“I think I’m asking too much of COVID 19.” This is what Alta Mauro, a friend and colleague of Rebecca’s, recently said when they were checking in about how they were responding to the last couple of months of lock down.
Alta serves as the Director of NYU”s Spiritual Life and Intercultural Education, but lives in Dubai, where, just like in the US, life as we know it has been turned upside down. Alta is now trying to juggle homeschooling her kids with an already demanding career, not to mention having to shift so many of her plans that have either been cancelled or transformed as a result of the pandemic. For example, she and Rebecca had been part of a think-tank on using the arts and culture for reducing violent extremism that has now been suspended indefinitely.
Alta explained what she’d said above. “I’m asking to not die, not lose loved ones, not lose my job or my savings. All understandable. But it seems I’m also asking to learn a new instrument, tone my body, learn Turkish, instead of being realistic about what can be expected of me under such circumstances.” She feels guilty that she isn’t coping better and taken advantage of this ‘down’ time.
“I am reminding myself that under normal circumstance, I have reasonable responses to reasonable stressors. But this situation is at once unknown, unreasonable, and unrelenting.I should not expect my normal coping resources to be enough” As a result, she is trying to monitor her expectations and negative self-talk. “I try to be easy with myself as I would with a friend who I knew was giving their best effort. I try to have grace myself. “
Along those lines, we suggest that you think about the coping strategies you are using. What is keeping you strong and helping you get through this? Also consider what you have been able to accomplish at this time. Really take stock of how you have managed and what you have been able to get done over the last couple of months. Even if you have not fulfilled any grand aspirations and all you have actually done is adjusted to the situation (whether you did so well, adequately, or even poorly).
Also give yourself the opportunity to mindfully acknowledge whatever you are experiencing which could be either good or bad but could also be a sort or neutral detachment or numbing nothingness. In other words, as we like to say, express the stress.
Click on this link Creative Coping with COVID 19 for an updated version of our handout on ways to cope with whatever you’re experiencing at this time.
Stay as safe and well as possible. Blessings and love to you all, Rebecca and Gioia
With Alta’s suggestion to “have grace” with herself, do some spill writing about some of the expectations you’ve had and take some stock of what you’ve been able to accomplish even if only just surviving. Make a collage or use whatever art materials you have on hand that celebrates your resilience at this moment. As always, we’d love to see your response posted on our Facebook page if you’re willing to share.