Hope and Encouragement in Unprecedented Times:
Three Ways to Take Control
Uncertainties exist all over the world. When will daily life will be back to normal? When can we resume activities and make plans? Routines are disrupted. People have lost jobs, been forced to reduce work hours, or are now working remotely. School-age children are now home all day and wonder what a return to school looks like. The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all in some way.
These changes can lead to helplessness, confusion, and loss of control. These are new feelings for those who had the illusion of generally being in control. For those who had already been feeling helpless before the current circumstances, these feelings are intensified. The questions, what-ifs, and wishful thinking go on. This loss of control can lead to confusion, anger, grief, and anxiety. If we fail to take a step back, these negative emotions will continue to build and may spiral out of control. Perhaps it already has reached this point.
What is in your control? A LOT! I would like to offer hope and encouragement through the 3 H’s (and it’s not handwashing this time, but we all need to do that): health, helping others, and being in the here and now. Although you may not have control of all aspects of these areas, there are some parts that you do.
- Health. We make health-related decisions daily, from what we eat, when we go to bed, to whether we exercise. We have the power, control, and choice to affect our health. Whether it is making sure we go for a daily walk or drink 60 ounces of water each day, we can make positive choices. For those of us who are caretakers, it is important to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others.
- Helping others. Donating money, items, or time to charities is helpful and important. Being there for a family, friend, or coworker, or reaching out to someone who may be too afraid to ask for help also go a long way. Offering encouragement or a compliment could make a person’s week and you may not even know it! You have the power to choose whom, how, and when to help. Helping others improves wellbeing and provides a sense of purpose in life.
- Here and now. This is being in the present. We have control over how we respond in the moment and what we focus on. Meditation and focused breathing are examples.
Another example is grounding. If you are feeling like things are not real or feel dizzy or disconnected, then focus on what objects are physically near you. Touch and name them and remind yourself that you have control. It is okay.
Finally, here and now is also being present by actively listening to and engaging with whoever is with us. Put your smartphones down, tune out the noise, and be in the here and now.
The 3 H’s will help you gain control and balance by reaching the physical, cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of our wellbeing. Remember the 3 H’s: health, helping others, and being in the here and now. I challenge you to do one thing in each of these areas each day. If it is too overwhelming, start with one. You can do it. If you start to do this, you will reduce anxiety, increase your feeling of calm, and improve your experience of peace. You have a lot of control, more than you realize. We will all get through this together.
Carrie Champ Morera, PsyD, NCSP, LP
September 15, 2020
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