I hope this finds you safe and healthy during this challenging time. In the midst of the uncertainty we each face, I wanted to reach out and offer what support I can, as well as share some valuable free resources I have come across.
We are certainly in remarkable times, with many shared and unique challenges arising for each of us. I wanted to normalize some of the difficult and intense emotions that I have recently witnessed in my clients, my community, and also myself. Understandably, many people are experiencing anxiety, fear, lack of control, feeling surreal, and stress, just to name a few. This is so normal in a time of such uncertainty and rapid change, especially as so many areas of ‘normal life’ are impacted simultaneously.
In addition to new stressors introduced by the pandemic, I have also found that it is not uncommon for old traumas to resurface for people during this time. This can manifest as feeling helpless, fearful of being alone, or fearful of scarcity, abandonment, or being physically unsafe and/or at risk. Although this can be incredibly painful and uncomfortable, it is not unusual for latent and under-the-surface trauma(s) to be triggered during such a big disruption to our lives and known ways of being in the world.
One of my teachers, Dick Schwartz, suggested that the coronavirus and mandatory confinement have the capacity to be great tor-mentors. Our experiences of this pandemic, and it's inherent hardships, can easily and understandably provoke wounds, fears, and defences in need of our caring attention. Difficult and scary as this can be, this moment can also be an invitation for deeper awareness, reflection, and transformation.
I hold strong in the belief that during times of great hardship or change, we are also challenged to dig deep within ourselves to discover inner strength, resilience, and healing that we did not yet know existed, or have not yet had to access in this way.
I hope that in response to the uncertainty we find ourselves in, we can continue to cultivate wisdom and compassion, feel and honour our feelings as they arise, take good care of our mental and emotional health, focus on what we can control, and connect safely with loved ones and community. And, of course, offer ourselves lots of kindness, love, and patience for what we, and those around us, are experiencing.
And for those moments when things just feel hard and overwhelming, holding compassion for this, too!
I will be posting some additional meditations, resources, and blogs to my website in the coming weeks, so if you would like to stay connected with this then please check back in.
COVID-19 Resources for Support (All Free!)
· My friend and colleague Sarah Domes, a yoga therapist in Vancouver, has just offered free access to hundreds of guided meditation and yoga videos during this time. You can find many fabulous guided yoga, breathing, relaxation, and meditation videos here:
· A free half-day meditation retreat online with Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, and Trudy Goodman
· Jack Kornfield: Compassion in the Time of Coronavirus
· Meditation Apps: Insight Timer, Headspace, and Calm are some excellent ones for mindfulness, self-compassion, meditation, and guided practice.
Mental Health Resouces: Articles, Exercises, & Podcasts:
· The Greater Good Science Center of UC Berkley has published a Guide to Wellbeing during Coronavirus: Practices, resources, and articles for individuals, parents, and educators facing COVID-19.
· Dr. Jud Brewer, a psychiatrist & neuroscientist specializing in mindfulness and healthy habits, offers 'Coronavirus daily anxiety updates' videos:
Articles about Mental health support:
· Coronavirus and Tips for Managing Anxiety:
· Mental Health in Self-Isolation:
· My brilliant colleague Derek Scott has recorded a podcast on Internal Family Systems (IFS) and the Coronavirus, and how to better understand and work with our anxious and scared parts that arise in response. This is an insightful conversation with lots of food for thought.
Resources for Children, Youth, & Parents:
· Financial Support in Canada: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/covid-19-financial-help-1.550174
· Student Aid: https://studentaidbc.ca/news/general/covid-19-coronavirus-information-bulletin
There is a lot of information, opinions, and recommendations swirling around right now, which can be hard to digest. Some of the above articles have useful tips on how to limit exposure to media (especially social media) in support of mental health.
Ideas include: having set times when you check the news or social media feeds, taking regular media/news breaks, asking a friend or loved one to fill you in on anything important when you're ready, and watching what kind of information and media you take in.
Being attentive to the media you are 'consuming', and for how long, can make a big difference. Think about ways you might want to take care of yourself after you read the news or spend time online, such as reading or listening to something uplifting, following your breath, or getting fresh air.
Given that many of us still want to stay informed, here are some good sources of information:
Reputable Sources of Information on Covid19 and Public Health Recommendations:
· Vancouver Coastal Health Statement on Coronavirus
· BC Centre for Disease Control - COVID-19
· City of Vancouver - COVID-19
May we focus on the little things within our influence, and keep opening bit by bit to the wisdom and grounding that lies within us.
As the poet and teacher Mark Nepo says,
"Just opening quietly for moments everyday can create a path by which
life can reach us, the way rain carves a little stream in the earth
by which the smallest flowers are watered."