Emotional Survival Guide for Hard Times

Margaret Bell Share On:

Covid 19 is disrupting our norm, causing panic, creating change and bringing awareness. For many, dealing with covid is like grieving. We move through Kubler Ross's 5 stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Covid has also spurred a fear response, as we rush to the stores to stockpile supplies in the face of our own mortality. Whether you are navigating covid with a grief response, fear response or from an emotional place there are things you can tend to your emotions and live from a place of calm. 

Kubler Ross 5 stages 

These stages are not linear, we can move between them, cycle through them. 

Denial- When we are in denial, we often withdraw, hid and pretend. We stay in because we don’t want to face what is happening outside our safe walls. We deny we are sick, saying we are fine and keep going about our daily routines as if nothing has changed. We deny to impact or magnitude of what is happening. We pretend nothing has changed. We are creatures of habit. We like routine. Denial keeps us safe in our habits and routines. Covid 19 changes our routines. Disrupts our schedules. Denial keeps us stuck. Denial makes us feel in control. Admittance can be hard and it is freeing. When we admit we are sick, that change is happening, we are able to move forward. Acceptance comes when we admit and accept where we are, what's going on, who we are. From this place, we are empowered to get better and to change.

Anger- Anger happens when we are angry with people for buying all the toilet paper, soups, and pasta. We are angry with the government for their response, their imposed restrictions and others for their response or lack of. Anger helps us move into change. Anger empowers us to create change that makes us better and often others better. 

Bargaining- We negotiate our response, what we will do for something else. If we all stay in then it will be over faster. If I only go to work but order my groceries online because then I am not exposing anyone or myself. 

Depression- We feel stuck and trapped. We feel hopeless. We feel that things are never going to change and if they do they will only get worse. Depression gives us space to process and reflect. It gives us time to remember what is important. It inspires us to rebuild and create the life and world we desire. 

Acceptance- We have compassion and empathy and even forgiveness for where we are and what has transpired. We are able to move forward from here, in a place of peace without baggage. 

The Fear Reaction

Fear is instinctual. It's a survival mechanism. It keeps us alive. It can also cause a great deal of harm if left to its own devices. 

Panic buying comes out of fear. Fear feeds paranoia. Sadly, this impacts our communities when we act from a place of self-preservation. We forget about our neighbors or others. We respond from a place of scarcity. It is me or you. We forget about others, feeling that they are out for themselves or get us. This justifies us putting ourselves before others. It's scary thinking you might not have enough food to live. 

Fear feeds fear and we can often become stuck in fear. We need to question our fear. Is this life or death? What is the impact? Implications? How can I take care of me from a place of love and compassion and not a place of fear? Sometimes there are no easy or straight forward answers. Life is complex. We are complex. Stopping to question and reflect makes of more mindful of ourselves and others. 

What to do:

how are you feeling? 
What do you need to work through your feelings? 
Physically how are you? 
What do you need? 
What can you do today to support yourself? 
You can connect to yourself through yoga, exercise, meditate, reflection, music, journaling, art.
Connect to nature, get outside, spend time in the sun, hug a tree, put your feet in the sand, dirt, grass, snow. Smell the air. Be in a place of childlike wonderment and awe at the world around you. 
Connect to others, maybe not like you use to, especially if you're quarantined. Luckily we have the technology to connect through video chat, text and phone. Take a moment to get to know your neighbors and neighborhood. 
Start a new hobby, explore your curiosities, make art, write, play music, dance. 
The little things 

Covid 19 has forced us to stop and reevaluate our lives and what is important. It has asked us to redefine ourselves and our relationships not only to others but the planet. Covid 19 does not have to be something scary and life-shattering, it can be something that inspires strength and change. 

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