Compassion in a Time of Pandemic

Hi friends,

I created this business in June 2018, after being trained as a mediator here in Virginia. I knew a few things about myself:

  • Helping and serving people who are struggling is important to me.

  • I felt passionately enough about bringing mediation services to workplaces that I wanted to, metaphorically, hang out my shingle (start a real business, not just freelance).

  • I seemed to have a higher level of empathy and listening skills than the average person.

Today, less than two years into running this business, I have learned so much - still have so much to do to get to the thriving business in my vision.

And I am at home with two kids, my husband, and our dog, indefinitely, because of the first global pandemic in my lifetime.

Here’s what I know:

  • Emotions are running high for all of us right now, and they’re the emotions that are more difficult to deal with - fear, worry, anxiety, sadness, confusion, disappointment, boredom, anger… the list goes on.

  • Whenever we’re dealing with emotions like these, it’s extra important to do fundamental self care tasks:

    • Get a good night’s sleep. For most of us, that means turning screens off at least an hour before you’re heading to bed - perhaps even earlier.

    • If COVID 19 is what’s keeping you up at night, try out a meditation app.*

    • Eat healthily - fruits and veggies are supposed to be eaten 5 times a day, as I continually remind my kids. (As in, no, you can’t eat a ding dong, have an apple.)

    • Get out of your house, if you’re able, and walk around your neighborhood, while observing social distancing from neighbors. You can still have a conversation from six feet away - or at least exchange phone numbers to talk at another time.

  • The more we take care of ourselves, the more we can be there to listen to and care for others - whoever and however that might be. It could be you’re home alone and “caring for others” means making calls or sending texts to colleagues, friends, and family. If you’re attempting to work from home with kids in the house, structure is probably helpful. If they’re old enough, ask your kids to give you some space when you need it! Advocate for yourself with them the way you would with another adult. If this is something you struggle with, I’d be happy to help.

*I don’t have a specific app I recommend. What I have found is that yoga is the most effective way for me to connect with my body and my breathe. I also know there are many types of meditation, so if you try out one and it’s a stressful experience, just try a different kind. Remember that no one is perfect, and if you’re (for example) trying to concentrate on your breathe and you are continually distracted, all you have to do is come back to your breathe. That’s the point of becoming more mindful - realize when you are distracted, and come back to the item at hand - you know, like at work… sort of. 😉

Above all: have empathy for yourself. Self-compassion is often challenging and yet it is all-important. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend.

Researcher Kristen Neff pioneered research into self-compassion, and has several free self-compassion practices at her website. Check them out now, or bookmark them for the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or fear.

And if you’re reading this while living with COVID19 or while caring for a loved one who has it, know that I wish you and your loved ones good health, safety, and kindness. ❤️

Sending positivity to you and yours…

Gina
 
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