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  • Greg Hiebert

A Checklist for Enduring the Virus



1. Practice Gratitude. Take a moment to think of and write down 3 things you are grateful for. When we hunt for the good, we frequently find it and when we are reflecting on the good, we can’t reflect at the same time on all the bad. 2.Deepen your social ties. Take a moment to text or call a friend or loved one to let them know you are thinking about them, regardless of how long it's been since you last spoke. Develop a “reach out list” of those friends, colleagues and family members that you care about, respect and want to stay closer with. Think about setting up FaceTime/Zoom/Google Hangout sessions with groups of family and/or friends. 3. Embrace Your Meaning and Purpose. During these difficult days, work to be clear with yourself on a greater purpose for your life. Certainly those who work in our hospitals and healthcare clinics have a deep sense of purpose. But so do those who stock the shelves at our grocery stores; deliver packages to our homes; pick up our garbage; home school your children; or to stay isolated from others so as to slow the spread of the virus. Get up each day and do something related to your purpose. 4. Meditate. There are thousands of tools on the internet or on apps for taking 10 minutes of guided meditation. Probably the best are, “Headspace” or “Calm”. Allow your mind an opportunity to not think about the world around you even for just a few minutes each day. The research indicates that we don’t need to be Buddhist Monks to deepen our mindfulness; just a daily practice of finding stillness and calm in the midst of whatever chaos or demands you may be facing. 5. Take a Deep Breath. Another way to develop mindfulness is in deep breathing. A simple technique called “box” breathing is where you breath in on a count of four; hold it for a count of four; exhale for a count of four and hold for a count of four. Try to do this for 1-2 minutes. A slight modification is breathing in while thinking of the words, “I breath in peace”. As you exhale, think of the words, “I breathe out calm”. 6. Get Moving. Don’t let social isolation keep you from moving and staying active. When talking to people on the phone try walking and talking regardless of how little space you may have. There are thousands of online opportunities to exercise. Try to stand up for a few minutes every hour. Be creative in staying active. It may save your life. Organizations around the world have taken note with some even hosting dance parties via zoom! While they're getting some movement in, they've also found a way to bond and have fun together, even from a distance. 7. Pray. Send a petition to whatever God or Spirits that you believe in, to bring healing to the world and its people and to keep those you love, care for and work with to be safe and protected from the virus. There are now thousands of churches of every denomination, mosques, temples, and synagogues conducting on-line services, discussion groups, prayer circles and more throughout the week. Developing and sustaining our spiritual practices in times of crisis is vital to our wellbeing. 8. Listen to Music. Listen to your favorite piece of music or musician. Never before have we seen so many artists and music groups putting their music online for the enjoyment of their fans. And if you feel so inclined, get up and dance! 9. Laugh. Laughter is indeed the best medicine. Go to your smartphone and go into YouTube and enter, “laughter” and you will get a long list of opportunities for you to laugh. There is one called the “Laughing Tram Man” that shows how contagious laughter can be. Second to laughter – smiling. While you may be in social isolation, make sure you are connecting by FaceTime or other technologies with others and share something with them that simply makes you smile. 10. Take Control. Recognize that the world has been turned upside and there are so many things that are out of our hands.You can’t control the weather. You can't control every aspect of this virus. You can’t control the things you cannot see. So, imagine yourself physically letting go of what you cannot control and embrace the things that we can. You can control your behaviors – what you say and how you say it. You can control your attitude and your reaction to the challenges in your life. And you can even control the TV. While being informed about what’s going on is important, do yourself a favor and don’t stay glued to non-stop news channels. Instead, watch or listen to something that will bring you inspiration, allow you to escape, or just simply entertain you. 11. Affirmations. Remember that it's okay to be angry and sad and anxious. Validate those feelings and then write down three positive affirmations that can give you strength, hope and inner peace. For example, “I can do this; This too shall pass; We will get through this. I am loved; I am strong. I will be stronger after this.” 12. Nutrition and Hydration. Keep yourself well hydrated and ensure that you are finding good ways to eat healthy. It's so easy to comfort your nerves with food or drink while in isolation. Making good choices about what you fuel your body wit has endless benefits for your physical and mental health.

©2018 by Greg Hiebert

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