Give. Think about what you have to give. If you have money, give to a food shelter or other charity. It probably won’t feel good. In scary times, we have a tendency to hoard instead of giving. Give anyway. If you don’t have money or can’t bear to part with it. Give something else. Give compassion. Give humor. Give love.
Wash your hands. Get your hands wet. Lather and scrub for twenty seconds. Rinse hands. Dry. A Buddhist practice is to say a gatha while washing hands. Here is one written by Sosan Flynn that I have adapted a bit for all religions/beliefs. It takes about twenty seconds to say.
As I notice fear or anxiety arising in myself or others
I vow with all beings
To breathe and be present with all that is
Taking refuge in my community, my beliefs, and _______(God, Allah, nature, Buddha, etc.)
And carefully considering the appropriate response
Take care of yourself. Exercise. Eat vegetables. Drink water. Meditate. Pray. Floss your teeth.
Be Mindful. Check in on how things are making you feel. Remember that you do not need an hourly update on what is going on with COVID 19. Do not spend your days and nights sitting in front of your phone, reading article after article and then talking to everyone around you about how stressed you are, and making predictions about what might happen. Some of that is helpful, but too much is too much. Check in and ask if what you doing is making you feel good, bad, or neutral.
Take control of something. Find small things that you can do to take some control of your life. Clean out junk drawers. Mop your floors. Reorganize your laundry room.
Find creative ways to stay connected. Face time your brother or your friend in Prague. Write a love letter to your husband even though he is in the other room. Text people and check in on them. Do art with your kids. Play with your dog.
Do something to keep the economy going. Buy cute jewelry on Etsy. Order something from your friends’ online business. Stop by your favorite cafe and buy coffee beans in bulk. Buy a gift card from your favorite restaurant to use when this is all over. This probably will feel very good. Do it anyway.
Be kind. Listen to children, adults, and yourself. Name emotions. “It looks like you are feeling scared/sad/disappointed.” Normalize actions and emotions. Stop getting irritated with people for buying all of the toilet paper and bleaching everything that has been touched. Say, “Wanting to take care of yourself and your family in scary times is a beautiful thing.”
Share. If you have bought 3,048 rolls of toilet paper, think about sharing with a neighbor or dropping some off at a homeless shelter. Again, this may not feel good, but do it anyway.
Escape for a while. Binge watch a show you love. Read a book. Play video games. Do sudoku or a crossword puzzle. Solve your child’s Rubik’s cube. Take a mental break from all of this.
written March 14, 2020