Mind Body Resilience during COVID & Beyond
Resilience: African American Artist as Agents of Change, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 2019, Romare Bearden, The Blue Pond
Stress is an invisible factor that impacts all aspects of our well-being: physically, mentally & emotionally. Stress directly affects our immune system. To keep the viral load down to reduce infection and complications, finding ways to deal with stressors that come with the pandemic is paramount. It is just as important, if not more so than vitamins & minerals, food & plant medicines that help to keep your defense system strong. Our mental & emotional health is directly tied to our physical health. We need to implement a game plan on how to keep the stressors of COVID from pulling us under. The CDC reported a significant increase in adverse mental and behavioral health conditions among adults 18y/o+(see figure 1) in June 2020. The number of reported adverse events are up significantly from 2019.
According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is "the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress— resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth." In search of key ingredients to foster resilience, the following characteristics can be cultivated to keep our immune systems strong and help each other get through this pandemic, thriving! While some are natural at resilience, these are attributes that can be learned by everyone, including children.
Self Care & Connectedness
Isolation and a sense of things being out of control along with fear of undesirable outcomes are very present for many of us at this time. It may be exacerbated by the holidays increasing the desire to be connected to love ones, the grieving of the loss of loved ones, the lack of funds; job/business loss. Discipline through the care of self is a pull-up and stay afloat! we have little reign over anything but ourselves. Regain control starting with you! Take this downtime to connect with the inner aspects of yourself. This is the first step to having deeper, richer relations with others. Set personal goals to strengthen yourself in every way. This is a way to honor the connectedness you have with the innermost parts of yourself. Love and care for yourself in this way. Disengage from self-destructive behaviors. If your body is tired, surrender! Facilitate your body getting the best quality sleep possible. Create quiet time for self-reflection; journal, practice presencing to become increasingly aware of your feelings, your surroundings. Don't let artificial intelligence (AI) set your agenda all the time. You have a choice. Turn it off!!! Meditate, envision, make rituals of self-care be your way to love yourself throughout the day and night. Nurture yourself! Engage in something you love to do/experience; a nice hot bath, make music, poetry, art, dance, laughter. Let that be your dessert for all the self-discipline you are engaging in/your reward. Start with something very attainable and build from there. If you are sharing close quarters with others, see who you can partner with to support each other in achieving higher levels of self-care and connectedness. Help each other grow through adversity. Help the children in your life by structuring quiet, reflective, no outside stimulus times, keep a schedule, encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings, encourage the development of inner strengths
Allow this Time to be a Reset to Live more in Alignment with Your Values & Your Purpose
As you get stronger through self-care and you are aware of your connectedness from within, may this be your platform to take a deeper look at your life and your relationships. This great pivot that has come with the pandemic has caused us to be home with ourselves, our children & family more, have more home-cooked meals, have more time for self & family. In all these changes are windows of opportunity & discovery to make each other's lives all the better in spite of adversity. As you get stronger, take on the quest. Consciously design your life and relationships. Observe your children. See what are their talents, gifts, and aptitudes. Give them an opportunity to cultivate those gifts at every opportunity despite the constraints.
Managing Your Head
Now is a great time to dampen that negative voice we all have in our head that encourages us to be self-defeating/self-destructive & resigned. Here is your chance to get off the trauma drama stage and sit in the audience or better yet, leave the theater. To no longer allow ourselves to get so riled up that we go unconscious, as painful triggers have us say and do things we later regret. When those painful triggers from the past go off, we can choose to redirect the course of things by first being conscious. In our heightened awareness, we can look for distinctions that let us know that this is not our past being repeated or better yet in consciousness, we can redirect the experience the way we want it to go. We can heal old wounds, get past barriers to intimacy, improve relations with a mate, a sibling, a friend, a co-worker. We can experience realizations we have never been able to achieve because the neuro nets would always lead to a predictable outcome. For the children in our lives, we have a wonderful opportunity to support them in minimizing the negative inner conversations and triggers through conscious processing. Keeping our heads high, staying in possibility is an excellent way to foster turning on the "resilience" gene in children.