One night when I was a young boy, I woke up from a deep sleep and noticed legs sticking out from under my dresser. My heart stopped. Who was it?!? My heart beat so fast my body trembled.
“THERE’S A MURDER UNDER MY DRESSER!” I thought.
There was only one thing to do. Having watched The A-Team every week, I had rehearsed countless times for a moment just such as this! I stood on my bed, took a running leap out the door, and performed a textbook swat team roll down the hallway to the safety of my parent’s room. Hannibal would have been proud!
My parents came in and turned on the lights to find under the dresser the pair of pants I had worn earlier that day. It wasn’t a murderer after all! Just a dirty pair of jeans! Sigh.
It’s amazing what happens when we shed a little light on the subject. Isn’t it?
Today, there is a monster lurking in our midst…the Corona Virus. There is still not enough light to shine on this monster to feel safe yet (although we could discuss the differences in viruses and how this became a pandemic). We only know for certain we haven’t seen anything like this in our lifetime. So the world is in a panic and justifiably so!
So we are the little child on the bed summoning the courage to take a swat team roll down the hallway into the safe arms of loving parents.
So what do we do?
If you’ve paid attention, you know what to do. You get a dozen emails a day from various organizations that all say the same thing, so I will spare you another. Do those things to increase your odds to avoid contracting the virus.
What do we do about anxiety, fear, anger, and other intense emotions?
Now there is a different story! Here are some practical things you can do until the light is turned on and we know where we stand:
- Practice deep breathing. Take 10 deep breaths 3 times a day (or every hour on the hour!). Focus on the air going in and out. Breathe in deeply for seven seconds. Use your diaphragm fully. Hold the breath for two or three seconds, which allows time for calming chemicals to reach your brain. Release the air slowly for eleven seconds while relaxing the tension muscles in your body. Deep breathing is the best antidote for anxiety.
- Practice gratitude. Write down 10 things each day for which you are grateful. VERY SPECIFIC things like a smile, something that made you laugh, a cool breeze, a chance to relax, and the like. Gratitude is the best antidote for depression.
- Practice giving. A worldwide pandemic offers many opportunities to give. Share toilet paper if you have extra. Run errands for those quarantined. Give to other organizations who are helping. Giving to others helps you stay socially connected with others in ways that won’t violate social distancing. For more read this blog.
- Practice laughing and smiling. Laughing and smiling produce positive chemicals like oxytocin in your brain. There is nothing like positivity when everything else around you seems bleak. YOU NEED OXYTOCIN.
- Practice paying attention to small things. For more information read this blog.
Follow these suggestions for emotional regulation. You will have a better glimpse of the pants under the dresser, even before the light is turned on. Practice these techniques daily as your survival guide through the chaotic emotions during a chaotic period in our history.
Prepare for that swat team roll out of this mess down the hallway, where you will surely hear Hannibal say, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
In the meantime, if you need teletherapy or an immune boost of vitamins, reach out to us here at Revitalist.