Control?!

Some of us feel like we are on the verge of panic as we realise how little control we have over the current circumstances during the lockdown. Coming to terms with this reality is hard. It is ok to be sad and lost, maybe even angry at this time. If we are feeling this, we are connected to reality.

However, I have observed in myself and others how focusing on the turmoil out there can so overwhelm me that I have no energy left to do what I can, in the close spaces I actually could have some control over. So perhaps it is helpful to look immediately around me, at the things that are possible for me. These things that I can do may keep me from falling into panic:

* I can give myself a break, and not put myself under pressure to carry on coping as if my life has not changed.
* I can sleep a little longer on some days.
* I can get up each day and get dressed. I can choose what to wear on which day.
* I can make my bed.
* I can wash myself, especially my hands.
* I can eat something, perhaps even something healthy.
* I can drink water.
* I can open the windows and let in some fresh air. If it is possible, I can get outside, in front of the door and stretch or move around.
* If I do have to leave my home for a reason, I can do my part to keep a 2m distance between myself and others.
* I can move around inside my lockdown home and put some energy into a small job e.g. I can sweep the floor, wipe down the table or tidy up an area. Maybe I can fix something, finish a project I started, sew or knit.
* I can listen to some music and maybe even dance to it.
* If I live with others I can decide to be part of the team. We can plan to do something together each day. This could be a household job, like cleaning the kitchen, cooking or something fun, like playing a game with children.
* I can go easy on others too. They are also adjusting to big changes. I can choose not to take things they say personally.
* I can choose to control myself a little more.
* If I live alone, I may be able to talk to my neighbour without getting physically close.
* If I have some airtime or data, I can talk (or send a message) to one person I know every day, to find out how they are. Then they will also know how I am.
* If I am receiving a lot of whatsapp messages, I can choose not to spend time on those that are making me feel anxious. I can stop reading – in the middle of the message.
* I can choose not to forward messages that spread panic.
* I can choose how much news I am going to listen to or read.
* I can decide what I am going to think about first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
* I can pray.

Each person’s list will be different. What does your list include?

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