Balancing my thinking & staying in the present

In the middle of the night I am sometimes overcome with these intense feelings of fear, fear for me and my loved one’s safety and health, overwhelming sadness for our medical professionals like doctors and nurses who have to return home after spending long hours at the front lines of this pandemic and their own fear of infecting their loved ones or being stigmatized.  In those wee hours of the morning you know how one’s mind races with the most gruesome vivid images and scenarios.  In those moments, I am experiencing what David Kessler calls “anticipatory grief”. It’s that feeling you get when the future is uncertain, and what you then begin to do is paint the future with the worst-case scenarios. This is the very thing that takes away our sense of security. On my good days I remember that the goal in that moment is not to totally ignore the images or try to make them go away but rather to feel the worst image taking shape all the way to its bitter end. Then immediately thereafter I think of the best-case scenario for that same image. This tends to balance my thinking, keep me in the present and bring back a small modicum of control. Then I think, some of my family members including me will get sick, but my family is generally healthy and strong we should be fine. At this moment, right now, they are well. I revel in that thought and the ability to stay in the present washes a warm sense of calm over me. I don’t always get this right, but when I can control my mind to do so, I pat myself on my proverbial back and return to warm loving sleep.

Are you letting anticipatory grief rob you of your peace and add to the conflict in your relationships?

Naming the feeling & riding the wave

Secondly, I find that when I give myself permission to name what I am feeling, somehow this helps regulate me, it really helps me realize how little I can control rather than my reactions to what happens to me.  Stay away from using the big buzz words like depressed or anxious when you answer the question which you must ask yourself every day, sometimes more than once a day – How am I really feeling? Name it very simply – for example

I am Sad for the loss of the world as I knew it, like the routine of listening to connecting with my daughter whilst listening to Anele & her crowd on The Breakfast Show – how light it made me feel, , the Seattle Coffee experience how connected to other coffee lovers whom I do not know. I felt, routine of listening to podcasts in traffic – I now realize that these pauses in my day gave me a deep sense of space to prepare for the next activity and indeed a sense of stable predictability.

I allow myself to feel where in my body that feeling of aliveness, I allow it to move through me, because it is valid and it must be named, not in relation to what anyone else is going through but what I am going through, no evaluation, no judgment. Just naming what I feel. You see emotions need motion. Sometimes there is more than one emotion, I get them to line up and then feel them one by one, as if they are in a queue waiting for their turn to be ridden like a wave. And when you allow the feeling to happen and not fight or deny what you feel in your bodies this will empower you.  It will help you touch that which is human in you, normalize you, calm you, and move you towards acceptance of what is.

 How are you feeling really and truly?

Carving out me time to self soothe

So, first things first I found that creating boundaries around how I spent time has really helped to shape my day and rejuvenate my need for togetherness. Carving self-soothing time for me, is about slowing down and doing what my soul longs for the following things are a way of taking cosmic breadths for me and a first step to bringing myself back to my body. Self-soothing especially first thing in the morning to breathe and connect to the universe through prayer and meditation or time spent for me late afternoon cooking alone & providing nourishment for my family (my only real creating endeavour and certainly top 3 in love languages for me) or time for me to tuck in to my favourite Netflix series or a good book or an amazing podcast is exactly what I need to feel like me again. Any one of these activities well planned during the day fill my cup so that when I return to my partnership I can take in our connection and savour our togetherness.

How do you self soothe? How do you refill you cup so that you can?

Me in Us in Times of Lockdown

As we enter the Week 4 of lockdown I can’t help but think of how our being together as a couple is feeling right now. Whilst I am experiencing a strong sense of safety and comfort as my husband and I spend all this time together in one space, I can’t help but feel that spending all this time together is somewhat thwarting the novelty of being a couple. Don’t get me wrong I love my husband I need to breathe. I am reminded of the paradox of our needs in long-term committed partnerships. That is, for many of us, we have contrasting longings for familiarity and novelty, security and adventure. So, if like me you are experiencing far more familiarity, and less novelty in your relationship, maybe this week we can navigate together five ways in which to regain our individuality and reclaim our self-care.