COVID-19: how to keep going when you don’t know what’s next

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the coronavirus that is hitting a lot of us right now. If you’re in the United States, you might be experiencing a situation where your place of employment is shut down, your kids are now no longer going to school, there seem to be more deaths in the news every day, and you’re scared for your loved one’s health and safety.

Last Friday my work inbox was filled with emails about cancelling our sessions with students, meeting to create packets, questions concerning paychecks, outbreaks in the school systems, and pushed up deadlines for paperwork because nobody knew what was going on or what would happen.

I was feeling so stressed, overwhelmed, and worried for my family and our future.
But as I’ve gotten coached and coached myself this last week I realize that this is optional.

The COVID-19 pandemic is neutral.

It is a new and different thing that we are all working to process, but it isn’t creating our stress and worry, our thoughts are.

Some people might feel completely calm and unaffected by this and are living their lives as normal.

Others might be excited about the opportunity to work from home.

Maybe some are feeling annoyed that their trips are cancelled.

There is no right way to think about it. But fear and worry are feelings that keep us stuck and don’t create any positive results in our lives.

I noticed I have this thought, “My family and people I love could die from this”

This creates a feeling of worry which then causes me to look at the news to find more evidence of how this is hurting people, cry, think about how things could go wrong, wallow in regret and fear. Nothing that is helping me in this moment and just keeps me feeling bad.

The truth is that my family members and loved ones could pass away at any time. We all die at some point. I never knew what the future would be, even before the COVID-19 outbreak. None of us do.

So now I ask myself, “What can I do with this extra time I have?” or I think “I’ve always wanted more time, and now I have it.” I feel a sense of curiosity. Each day this week I have called my parents or texted them at least once. I feel more connected to them than I ever have before. I am working from home with Mike and I feel grateful when I think about this as an opportunity to connect better with people I love.

Notice what you’re thinking about this situation and be curious and have compassion for yourself. It is totally normal for our brains to go to the worst, but we don’t have to stay there.

What do you want to believe about yourself? You from the future who makes it through and is living her life and reaching her goals, what does she think about where you are right now? She knows that you can make it through and you’ll be stronger for it.

As always, I’m here to talk through your thoughts. Let’s find out how you can start feeling better now.

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