These are scary times, friends. And in times of uncertainty, like we are all facing right now with the coronavirus pandemic, fear and unrest are sure to set in. Our hearts beat faster, our minds race, and our breathing goes shallow. This high-stress, anxiety focus is our new collective reality. Or is it? What if we could shift our mindset towards one of hope and instead choose to find gifts of COVID-19? It’s possible. And it’s a choice. One that we’ll all have to make over and over again.
Dena Jansen, speaker, author, and coach, joined us to share her emotional journey with the disease and what gifts she’s found from the upheaval of what used to be our “normal lives.” Initial reflections of her experiences include attempting to digest all the news through all the outlets (TV, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), but this only left her feeling the emotional weight from stockpiling stories and information.
Dena believes there is a healthy balance to be found between being educated and informed and overloaded with data that can block our hearts and minds. She decided to distance herself from social media and instead have designated times and sources she went to for up to date information to help her make responsible decisions for herself and her family. She replaced scrolling with a morning and afternoon walk in nature. She was riding a rollercoaster of emotions from fear and paranoia to calm and collected. Once Dena found the connection between increased scrolling and increased internal distress levels, she decided she needed to make a change.
Dena believes the emotional highs and lows are 100% normal and to be expected, but is working towards the goal to flatten the emotional curve and find a steadier state of well-being so she can care for herself and her family. The gifts she’s found through the journey so far that she thinks applies to us all: A time to focus on what truly matters. For Dena, connecting with her family is a guiding core value in her life. This unexpected time together with her middle-schoolers has been a gift she will grab hold of and work to create lasting memories. Whether it’s with family, friends, coworkers, or community members, be sure and know who and what matters to you personally and make sure you continue to connect and contribute in meaningful ways. An opportunity to devote time and energy to self-care and to model it for our children. We are just beginning into what could be months of a new norm. And with that change, will come emotional fatigue. Taking care of ourselves is a gift and one that we can pass down to the next generation.
So, whether it’s taking deep breaths, getting up and out into nature, or creating things, take care of yourself and encourage your family and friends to find what self-care looks like to them and to grant themselves times, space and grace through challenging times. A chance to gain confidence in using discernment and establishing personal boudaries.
Even though coronavirus is a global pandemic, we are still living our own individual lives. We must make our own decisions on what is safe, responsible, and healthy for ourselves and our families. Use this time as a chance to hone in on what your gut and intuition are saying is right for you and your family based on the information from qualified experts; that is discernment in action. Then hold tight to boundaries you set, knowing that this is good practice for other areas of your life where you need to set clear expectations for yourself and others.
In the end, we are in unchartered territory and will be for the foreseeable future. But if we can come at COVID-19 with a spirit of hope and curiosity, Dena is confident that we will all come out as stronger individuals, families, and communities in the end.