Resilient Mindfulness in Uncertain Times

As the news about the coronavirus pandemic becomes direr, and governments debate on extending lockdowns on businesses and any activity that requires people to step out of their homes, we are starting to experience a range of negative emotions as we stay cooped up in our homes all day. The uncertainty of the situation spikes our anxieties, our homes start to feel smaller and claustrophobic, those of us who work from home cannot seem to relax as our bodies physiologically struggle to ascertain whether we can relax in a space that we are now required to work from, and we are now compelled to spend time with those at home but it feels too long and too much for comfort. The deep sadness that many feel for losing their daily sources of comfort and meaning is shocking to many, and we are quite possibly looking at a mental health crisis.

 

While nobody knows how long the pandemic will last and how long we will be ordered to stay in our homes, whatever we feel at this point of time – fear, anger, anxiety – is acceptable. Accepting the negative emotions that we are experiencing, and the physical and emotional manifestations of it, and assessing what we’re actually responding to instead of catastrophising and adding unnecessary fuel to the anxiety, fear or depression, is a method of mindfulness that must be practised and has been consistently connected to good psychological health.

 

While many try to escape the reality of the current situation by indulging in their favourite pastimes such as Netflix, eating or video games, it is also possible that one may over rely on these strategies to distract themselves. Studies have shown that creating and executing new routines that connect you to what matters in your life is crucial for good mental health. Establishing a structure, and a sense of purpose to these new routines allow people to stick to a regular wake up, eating and sleeping times. Furthermore, it is difficult when you no longer have access to your tested-and-true methods of taking care of your physical and mental health. But it is important to not abandon these activities of self-care, such as good nutrition, exercise and socialising, as these are directly linked to emotional well-being.

 

These are trying times but they also offer several opportunities for psychological growth and a chance to deepen the relationships with the people we share our homes with. It also allows us the time to not just check-in on ourselves, but with others as well, who may experience increased anxieties, fear, or depression. It is important, then, to be resilient when we’re reckoned with our negative emotions. However, it is just as important to be compassionate with ourselves, because then we are less likely to fall into a black hole of fear and anxiety and it will allow us to respond rather than react to it. This is a practice we can take with us whether we are in a pandemic or when we begin anew after it is over.

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