Tools for Coping in Crisis

The last month has been a whirlwind! Not only do I have a newborn, the coronavirus has hit the world with crazy force. I spent the first couple weeks just soaking in all the information. I’m interested in the science behind it, the societal impact, and figuring out how to stay safe. Then it had a huge impact on our business as we had to adjust to operating as a to-go only coffee shop. We’re still making adjustments and figuring things out about how our business will look for the rest of the year, but with some of the assistance that will (hopefully!) come from the government we feel okay for now. We’re still spending a significant amount of time recalibrating and figuring things out with Mad Goat Coffee, but my brain has now turned more towards figuring out how to cope with day-to-day life as we stay home and live through this crisis. It’s going to be a long time, guys.

I’m going to summarize a talk from Dr. John Townsend’s Facebook live videos about coping through the crisis. He’s doing weekly videos, but his first one was extremely helpful and practical.
You can watch it on his FB page:

He shared about the need to find support and structure within our days. We need relational support and connection with people every single day, and we need to find structure within a pattern of life that works for us to avoid chaos and break down. He broke it down into five different areas of life, so I’ll share what he focused on and then my own thoughts on each. I would love to hear how your thoughts, too.

Spiritual Well-being- We need time dedicated to connect with God. This could even be a few minutes, and if your house is full of noise and busyness it might mean sticking some headphones in and just distancing yourself for a few minutes.

My thoughts: it has been really hard for me to find time with a newborn and toddler, but I’ve most recently started a reading plan on my Bible app. Christine Caine has a 14 day devotional on there about anxiety, called Unexpected. It’s perfect for a time like this! There are lots of other devotionals and reading plans, too. I’m trying to find some time to read and pray out loud with Corrie and Sam, too.

Mental Well-Being – We need to view this crisis rationally. We are capable of viewing it rationally, even if we are very emotional people. We need to avoid catastrophizing the situation. We also need to avoid denying the situation and the emotions that come with it.

My thoughts: I am focusing on rationality and not fear. I’m using reliable news sources and checking them just once or twice a day. For me, I’m getting the daily news briefing from the New York Times in my email. I’m not getting news from Facebook, I’m really trying to stay away from discussions and stuff on there. If something is not helpful or beneficial to me I am steering clear of it. There’s no need for me to engage things that strum up fear and confusion. I know what to do: Wash my hands, stay home, distance myself from people whenever possible, wear a mask to protect others if I go out to the store. I take the virus very seriously, but don’t succumb to fear. Proper precautions will help me significantly. If I only see people who are following proper precautions (because I’m staying home), I am much safer.

Emotional Well-Being – We need to find ways to emotionally regulate so that feelings won’t overwhelm us. we need to acknowledge that there are both positive and negative feelings right now. These feelings can go together in a both / and way. They are not mutually exclusive.

My thoughts: I’ve shared a bit on social media about how hard this can be at times. I am talking with friends and family regularly and able to share these thoughts with them. I am also writing things down in a journal or speaking them aloud if I feel like I have no one to talk to in the moment. I’m taking practical steps to emotionally regulate, and a lot of this has to do with developing functional routines in my day to day (see functional section below).

Relational Well-Being – We need daily connections with other people. This can be done through technology if necessary. We need to figure out ways to be emotionally vulnerable and acknowledge how we are feeling to other people, specifically people who respect those feelings and do not dismiss them.

My thoughts: I’m trying to think creatively about social distancing and staying home. I can chat with a neighbor from porch to porch. I can deliver necessities to someone, and practice significant physical distancing while spending just a couple minutes talking and making eye contact. I can use Marco Polo, zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, whatever I need to connect face to face with people. I can try to make good connections with Sam when we have some time together. It’s important to be checking in with one another relationally and not just coexisting.

Functional Well-Being – We need adequate sleep, nutrition, and exercise / movement. We need to limit how much we are checking the news, binging TV, etc. We need to be present with those around us.

My thoughts: I thrive with some routines. Not strict, but general patterns to the day. Making sure I move/exercise daily, shower and change clothes, eat (I need to get better about not eating all the junk 😩). I try to find a couple things to look forward to–a show, walk, podcast (Jen Hatmaker has a quarantine queens series on For the Love right now) … I try to do a little bit around the house each day– a load of laundry, dishes, some cleaning–so it doesn’t get on top of me.

I would LOVE to hear from you about how you are coping? What are you doing that is helpful?

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