Resiliency During COVID-19:
Dr. Lydiana Garcia
For most of us, this whole pandemic is pushing us to stop with our daily routines. It has pushed us to slow down, stop from whatever we’re doing, and start a new normal ASAP. No one would ever want to experience this pandemic but it’s been placed on us and we’re being pushed into a new normal.
We're all experiencing this together as a collective and that in itself is very interesting. As a psychologist that specializes in trauma, even though I have my own trauma history, because we all do, for many times and many occasions, I don’t necessarily share the specific trauma from the cases that I see. But as I'm doing my own therapy sessions, I'm also experiencing the impact of this whole pandemic - being in shelter in place, physically isolating from others, being in a group of parents that were now placed with a kid in the home while trying to continue working, being concerned with finances and all sorts of things. I’m in that same group as I’m also helping others in this moment. It’s a very new experience for me and for many therapists as we’re all in this together.
Some Helpful Recommendations on How to Go Inwards
The situation we are facing can be a great opportunity to go inwards and create some inner reflection. Accepting what is and accepting all these changes is one of the first steps on working through this pandemic. This can also be a great time to reflect and build some resiliency skills to be able to stay regulated and make good choices to respond to situations appropriately. This can be a good time, too, to tap more into what works for you and what resonates with you.
- Start with how you are reacting. How’s your body feeling when you think about the uncertainties? Are you going into a go go go mode and feeling a very intense urgency to act or to figure out ways of leaving or escaping? Are you feeling that urgency of acting, having the energy to do things to either problem solve, figure things out and take money out of the bank? Or are you also feeling more like wanting to flee in, denying the situation and the urgency, figuring out ways that you can get away from it, and just wanting to isolate more? These are all different ways that we react when we are encountered with a situation like this.
- Find ways on reflecting about your different daily activities. Are you the type of person who likes to meditate and how is that feeling right now in your life? Do you feel much better right after or does it triggers your anxiety? You can have this same kind of reflection with any activities that you do. When watching the TV, try to go inwards and reflect. How does it feel for you and does it make you feel more anxious? Does it make you feel less anxious when you’re watching the news or the other TV shows?
- Explore different coping skills and resources. Going inwards is not only for you to reflect about how you’re reacting with the pandemic but also for you to be exploring different resources, different coping skills that you’ve used and how do they make you feel. It could be just checking in your body temperature or your heartbeat. Simple questions like “does this feel better? Do I feel better? Do I feel the same? Do I feel worse?” can help. Another way that it could actually help you in terms of reflection is using a rating scale, rating from zero to ten how distressed you feel, ten being the highest. You can also keep an internal data, writing them down if you are that type of person who enjoys writing. Tracking this down helps you notice what helps the most at these times and what doesn't. If something that was helping you a lot is no longer helping you, then be aware of it and then keep on moving, keep on changing.
What this whole moment is asking a lot from us right now is that change is inevitable and it’s part of life whether we want to accept it or not. I wanted to also acknowledge and honor the pain that this whole “rebirth” is bringing for many of us. For those of you who are at home alone and feel the physical isolation harder, for those who have aging parents and cannot see them and you worry about them, for those of you that have any kind of illnesses that could put you more in risk, for all of you that have kids at home and you have to manage it all, for any of you that have a history of trauma in terms of poverty and all of you that are being laid off, I have you in my thoughts. I hope we get through this together, we grow as a society together because at the end of the day, know that we’re all in this together.
If you want to listen to the full episode, please visit https://www.thebeyondresiliencelife.com/blog/bonus-resiliency-during-covid-19-series-going-inwards.