Image of Buddha and Dalai Lama for blog post

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

~Nelson Mandela

We are in an unprecedented time of world wide crisis. With a national state of emergency, cancellations of schools and public events, and more cases of the coronavirus reported each day, many of us are feeling overwhelmed and anxious. This unsettling time has changed our schedules and our sense of safety in an instant. The fear of contracting the virus and the recommended precautions of social distancing are limiting our physical connections with others. Those that are choosing to self-quarantine may feel isolated and alone. Those now finding themselves at home with their kids and their spouses around the clock may be feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

Since we don’t know how long our lives will be disrupted by this pandemic, learning to live in the unknown will be essential to feeling empowered in the process. Finding ways to nurture ourselves through this pandemic will be critical to surviving and even thriving in this challenging time. We can make nurturing choices each day that reflect our hopes and not our fears and intentionally spread love and kindness in the world rather than the coronavirus. 

Here are five ways to nurture yourself during this unsettling time:

1. Start by looking at your daily self-nurturing practices and commit to continuing them. Having some connection to your normal schedule can be very grounding. If you take a walk each day, meditate, or write in a journal continue doing so, even for 5-10 minutes each day.

2. Bring mindfulness to the choices you make about what to eat. Choosing healthy food filled with nutrients and energy and minimizing food and drink that deplete you is critical at this time. Pause before you eat, breathe deeply, and intentionally enjoy the nurturing food you have chosen to eat.

3. Identify a few activities that feel deeply nurturing. Perhaps you find walking in nature, talking to a supportive friend or loved one, petting your animal, reading an inspiring book, being creative, or appreciating music, art or beauty to be really nourishing. Encourage yourself to engage in these activities regularly to nurture hope not fear during this difficult time.

4. Focus on what is going well in your day and what you are grateful for. This is especially important in times of crisis and can shift us out of fear into hope. What we choose to focus on influences our mood, perspective, and sense of empowerment. Create gratitude practices that you share with others on social media and other ways you connect with others. Choose to cultivate hope in this dark time and you will be the spark someone else needs to find their own light.

5. Finally engage in activities that make the world a better place by being kind and compassionate, spending loving time with family, checking in with friends and neighbors, volunteering, sharing supplies like toilet paper, social distancing, and any other way that makes you feel that you are having a positive impact in the world.

As John Mark Green reminds us, “If you want to tap into what life has to offer, let love be your primary mode of being, not fear. Fear closes us down and makes us retreat. It locks doors and limits opportunities. Love is about opening to possibilities. Seeing the world with new eyes. It widens our heart and mind. Fear incarcerates, but love liberates.” 

In these unprecedented times, we have unprecedented opportunities to come from love, to see the world with eyes of love, and to widen our hearts and minds to heal the world with love. Let’s begin by loving ourselves and nurturing ourselves through this pandemic, inspiring hopeful possibilities with each nurturing choice.

May you be inspired to cultivate hope through self-nurturing as you nurture peace in the world from the inside out!

Kelley Grimes

Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,

Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker

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