It’s in our DNA.
That’s what Jack Kornfield said in one of his guided meditations as a response to COVID. I had to think about that one to understand it.
I think he meant, our adaptability to all kinds of conditions is in our human DNA. Humans have adapted to environmental conditions from temperate to severe, and our ancestors withstood many adverse events without the benefit of technology or medical care.
Have you adapted yet to being under shelter-in-place orders? To being cooped up for days, inside? Have you changed the way that you work? Is your perspective different? Did you let go of perfectionism in some measure? Lower your expectations of yourself and others, even if just for now?
Embracing change, especially when it is suddenly thrust upon you, is challenging. But it is possible to change with grace, rather than avoiding it by shutting down or coping with unhealthy strategies.
Embracing Change with Grace
First, you can take stock of yourself. You can be the foundation for calm, by cultivating practices both ancient and modern. Meditation, guided imagery, listening to calming music, yoga, and biofeedback (check out this stress thermometer for under $20) are all ways for you to access your own portable inner support system.
Survey your relationships. Maybe you and your partner or someone else important to you got caught up in the COVID crisis at time when you weren’t getting along. It is possible to get help so that you can function together as a team. Most therapists—including myself—are now offering teletherapy. You might still end up parting ways, but you can learn to support each other in an amicable way that allows you to leave the relationship with grace.
On the other hand, maybe your relationships are in good order. If so, let the people in your life know what you need. Do you need words of comfort? An hour alone occasionally? If you need affection, ask. Remember your partner is just like you—trying to cope with unusual circumstances.
Sometimes Doing Nothing Is Something
Some people feel helpless or useless because they know or hear about healthcare providers who are on the front lines, or who need to go into work because their job or service is considered essential. But you do have a job—to stay home, stay healthy, and help others do the same.
We can also help ourselves and others by going with the flow. Instead of fighting change, we can be the change. I know for myself this has come in the form of making a huge shift in my sex therapy practice. Rather than meeting my clients face to face, I am meeting them for online therapy. To my surprise and delight, I am enjoying this way of working. Might there be some silver lining for you?
Though we may not know how this episode of human history ends, we do know that it will pass. Our ancestors knew this, too. The marking of days, months, and years tells us that time will bring change. All is temporary. And we, as humans—because of our DNA—are adaptable.
Need help adapting? Call me today at 800-769-0342 for confidential online therapy.