Here are some of the things we’ve learnt from feeling ‘on the edge’ of despair…

  1. Firstly, as tempting as it is, to simply ignore our emotions and get back to work is not helpful in the long run
  2. Secondly, puffing ourselves up with superficial Pollyanna optimism doesn’t work
  3. And thirdly, allowing yourself to fall into the abyss of fear is not the answer either… 

So, what is the answer? Learning to ground yourself in just being here – not running away or turning away, not trying to fix but rather to simply stay for a while with what is and ground yourself in the here and now. Because when we simply sit with what is we are able to process our emotion, shift out of fear and into some form of reason and emotional regulation, start gaining clarity, and to move forward into hope again.

Here are three practical tools you can use immediately to help center, ground and balance yourself in the midst of chaos. This is our Resilience Factory take on the acronym ICE – In Case of Emergency.

  • Firstly, I – Insight. Amidst turmoil and turbulence, it is easy to lose sight of our inner wisdom and insights. The temptation is to ignore your inner world and kick straight into action – to keep doing, doing, doing till we end up going round in circles. How do we simply “sit with what is” so give ourselves time to ground and still the fear, gain insight into our internal world and access the wisdom calm and stillness brings, and the possibilities that come from that. How do this practically?
    • Reflection time
    • Meditation time
    • Prayer time
    • Journaling
    • Breath work
    • Creative time – art/music etc
    • Time alone in nature walking

However you choose to do it, the idea is daily time alone in reflection. If this isn’t something you normally do, this can feel really hard. It’s not punishment – it’s a gift. Think of it like your internal garden… every day you need to go into your garden -tend to it, nurture it, feed it, weed or water it, and notice what it needs… this is hard at the best of times and even more so when we are in crisis – which is exactly when we need it the most.

  • The C stands for Compassion. What the world needs now more than ever is kindness – compassion for both for ourselves and others. When we stay in a place of fear our behaviour can become dysfunctional – narrow, with a scarcity mentality and ungenerous. We are going through hard times, so show yourself some self-compassion. This means not just thinking – but doing. What do you DO to be kind to yourself? Think about what feels good for you, eg, nourishing delicious food, a hot bath, a walk with a friend, reading a good book, sharing with someone how you feel. And compassion to others – we have no idea what other people are going through so give them the benefit of the doubt. The woman with her children behaving terribly in the supermarket? How do we know that she hasn’t just lost someone to Covid, or that she’s just lost her job. The truth is that we don’t know what others are going through, so keep compassion front of mind – both for yourself and them.
  • E stands for engagement. The temptation can be to shut down, which we mustn’t do. The solution to feeling isolated and scared is remaining engaged in relationship, communities and in life – tracking down moments of joy. This has been particularly difficult during lockdown but physical lockdown can’t equal emotional lockdown. We must find ways to remain connected and engaged with others and with life. Outside of work and immediate family, who are you speaking to every day, who are you connecting with? When last did you tell someone what they mean to you? When did you last offer support to someone? If you’re working remotely, you have to find ways to connect with your team on a social/personal basis and not just on your deliverable tasks. Check in with each other daily.

Written by Gabi Lowe & Pippa Shaper