One of the best memes I’ve seen about Covid (apart from the ones about valuing society’s key workers and treating it as if we’re already infected and doing everything we can to avoid passing it on) was about it being so surreal, the writer not knowing if over or under-reacting at the same time.
For me, this has huge parallels with the climate emergency. (The positive thing coming out of this is seeing the earth begin to heal with less human activity.) Things are both a matter of life and death and, fortunately – at the moment, too abstract to fully comprehend.
It’s so easy to be sucked into the news and catastrophising so today, I thought I’d share a tool I’ve used with coaching clients since 2004 and more therapeutically (especially working with post traumatic growth) for the past decade or so.
A variation of it is included in the book, 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing.
And it’s really simple.
But like so many simple things, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
It takes concentration to cultivate our minds, to enhance our resilience, to choose where we focus our time and energy.
The old, familiar neural pathways may want to keep bringing you back to doom and gloom but you might want to experiment with connecting with this more resourceful you from the future.
It can be a big long journalling exercise (or something you chat about with your loved ones – online or at a safe enough distance) or a simple quick thought:
WHAT ADVICE DOES FUTURE ME HAVE ABOUT MY LIFE AND THE WORLD AFTER WE COME THROUGH THE COVID PANDEMIC?
Theo Cullen-Mouze’s beautiful How Coronavirus Changed Everything Letter from the Future blog about this inspired this post.
Your own Future You might also have a global perspective, or maybe even advice about the day to day.
One person I was talking to earlier said she doesn’t care about having pasta, she just wants to get through this alive.
If you were to start there, imagining Future You however many weeks or months into the future. Future You has had the most amazing celebration after the breaking news that it is officially done and now has lots of advice to help Current You.
First off, what does Future You appreciate most about the celebrations and what can now become normal again?
We can go back to hugging and spending more time together.
We can see the loved ones we’ve missed so much.
What do you imagine loving MOST about this news?
If you connect with Future You using all of your senses, what are you looking at as you imagine this?
How do you look?
What can you hear?
What are the strongest emotions you’re aware of?
Other physical feelings?
Once you feel like you’ve anchored this sense of having come through Covid, as an individual and as a human – maybe feeling more connected than ever in spite of all the physical distance – ask your imaginary Future You for some advice to help you today. Tomorrow. Next week.
Write down everything that occurs to you.
Connect with this inner resource you always have access to.
Think about your day to day life.
How everything changed SO abruptly in March 2020 (for Ireland and the UK).
Maybe how everything felt so uncertain, scary and how you found your resilience and adapted.
What messages does Future You have about how you were able to do this?
What about your priorities?
What worried you most in March 2020?
What quickly lost its importance?
What became most important to you?
What advice does Future You have for Current You about keeping that clarity?
What about loved ones?
How did you connect more deeply in spite of the physical distance in so many cases?
What did you learn about love?
What lessons does Future You have for you?
What about health and fitness?
What was most challenging? How did you overcome these challenges? How did you manage to turn it into a positive and actually improve your health and fitness?
[I’m fully aware that we have no idea how this will pan out but whether we survive it or not, right now, we’re better off imagining having come through it than giving into anxiety]
How about your work?
Suddenly having to change things dramatically (if this was the case for you).
What was that like?
What helped you through it?
What did you learn about your work?
How did you use this enormous jolt to find a BETTER way to contribute and earn a living?
How about friends and fun?
What did you miss the most?
How did Future You going to celebrate?
What are you most looking forward to?
How can you keep this in mind in a hopeful, encouraging way?
What did you GAIN from the big change?
How will you continue to make time and space for those more emotionally intimate conversations and times?
How about inner and outer abundance?
What advice can Future You offer you about really appreciating all you have as well as securing your healthier, happier future?
How about your neighbours and local community?
What about the world at large and wider communities?
Who did you most appreciate? How can you stay in touch when the new normal starts up again?
How about living more sustainably? What advice does Future You have about how you could keep some of the adjustments which were a jolt but which actually aren’t so bad now you’re used to them?
What helped you move from fear and scarcity consciousness to recognising the abundance of having a full enough food cupboard and fridge freezer?
What was FUN about learning ways to minimise waste?
What additional advice does Future You have for you today?
You can do this daily – as a coaching tool, I encourage clients to do it every morning or night, journalling or even talking aloud.
Training the brain to connect with that resilience and resourcefulness.
Finding the hope, the kindness and generosity. The courage and love that is so prevalent.
My hope is that we find a new normal – one that better appreciates all of the earth’s inhabitants and one that is more caring and sustainable.
You can access more of Covid self care blogs and find out more about the new (special introductory rate to support as many people with more time at home now) Call of the Wild ~ Be Your Own Self Care Coach online membership programme and the two pro bono sessions I’m offering each week as well as other self care tools throughout the site