Could it be possible that as an overly busy, work-addicted American, the Coronavirus quarantine could be used to help you personally find rest and healing? That’s my intention with this blog – to help you care for yourself, even just 1% more than you already do.
We have the painful and yet good opportunity to find new ways to soothe. I would say that the biggest starting point to try this is by validating your felt experience. In stress we regress, so would it feel possible to tell yourself, “Of course I look longingly at the extra toilet paper rolls in my local store, I have always tried to control or stockpile things that won’t fail me (IE are not human).” You might not do this normally (and if you do, it is still not cause for condemnation), but in trauma states we find ourselves grasping at anything that will help us survive. The invitation is to get just a little closer to being truly grounded, which really just means present to the moment. When we are present, we are not afraid to feel our feelings. When we are present, we can notice the fear in someone’s eyes and not be panicked into fixing it. When we are present, we can tune in to what will actually give us space and rest.
Further than validating our experiences, there are many tangible things you can do to stay in your body. Find therapists on Instagram doing deep breathing videos. Look at yoga studios offering free livestream classes (Kindness Yoga lets you do the first three free). Light a candle, incense, or sage and let that scent represent peace, security, or kindness to you in this scary time. Ultimately, all of these practices incorporate our physical bodies. And in states of collective trauma, we have to calm our bodies before we can do any deeper work. Sometimes, calming our bodies is all we can do.
As you likely spend more time alone and distanced from others than you have before, try tuning in to your body. Is your heart racing? Do you feel shallow in your breath? Does your stomach drop even as I invite you to try this? Do you feel absolutely nothing, indicating that you had to leave your body a long time ago? None of this is meant for judgment, it is all information telling you hints about how to care for yourself.
And ultimately that’s the point– learning how to care for yourself even in a time of crisis.
Tricia Ebel, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor with Grace Counseling, and is incredibly passionate about teaching her clients self care strategies and how to thrive in trying times. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Tricia, or any of our therapists, please call our front desk at 720-489-8555 or request an appointment here.