Writing through Corona-viruxiety

Coronaviruxiety is what I have been calling this virus stuff plus the growing anxiety people have been feeling. Mindfulness is a tool that we use in therapy that can be helpful now and in many times in our lives when we’re just living life. In our Coronavirus world, it can help you notice that you’re anxious and can help to sort out what is valid fear about the virus and what is extra anxiety produced by the mind.

Let’s take note of our body for a moment. Right now, just scan your body from head to toes and if you’d like, scan back up toes to head again. How do you notice any tension? Where? What does if feel like? Make a note and write it down.

How do you notice anxiety in your body? How do you notice fear? Write that down. There is no need to make any judgements about how we feel, where we feel, or what we feel. Just notice and write it down.

Next, see if there’s an actual, immediate threat that requires an immediate response. Maybe you’re at home and worried about whether you will be able to make ends meet. Maybe you’re at home just hoping this is over soon. Maybe you are out in the world still working and having contact with people. Write the ways you are taking care of yourself and being safe and the ways you are helping to flatten the curve and not allowing the virus to spread to others.

Writing is an important tool at this time. It is a mostly solitary thing that can help us feel better and get through the hard moments.

Write a short loving meditation for yourself. Here are some examples: 1. May we be healthy, may we be calm 2. May we be happy, may we be safe. 3. May we be strong, may we be patient

What short meditation might you write for yourself. If you can’t think of different ones, write out the examples. Write who you wish this for.

If your mind begins to spin and worry- read over those meditations you wrote. Say them aloud. Take a deep belly breath between each one. Breathing in and out.

Take a moment to reflect on your responses. Write how much of your fear, anxiety or irritability is reactionary and how much are you taking smart precautions? Ask yourself: Should you wash your hands more? That’s the main thing we should be doing- washing our hands. Should you never leave the house again? Of course not, but we have to wait it all out and see when it’s safe again to be fully out in the world. Should you panic, with your mind spinning a gazillion scary possibilities? No. You are helping yourself not do this. You are helping yourself stay calm, to be present, to work through this.

Phone calls- Connecting

I had a poet friend call earlier to check in. He said he was calling to check in with all of his poet friends. What a beautiful thing! How lovely to check in with others. To make sure they’re okay and in turn, for us to be okay in that check in.

As a therapist, I am having sessions with people over the phone and calling my clients to check in. It’s different from what we usually do, but it is wonderful to hear how they are doing, to check in with them. Some people want to talk, others do not. That’s okay. Respect what you need right now.

What if you called someone you would like to check in with. You could talk with them on the phone, send an email, a message on Facebook. You could text them or zoom with them. Find a way to connect with people and write about how it is to be connecting with people in a time of social distancing.

Thank you for writing today! Be well. Take care.

Keep distance but don’t isolate.

Best,

Liza

Published by lizawolfffrancis

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Poetic Routes, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves breakfast food, popcorn and dark chocolate.

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