Dear CRR Community,
We seem to be entering a new phase of living with Covid-19 where things are simultaneously changing and also remaining the same. As some businesses begin to think about how to re-open safely (may we all get our hair done soon!) and some of us return to work, we are also continuing to shelter-in-place and realizing that we are likely going to be doing it for some time to come. Continued social-distancing, mask-wearing, handwashing, and safety protocols will be with us for months as we work together to contain the virus and save as many lives as possible.
If you are anything like me, this last week to 10 days has brought a shift from short-term thinking to contemplation of what it means to settle in for the long-term. When things are short-term, we tend to think of them like they are special one-off events. This means we often adopt what I like to call ‘vacation behavior.’ On vacation, a glass of wine or two every night seems perfectly reasonable. Ice-cream every day, why not? Flip flops, shorts, ponytail, yes please. Movie watching, game playing, laying around flipping through junk magazines, absolutely. Stay up until all hours sitting on the deck and sleep in until noon, sure. We are on vacation and so we leave our normal routines, disciplines and structures behind and we indulge ourselves knowing that it is for a time-limited period and then we will go home, and things will be back to normal.
For many, quarantining at home has had a similar feel. I have had many friends and clients tell me that they are going to sleep way past their normal bedtime. Others have talked about lots of tv watching or more snacking etc. This all makes sense given the stress we are all dealing with and the sense that what we are going through is temporary.
However, as we have come to recognize that life is not going back to the old normal anytime soon, a shift is required for each of us. We need to shift from short-term thinking to long-term thinking about how we are going to handle the stresses and difficulties of the ongoing health risks we all face and the limitations that it places on our lives. We need to move out of ‘vacation mode’ and into long-term strategies of self-care, support and care for those we love, and help to those in need. Our lives have changed in big ways and the impact will continue to unfold. This means we need to be focused on using all the recovery skills, healthy coping, and relational supports available to us.
Below is a graphic that was created by a woman named Celina Canales. I think it is beautiful representation of the change that we all need to make as we move out of what she calls the fear zone and move toward the growth zone instead. I hope it is helpful to each of you as you make the mindset switch from short-term survival of quarantine to long-term growth and resilience as a community.