Are you feeling the negative effect of isolation and uncertainty right now?
We humans are naturally wired to connect and even the most introvert of us have this basic need.
Connection is one of the six core needs of a human being. It’s one of our primal needs and for that reason it’s important. But what do we do when we are forced to socially distance or isolate?
I have a story about this and even though it’s a personally vulnerable one, I think it’s meant to be shared.
Last year after I lost my dear dad I decided to go into voluntary social isolation. It was a choice because I didn’t feel emotionally able to participate in idle chatter or surface talk.
In the face of my loss, everyday conversation seemed meaningless and because of this I decided to keep my distance. Apart from the meaningful discussions I had with regular clients, family and dear close friends of course.
This also affected my business, because I wasn’t out networking, speaking and promoting.
The lack of certainty I created in my business teamed with the lack of connection made it quite a turbulent ride. But through my sadness there was nothing that I desired enough to pull me out of isolation. It actually felt like I had no choice.
So how did I survive it?
And of course I did eventually find a solution for my business, which helped enormously.
But that was only part of it, because to even find that solution, I needed to be in a certain frame of mind.
Our mindset and state of being have a huge effect on how resourceful we become.
In a crisis such as the one we are facing now with C19, many go into rapid action mode.
The problem with this is we often go into fight, flight or freeze and make choices that don’t work.
How do we know we are in it?
These are the signs to look for; our speech can speed up. Our eyes dart everywhere trying not to miss anything. Our heart rate increases and breathing becomes shallow. We feel anxious and on full alert when we are in this mode of thinking.
Trust me I know how this feels.
This is mainly the problem that is causing people to panic buy right now.
Isolation can bring feelings of depression too, which also get in the way of us working our way through the crisis.
So our mindset and state of being are a massive part of how we survive it and come out the other side. And it’s not just about thinking positive all the time.
Is it a coincidence that I have recently been through many months of isolation and uncertainty? I personally think not. So I feel it’s important for me to share how I have survived it.
Connect with your circle of trust during isolation
This is essential in any challenging time, because it will help you feel connected and supported. Together we are stronger!
Your circle of trust is a group of people closest to you. There is mutual love and respect and you know you will be there for each other.
These people allow you to be your true self even when you are not at your best. They don’t judge, but accept you warts and all.
When you identify your circle of trust; make sure it contains people who know how to be a real friend too. This means they will be compassionate and validate your feelings, but won’t fall in a heap next to you. They will also help you see another perspective.
Once you have decided, let them know they are in your circle and how much they mean to you. Then connect with them regularly.
There is more than one way to connect
When we think of connection we automatically think of having a coffee together or some other social outing. But there are so many other ways to connect and we are blessed to now have this choice.
Many of my circle of trust are not in Cairns, so I am quite used to this.
Regularly staying in touch with people in your circle of trust through isolation will help you ride the uncertain waves. You know you are not in this alone.
Set up a Facebook group, Facetime and message each other. Talk on the phone or set up a group Zoom or Skype catch up.
Connect with your circle and with others regularly. And if you have friends who are also having a tough time, reach out if you don’t hear from them.
Remember that we all have a different way of responding in times of challenge. Some people hide, so don’t take it personally; reach out. They are often the people who need us the most.
Feel what you are feeling
One of the important things I have learned whilst grieving is that we rarely allow ourselves to completely feel our emotions. We name them but we don’t feel them. Even if we feel sad, we just take a gulp and keep going.
As long as we keep pushing our emotions away they will continue to persist. Remember what we resist actually persists until we take notice and allow it in.
There are possibly many people feeling loss right now; loss of job, income, business. Even if it is a temporary loss of lifestyle or connection, it is still loss. That brings sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness all those emotions that we tend to push away instead of feel.
It is important to allow ourselves to feel the emotions while in isolation, because when we do this we can let them go and feel clearer.
A great way to do this is to do some journaling. Write down what you are feeling and why, name the emotion.
