Humanity as a whole is in a transition provoked by the global pandemic. You are a part of humanity and as such you have no choice or control over the fact that your life has been thrust into a transition period. What you do have is the power to adapt and choose an informed response, but only if you are stable. So how do you maintain stability when the whole world is in crisis? I am going to discuss four key areas that if instituted will provide you with a stable foundation to navigate the transition. The four keys are adhering to your core values, maintaining a basic routine, staying in the right relationship with others and continuing to grow.
ADHERE TO YOUR CORE VALUES
Identify your core values, the foundational beliefs that dictate your choice of behavior and prioritize them to clear up confusion as you face the uncertainty of a rapidly changing and unstable world environment. Your core values are like a rudder that guides your path, honoring these values will enlighten a smooth path through even the most tumultuous of waters. Start with a foundational Value Trinity. Identify your three most important values and write them down. Take these into consideration each day as you navigate the multitude of decisions you will need to make.
Here in the United States the values of our country as a whole are in conflict and being brought into the light. We are in transition to a new normal and different forces are seeking to predominate the formation of this foundational structure. As pre-pandemic societal norms are being violated, the instability this creates can be very unsettling and you may be having a variety of fear based reactions that are bringing your own values into question. You may find yourself wanting to fight against things you are witnessing that violate your values or taking the opposite stance and perceive these violations as permission to disregard your values, “when in Rome…”, or it may be incapacitating your ability to take any action at all.
Identify your fear response to fight, flee or freeze, in order to summon the courage you will need to overcome your fear and stay in an empowered place of forward movement creating your life based on your core values. This will provide you with the inner stability and fortitude to navigate the instability and uncertainty in the world around you. By allowing your personal value system to guide your decisions rather than adhering to the societal norms which are in destructive reactivity to the crises and highly unstable at this time.
MAINTAIN A BASIC ROUTINE
A routine provides a sense of safety, control and purpose to your life. It is the start point and foundation for establishing external structure and stability. Establish a basic routine which includes sleep, nutrition, exercise and stress management. This is the barebones priority of personal care that is essential to survive and function during a prolonged crisis, like we are experiencing. Neglecting these basic needs will catch up with you, cause lasting damage and inhibit your ability to effectively respond to the needs of the crisis. As they say on a plane in the event of an emergency – put your own mask on first! If you do not attend your basic needs all other areas of your life will suffer. But once this routine is established move onto a more holistic routine that includes work, family, community and play. Establish your New Normal routine for the transition.
We are experiencing crises on many levels here in the United States; health, economic, social and the environment. A crisis will provoke uncertainty, fear, anxiety, dread, hopelessness and helplessness as one faces the reality of the situation. We are already seeing the incredible loss of life as a result of people’s inability to cope with the stress. The overwhelming emotions have propelled many individuals into addiction, suicide and homicide; these numbers are all increasing in our country. Sometimes the reality is too difficult to face and one is in a state of denial. Denial of the health risks and failing to employ safety measures have cost tens of thousands of lives. The loss of control, normal routines and basic resources for many is provoking panic and the fight response, breeding social upheaval and acts of violence.
A side note: “A lack of information or conflicting information from authorities is likely to create heightened anxiety and emotional distress. If you start hedging or hiding the bad news, you increase the risk of a confused, angry and uncooperative public.” from CDC Psychology of a Crisis 2019. This is one dynamic we are experiencing in the United States!
A basic routine will enable you to maintain a healthy state of being and manage the stress as you face reality and move through the emotions provoked by the crises. The world around us is unstable right now making it more important than ever for each of us to maintain our own personal stability. A personal routine is foundational for maintaining a calm, stable presence in an unstable world.
STAY IN A “RIGHT RELATIONSHIP” WITH OTHERS
Once you have established your own personal stability, the next step is bringing stability to your relationships with others. I use the phrase “Right Relationship” often in speaking of energy alignment. It is referencing a state of being energetically in balance relationally with another. This can be seen and balanced in the energy field. You can balance this as an individual by approaching your interpersonal relationships in the following manner: be a person of your word, honor the promises you make to people, honor your commitments and consider the needs of others with kindness. Taking this approach will bring stability and connection to your relationships.
From a holistic perspective the right relationship for humanity in response to the pandemic is united. We have not responded in this manner and we have suffered because of it. The United States, a country built on the principle of unity, is more divided than any and suffering more death and loss than any other. This is not a coincidence. People purposefully sowing divisiveness and chaos have compromised the integrity and sustainability of our way of life. We all need to get in the right relationship with one another and the place to begin is with those people closest to you.
Consider your relationships with your family, partner, closest friends, coworkers and the people you interact with each day. Are these connections cooperative and mutually beneficial or are you experiencing conflict and discord? You can’t change other people, only yourself, so aligning your side of your relationships is what you are empowered to do. Being stable and reliable establishes trust and encourages positive connections. With the divisiveness in the country and the overriding need for unity, staying in the right relationship with the people in your life is more important than ever, for you personally but also for the greater good of all.
CONTINUE TO GROW
Ideally one continues to grow and evolve throughout life. During a transition period there are always opportunities to learn new things and expand if we seize those opportunities. But with the instability of a forced transition brought on by crisis and access to resources being limited we are being presented with many challenges to development. Currently many of the opportunities need to be created. Growth equals change and there are risk factors when undergoing a major change in life that can inhibit a stable path of sustainable growth. To surmount these risks one must overcome the resistance to change. There is the need for management of the process, the need to set a tenable pace and address disruptions. One must also deal with any confusion evoked by the imposed quality of the crisis and being forced to change.
Ideally you will manage the risks and stay on a path of stable growth and improvement. But, the areas you were growing pre-pandemic may not be available to you now and continuing to evolve may necessitate modifications during this prolonged crisis. This requires expanding your view of yourself and your environment and bringing in innovation to create new avenues to support growth. The need for innovation is especially relevant with our youth as the education system is largely going online and becoming more restrictive leaving a huge gap in providing the normal means of social and emotional growth for our children. Alternatives need to come into place.
Identify the areas in life where you are learning and growing this year. If you can’t identify any, then consider what opportunities are present and what opportunities are within your means to create for yourself. Work with strategies to overcome your resistance to change, or ask for some help with this. Take charge of your life and evolution bringing management to this process just as you manage your finances or household to keep them stable. Think sustainable growth, throwing yourself into too quick a flow and you will burn out, too slow and it risks fizzling out. Slow and steady wins the race with growth patterns. And reconcile the reality of the crises in the world by expanding your worldview and reassessing the boundaries of your environment. Realign your view of your place in this new world and how you will grow and evolve given available parameters.
It is going to take time for us to reach a new plateau within humanity. The United States is in the thick of crisis on multiple levels forcing adaptation if one is to maintain stability through the transition. Take charge of your life. Honor your core values as you make decisions throughout this transition for inner stability. Maintain a routine that addresses your basic needs first for external stability. Get and stay in the right relationship with the people in your life for cooperative and stable interactions. Seize or create opportunities to continue growing on a stable path of evolution. And if this feels out of reach then ask for help.