Interesting: On March 18, 1995, I woke up at 3 a.m. with a virus. Yippee.
I had an important event that afternoon. NO ONE else could do my part, so I had to get it together and start hydrating. Mind, that was before we thought about coughing into our elbows or should have been thinking about self-isolating. At the time, I believed I had to be calm, I had to be present, and I had to participate.
Nothing like focusing on each step of the task at hand to create clarity. Dwelling on all that COULD go wrong was not going to help me. In perspective, if staying vertical and keeping water down was my priority, other details would be a piece of cake.
A friend had some tablets that calmed the flu-like symptoms, which also calmed my fears, so I grabbed my stuff and went to the hairdresser’s – and then to the church. It was my wedding day. Thankfully no one else was infected, and Michael and I are still quite happily together, although our plans for the day have definitely changed.
This new COVID-19 virus is very different, and we don’t have the immunity to just kick it out of our systems, so it spreads rapidly. Worse, our fear and anxiety have gone viral as well. The precautionary closings and social distancing will slow or help stop the spread of germs, and that’s good.
How do we slow or stop the spread of fear and anxiety and the resulting emotional eating?
Take a deep breath. All the fear and panic is a result of how we’re thinking about the situation rather than the situation itself. Indeed, there are some real dangers – but much of it is made worse by our panic and focus on what COULD go wrong.
What are you doing with your fear? Are you looking to food for comfort and stress relief? Is it helping beyond the moment? Eh, probably not. What could you do to provide some lasting comfort?
Here’s a strategy I use to keep my thinking in check: Hold on to what you KNOW.
Be calm until you know what you have to genuinely be concerned about.
If you use up all your emotional energy now and the worst does come, you won’t have reserves to deal with it.
If you use up all the emotional energy now and the reality is not as bad as you thought, then you’ve wasted lots of time and energy.
In this situation, the added stress decreases your immunity, which makes you more vulnerable, and we don’t want that.
Breathe, be kind to yourself, distract your attention. Perhaps do something good or kind to yourself or others. It’s not easy, but it will save your energy until you need it.
On this March 18, 2020, the fear is as contagious as the virus, but I encourage us all to be calm, to be present, and to participate in making things easier on ourselves and those around us – and wash your hands and hydrate.
If I can be helpful, I’m offering discounted rates on my sessions and products, AND I’m giving away 5 sessions. If you’d like one, shoot me an email to [email protected], and I’ll draw 3 on Friday, March 20th. The other two will be drawn from anyone who takes advantage of the discounted rates and they’ll get an additional session with me.