Identify where you are feeling it in your body, because we always physically feel emotion in our body.
Notice it start to move and even dissolve as you allow yourself to physically and energetically feel it.
Accept what is
Let’s get really clear here; acceptance doesn’t mean to give up. We can accept while we are still looking for a solution.
Acceptance means to accept what is without judgment while still looking for a solution. That includes things we both can and cannot change. It’s about letting go.
When we don’t accept, it creates resistance and it blocks our ability to feel at peace. On an energetic level it also stops solutions from finding us, so we feel stuck.
We can feel at peace in challenge or isolation, it’s about acceptance.
It took me quite some time to move into a space of acceptance when I lost my dad, so I do understand. But when I did accept, healing began and I was able to start seeing my way forward again. I felt more at peace.
There are many practices we can do to encourage this state of being. Praying for acceptance and writing acceptance statements in your journal. Repeating them out loud or writing and then burning them will help you stay mindful of this and let it go.
Develop self-care rituals that work for you
Self-care is a big mantra of mine and it is vital in isolation too. When we create a self-care ritual it firstly helps us feel safe, because it’s something we do each day.
When you choose practices that you enjoy it also helps you keep your state uplifted or helps you feel much better than you do. Many self-care rituals can actually create a state of joy, even in times of challenge.
The most important thing here is that when you do self-care rituals, you focus on being fully present in the practice.
This doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and repetition to master staying present.
In isolation we have plenty of time to practice, so it’s a good time to start. This is so much more beneficial in than spending all day worrying, scanning social media for more fear inducing posts or watching Netflix.
My favourite self-care rituals are journaling, chakra clearing, meditation, yoga, power walking outdoors, lifting light weights to stay strong and walking barefoot in nature (preferably at the beach). But there are also so many more like TaiChi, Qi Gong, running, swimming whatever you love.
If we are confined to our homes things may obviously change. So remember to be flexible as the changes come.
But there are many people now running classes online, so most are still available. Even putting your feet in the soil or laying on the grass in your garden will connect you with nature. And this calms you.
Tips to maintain your daily schedule even in isolation
If we have income producing work to do from home this is easy. But if we haven’t it’s important to still have some sort of daily schedule.
It’s great to take each day as it comes sometimes, but longer term it increases uncertainty. We have enough of that already when we are going through a challenge.
A daily schedule helps us feel more secure and certain. We think with more clarity and we still feel like we are being productive. This helps us feel good about ourselves despite what is going on around us.
I’m a pro at working from home because I have been doing it for years.
Even if you have absolutely no work right now you can still act as if. And the more you act as if you are working, the more potential you give yourself for work coming in.
I know during my period of isolation I also had a lot of interesting and new ideas. This was because I still had a schedule for my business.
If you have your own business this is a great time for working on your business. For example; re-writing your website content, filing, decluttering, updating or documenting your systems, writing articles, developing a marketing plan and creating your roadmap for when we get through to the other side.
If you are or were employed by someone else, maybe updating your CV. Make this a time for learning: reading or studying for personal development, doing a course to uplevel your skills.
There are so many free or low priced courses available online now. You can do an online course for pretty much anything you want to learn.
Write yourself a daily schedule and stick to it, work and all, just as if it was a normal week.
The bottom line
We are living through one of the rarest times where the whole world is dealing with the same crisis and everyone is doing their part.
One of the thoughts that always helps me is that everything eventually comes to an end. It has to so another chapter can start. This too will come to an end and it is up to us how we weather the storm.
I totally get how hard this may be feeling right now. Focus on the one thing we have total control and influence over. That’s ourselves.
We have two choices; we can either go through this stressing and making ourselves physically, emotionally or mentally unwell. Or we can choose to take the actions that will help us survive and even eventually thrive through isolation.
You will get through this!
If you would like one on one support with this, transformational coaching also helps build resilience and will assist you to weather challenging times.
Reach out for a 30-minute clarity session. CLICK HERE to connect and book.