It’s been a trying few weeks for many people. And while the marathon may not be over yet, I’m constantly reminded that we need to stick together and provide help and support where we can.
Recently, I’ve come across a few resources that have helped our team members keep perspective and stay centered amidst the whirlwind of COVID-19 pandemic news. I thought it might be time for a quick check-in and to share some of these resources with our readers.
Acknowledge your grief
I am by no means an expert in grief — far from it — but I am familiar with many of the coping mechanisms suggested in these articles.
At WriterGirl, we open every meeting with a meditation, and I find this to be even more vital now. It centers us, slows us down and brings our attention to the moment rather than the fearful unknown future. It allows us to be fully present with each other. In the case of our leadership meeting this week, it allowed us to brainstorm some ways we can help our hospital clients who are valiantly serving on the front line.
I’ve long practiced square breathing, also called box breathing. I’m a 7 on the Enneagram. For those of you unfamiliar, being a 7 means having a quick mind that can rapidly become a monkey mind if I don’t take steps to control it, especially in stressful times. So square breathing is my go-to, forcing me to count my breaths, which makes it difficult to wander off into the darker parts of my brain.
As Anne Lamott says, “My mind is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone.” For me, square breathing makes that neighborhood a safer, saner place.
Brene Brown, one of the most truly awesome people on the planet with an amazing ability to share her vulnerabilities, in spite of the fact that she “doesn’t do vulnerable,” has a new podcast where she talks about FFTs (effing first times). In her inimitable way, she says, “… and I don’t know about y’all, but this is my first-ever global pandemic.”
In her podcast, Brene walks you through the steps of managing an FFT— and this is the mother of all FFTs for everyone on the planet. They are: Name it. Put it in perspective. And manage expectations. I encourage you to listen to it. She does a remarkable job of explaining how to do each of those steps.
Stock up on compassion
In the first article mentioned above, David Kessler, the world’s foremost expert on grief, recommends stocking up on compassion as a technique for lessening the grief we’re feeling.
At WriterGirl, given that the subject matter experts (SMEs) we speak to are usually doctors, we’ve all done some stocking up on compassion. We understand that if an SME is abrupt with us, it’s because they’re in the middle of something unimaginable. If a hospital marker is short with us, we understand. They may be learning how to work virtually. They may have kids at home in the next room that they are expected to be homeschooling. We get it. Compassion is vital.
So, the world is different now, and it will never be the same. We need to grieve the old world and learn to live in the new one. That’s tricky stuff in the best of times. This picture I keep in my kitchen is the perfect reminder of what is needed right now.
Let’s all be kind.