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Practice BOTH/AND

This post is written during the shelter in place ordinances due to COVID-19. This virus has created a lot of panic and fear for many, and rightly so as the information about its nature is still in development. It's normal to feel scared, anxious, paranoid and on edge. It's normal if you detach a little. It's normal to be aggravated by your housemates. We all react differently, so don't judge the reaction of yourself or others. This is your survival reflex kicking in. Blood leaves your frontal cortex and rushes to your amygdala-the part of your brain that plays a role in your survival. What you may be noticing at this time is how black and white we can get about our thoughts, opinions and actions. Things easily get reduced to good or bad, or useful or non-useful, stop or continue. See where this is leading? It's hard to hold a view that is more nuanced and we can't make complex decisions now that our frontal cortex is offline. We think that by reducing actions, thoughts and choices into good or bad, or yes or no we are increasing control and grounding in our situation. But functioning this way is actually exhausting, it isolates us from connecting with others and it can exacerbate our fear and anxiety.

Give yourself permission to have strong feelings of chaos and loss of control AND make room for a moment of peace and control like holding a cup of tea in your hands. Let yourself be mad at the circumstances that led to this pandemic AND make room to grieve what you may have lost as a result of this shut down. Be the helper to others because it makes you feel good and useful AND let others give back to you-even if it's as simple as accepting a compliment (don't rebuff it, let yourself accept by saying "Thanks" instead of "No, it's nothing.") Keep remembering that when you feel trapped and overwhelmed, find your way to the opposite side and let it in. Eventually this will lead you back to a calmer mood and nervous system which ultimately supports our health and immunity.

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