to feel out of control when our opponent is larger and unpredictable. Consider all the things that you do have control of in your life. Control of your routine, control of the food you feed your family, and control of how you take care of your body. Then, when a thought that feels “out of control” enters your mind; acknowledge it, say “hey, what’s up.” Then send it along its way. Those “out of control” thoughts do not need to hang around and occupy space all day. This can be difficult to do for the first few times, so to make sure that it is happening, bring awareness to your body and how it feels. Can you notice your breathing or the fact that you are sweating? If so, good. Move on and go back to cutting up your vegetables like you started. If not, use your basic senses to bring your attention back to the present.
COVID: Come up with a game plan. Make a schedule for the day to kill time, stick to it. Go through that to-do list or goals list and create an action plan to get it done. Read those books that are sitting on your shelf; gathering dust because you impulse bought them on Amazon, or you can spring clean or organize your closet. Set each day up for success with action items. Self- Care is not an option at this point. What does self-care look like for you? Don’t know? Spend some time and define it. Some examples of this could be; getting the proper amount of sleep, eating clean, getting outside (responsibly) and going for a walk, doing your nails, or taking a bath. Once you are calm, decide where you stand morally on the issues at hand and practice what you believe. If some of these steps are difficult to move through, use your resources. Talk to a family member, loved one, or even to a therapist (we are all doing distance therapy at this point) and figure out how to get through this time and come out on the other end feeling stronger. Lastly, maintain your distance, listen to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO), know the signs and symptoms of COVID19 and wash your hands.
Again, if you are feeling overwhelmed by these steps and are having a difficult time coping with the uncertainty of our society. Send me an email, and we can set up a time to dive further into this. Thank you for reading.
 Harris, R. (2020). Face Covid: How to respond effectively to the Corona crisis. Retrieved from https://www.actmindfully.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/FACE-COVID-eBook-by-Russ-Harris-March-2020.pdf