As we are facing this global pandemic and its impact on all areas of life, I have been thinking about resiliency. For most of us, this is one of the most difficult things we have collectively faced. It takes a lot of resiliency to get through the day to day, through the stress that we are all experiencing. Yet, here we are, putting one foot in front of the other, taking one day at a time. Some days are harder than others, but we keep going.
Everyone’s circumstances are a little bit different, but many of us are having experiences that reflect one another’s.
You might be a parent trying to balance working at home and handling kids as well – their energies, their demands on your attention. It might be a struggle just making sure kids are putting on pants and getting off the couch each day. If you can get them to do some math it’s a bonus, and if some of your work gets done too, it’s a win (can you tell this is my reality right now?).
Or perhaps you are separated from your family during this time, missing your loved ones quarantined in a different home or different city.
Maybe you are a single parent, without the support of family, friends, or childcare providers.
Maybe you have lost work and are struggling to have your basic needs met.
Perhaps you are alone in your home and feeling isolated. Maybe experiencing deep loneliness.
Perhaps you or someone you love has been directly affected by Covid-19. You could be dealing with uncertainty or health struggles, perhaps you have even lost someone you love to this virus.
Maybe you are on the front lines. Maybe you are not stuck at home but experiencing the stress and anxiety of being out in the thick of it, being with the general public, helping people take care of their essential needs.
All of you – all of us, are resilient. I bow to you and acknowledge – this is such a difficult time. Not without its own moments of joy, but difficult. Let’s just acknowledge that.
All of us have challenging circumstances right now. We don’t need to diminish our own struggles in comparison of other’s struggles. The truth is, being kind and compassionate to ourselves is the firm ground we can stand on to develop resiliency.
At first glance, resiliency seems to be the strength to make it through something hard. Being able to power through. For many of us, that’s a familiar way of being, maybe even something we pride in ourselves – the ability to keep going even when things are really challenging. We firm up our boundaries, our protection, our emotional walls so that we can keep putting one foot in front of the other.
But really, resiliency is the ability to recover after something difficult or stressful happens. It’s not about powering through, but rather, what happens after we experience something hard. It is our capacity to return to homeostasis. It is our resetting to a more relaxed state of our nervous system after we have been in our fight-flight-freeze reactivity to a stressful situation.
Right now, our stress is sustained over a long period of time. It’s not just running from the tiger (or any threat) and then getting away and recovering. We are dealing with daily, ongoing stress. Every time we read the news of the day, every time we wake up to another day of trying to homeschool and work, every day we wake up lonely and isolated again, every day we wake to uncertainty, every day we are not with our loved ones. This is ongoing, chronic stress we are exposed to. And it’s more important than ever that we care for ourselves and give ourselves moments to reset.
One way we can reset is by taking moments for mindful practice – in whatever way we are able. That might be in formal ways – taking time for formal meditation, taking an online yoga class, making time for practice. It might be in an informal way – going for a walk and breathing in the freshness of spring, looking at the blossoms on the trees. Maybe being fully present when we wash our hands or pet our cat or read to our child.
Right now, I have discovered, cultivating softness and self-compassion toward myself is essential to my well-being. For me, that looks like declaring that what I got done in my (interrupted) work day is good enough. It might look like taking a breath when I’m about to lose my patience with my kids, and making sure I go for a walk by myself at the end of the day. For me, cultivating softness and self-compassion is lying on the floor and not doing anything – just resting and feeling my body on the ground. It’s giving myself a break for not being the perfect home-schooling mom, and for only getting the bare minimum of my job done right now. It’s saying I’m doing my best right now, and that’s good enough. It’s knowing that this won’t last forever, and that we are all in it together.
With self-compassion, we can learn to turn toward the discomfort of this time with kindness and curiosity, knowing things pass and that any feeling of unpleasantness is part of the human experience. Self-compassion can help us develop emotional resilience and well-being.
I don’t anticipate that we will be back in the studios together for a while, so I am happy and grateful that Source Yoga co-founder and long time teacher Melissa Paz is willing to offer her upcoming series online (with some changes specific to what we are dealing with now) – Living Self-Compassion During Difficult Times.
In this 6 Week series, we will learn and practice together with the three main components of self-compassion: self-kindness, mindfulness, and common humanity.
Self-kindness is about being gentle and comforting ourselves when we are suffering, learning to treat ourselves as we would a dear friend.
Mindfulness is about recognizing what is in the moment without judgment. This helps us cope with difficult emotions and build more emotional resiliency.
Common Humanity: This is a recognition that we all struggle and feel a variety of emotions like pain, shame, fear, and disappointment. This then helps us see that we are connected a part of the greater whole instead of alone and separate.
Please join Melissa for this online series, Mondays 6-7:30pm, beginning May 11th. Find out more here.
In the meantime, I bow to you with gratitude for being such a supportive member of our community, for showing up for our online yoga classes (if you haven’t, please join us!). Thank you, thank you, thank you. Together, we will make it through this.
May you be well,
Studio Director, Source Yoga
PS: If you haven’t joined us online for yoga, please do! We have had an amazing response from students about our online classes! As a recent student said, our online classes have been like a life raft in this difficult time. Many of you have asked if virtual yoga classes will continue after the studios reopen. My plan is yes! We will continue to make online classes available, as many of us may continue the practice of social distancing for some time.
To join us, sign up for your class at least 30 minutes in advance. We will send you the access link for your class 15 minutes before the class begins. Our streaming classes are listed as ONLINE or VIRTUAL. From our home to yours, we look forward to seeing you on your mat.