To say the last few weeks, feel like some type of weird sci fi drama would be an understatement. Walking through the grocery store last night with aisle upon aisle of empty shelves, almost generated a weird sense of panic. Panic that if we don’t buy what groceries remain, we will not have any food to eat. We will literally starve to death, if we don’t but that last can of split pea soup or the really gray looking pot roast. In that moment, you could almost see the key scene in the movie where all the remaining survivors in the post apocalyptic COVID-19 world hovered around the last remaining food at the grocery store… the granola. I will mention that I did point out to Panda, there appeared to be plenty of bacon left, so the world really wasn’t coming to an end.
However, in today’s world, where we are really do need to be isolated from each other (at least for a few weeks) and where the news has a running counter on the number of infections and deaths, it is very easy for that fear to set in. It is very easy to get stuck in this moment, where a cough in public could result in a stoning. It is a world right now, where the bravest of us all, the healthcare workers get yelled at for walking in public while wearing scrubs. Instead of a “thank you for being there, when the rest of us are scared out of our minds”, it is “how dare you expose all of us, you are a terrible person.” The logic and common sense of the world has been surpassed by fear of something beyond our control.
And…standing in the grocery store, looking at aisle upon aisle of empty shelves, that is all very understandable. I worry, though, because this level of fear, the dose of skepticism, this measure of anxiety is not good, ironically, for our health. Stress, worry, and toilet paper doomsday prepping are not good for our overall well being and health. This is not to say that we should not be worried, that we should not be practicing social isolation. It is to say that we have lost focus on the wheel of life, we have disproportionately made this historical moment in time too much of our focus. In doing so, we place too much importance and pressure on this moment. Being focused too such a measurable imbalance in our lives is one of the very things that can bring about illness or at the very least weakness in our bodies that then invite illness.
When we stress in a disproportionate manner, our wellness gets out of alignment. Just like the spokes on a wheel, when we have balance and purpose in all dimensions of life, our life rolls smooth. A well balanced life doesn’t have a place where worry, fear, and illness can settle in. So in this truly historical moment in history, while you are frantically searching for more 2-ply, take a moment to take inventory on your personal wellness wheel. Look at the six areas of wellness and make sure you have balance, making time for all of those areas, not just the one that is driving the need to stock up on cases and cases of water (by the way you do all remember the days when water only came in a faucet and it was delicious, right?).
Take a moment today and look at these areas, spend time attending to each dimension and work on getting back in balance:
Purpose: This dimension is where we feel like we are contributing to our calling. Being focused on our passions, be it career, helping others or finding this downtime at home to work on our creative passions keep us from being distracted by the onslaught of hourly pandemic news.
Emotional: This dimension is where we experience feeling and connection to events. Ensuring that we open to discussing our concerns, frustrations and minimizing the risk for negativity can alleviate a lot of anxiety.
Physical: This dimension is focused on our physical health and fitness. Make time to get in exercise, get enough sleep, focus on doing something active, which helps endorphins and anxiety levels. And make sure you wash your hands…
Spiritual: This dimension focuses on not just religious but spiritual wellness. With limitations on attending religious services, make time to read, listen to blogs, watch services. Make time to meditate or just find quiet time to turn off your mind and allow the universe to help you with the “next steps”.
Social: This dimension focuses on our time with others and our environment. This dimension is the most interrupted in our wellness right now. Our daily routines are extremely disrupted and our social network is fragmented. Reach out to your social circles, phone, video chat, social networking, make the effort to connect in the virtual space at least until you can resume daily activities.
Intellectual: This dimension focuses on stretching our “mental muscle”. Learning a new skill, reading a book anything that allows us to think in a more critical manner will help with the distraction of being limited by our day to day activities and the fear of the unknown.
Look at each of these areas and on a level of 1 to 10, rate yourself on how much time you have spent in each area and how “fulfilled” do you feel in each area. Spend time focusing on each one of these areas everyday. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the “illness ticker”, turn off the news and look where you have rated yourself the lowest…put your energy into activities that will boost that score and round that wheel. If you have one area that is disproportionately higher than all the others right now, Emotional might be an educated guess, find a way to turn off whatever is triggering that high level, i.e. news reports, FB posts, negative comments from society.
Instead of hoarding shopping or compulsively disinfecting, take a moment to work on the spokes of your wheel. This is not to say that this moment in time isn’t serious. It is fundamentally and absolutely something people will read about in history books 100 years from now, it is very serious. However, how well you not only survive this moment in time, but actually thrive in this moment in time will be based on how well you make your wheel roll. Spend the investment in yourself, not in toiletries… that is the best thing you can do for all of us and for this viral outbreak. In the long run, you become stronger and IT becomes weaker.
And then… wash your damn hands… 🙂