As cities and counties across the country are opening back up, we are faced with different challenges and decisions about how to move forward. Many of us are transitioning from survival mode to navigating a new world with no timeline for getting back to normal. In truth, there's really no "back to normal." Many widespread changes in light of COVID-19 are here to stay, and even if everything were to be exactly the same pre-virus, the imprint it has made on our lives, our families and our communities has forever altered us.
The fear, anxiety, and judgement that often come along with change is expected; we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves about those thoughts and feelings. What we can do is recognize when they come up, accept them, and allow ourselves to feel them. The goal isn't to not feel, it's to not stay stuck in those feelings so that they overwhelm us.
This recognition takes practice. We aren't used to stopping and thinking about how we negatively react to a situation, we often accept our reaction as "That's just who I am." But an automatic reaction is usually a habit, not an expression of who we really are. By breaking the habit, then, we can alter our reaction in a way that better serves us, and those around us.
A quick, popular way to interrupt the habit is to tune into our bodies when we're in that feeling. Is my breathing shallow? Are my shoulders tense? Is my jaw locked? Immediately we can relax our bodies and breathe deeper. Even those simple actions can disrupt our reflex so we can respond vs. simply react.
Beyond that simple exercise, there are many other ways to deepen this practice. Things like meditation, journaling and EFT (tapping) can all help. Here are some I've tried personally and feel good about recommending: