COVID-19 Coronavirus - Dare to feel? (Bulletin 3)

Dare to feel? - getting to know ourselves during the time of social distancing.

As I try to sift through the articles on staying positive and numbly view the videos of chirpy influencers with their work from home tips, it all seems to merge into a collective blur of regurgitated yet hopeful wisdom. Some say, have a daily routine- wake up in the morning, be positive, connect where you can, exercise, eat well etc. Sure, that sounds good and should be followed regardless. But perhaps, before we add on to this collective pool of knowledge and good sense, we might first sip from our own cups of feelings instead.  During a global crisis when people are being attacked by an audacious virus, we need to give ourselves permission to look within?

With people losing their jobs, unable to do what was normal, and with many dying and suffering across the world, it’s hard to find light at the end of the lockdown.

The unnerving part is that there doesn’t seem to be a clear end in sight. Even if a vaccine is created, it will surely mean a change in the way we see ourselves, our families, friends and futures. There are big questions looming which medical experts and elected officials are trying to find answers for.

And as they do, we wait.

There are many who are feeling terrified, lonely and overwhelmed. Others who feel trapped in their own homes. Domestic violence, and heightened anxiety is on the rise across the world.

I assume the social media engine seeks to target these people by churning out more and more effervescent content to briefly delight and provide escape. They’re not equipped though to handle what we’re escaping from, however promising their videos are on inspirational burpees in living rooms. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that this doesn’t work at all. It does, and it is helpful. But we need to do more. We need to LOOK WITHIN.

There could even be a sense of shame for some, because they aren’t able to handle the lockdown as well as others. This can exacerbate overwhelming negative emotions for those people.

Maybe instead of trying to swallow these emotions and soldier on, we need to allow them to be forefront for a time, speak their names, and allow for them to be in our presence. Once we’ve accepted our feelings, however rough, we can find the right avenues to manage them, either personally, with assistance from trusted friends and family, or through professional supports such as your Employee Assistance Program. The only way to find a solution is to first understand the problem, so before we watch every video and positivity guide, we must ask ourselves … ‘what is it that I am feeling?’ The solution is clearly out there, but we must know what we’re looking for.

So, it’s not just the permission to feel, but also to be comforted, understood, supported and reassured. Through our expression, we might even feel true empathy for others. Once we look within and stare down the barrel of our own hurt, despair and grief, when we look outside again, instead of an angry spouse or colleague, we might see and understand their fear or anxiety.

So, if you are looking for ways to help during this time, maybe start by getting to know yourself, scars and all. In the time of social distancing, let’s get closer to ourselves. With all the uncertainty and confusion, one of the key things that we have true control and ownership of, is our feelings. So, say hello and get to know them.

And in that light, I will start,’ I feel anxious for my elderly mother whom I can’t visit at the moment. Very sad that I can’t see my family either, especially my brother living interstate. ‘

Ah… that felt good.

Now, you go.


Ian Shakespeare - CEO

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