During a season of solitary confinement our fundamental need to belong can feel threatened. Continuing to meet with friends, colleagues, and support communities is important to maintaining self-esteem. In addition to working through stages of change there are six suggested practices to recharge your social, emotional, spiritual, and physical batteries. If you feel you’re arrested in fear-based thinking there are additional tools to jump start your thought process and allow begin to combat stress and depression. Strike a balance between solitude and social support to keep a healthy immune system, decrease the risk for heart disease, and lengthen life expectancy.
Six Practices to Recharge Your Batteries
Continue to Fill Your Toolbox!
Last week I shared that the Stages of Change lead to an integration and to gratitude. Remember that in the face of a crisis, people naturally move through five stages of discovery:
Fear-based thinking is when we stay in the first two stages and go back and forth. Sometimes knowing which stage you are in, finding out which stage your organization is in can help you test how trustworthy your decisions are. Remind friends and co-workers to enjoy the independence of their solitude and help them enjoy the tips of good battery recharging.
Be sure to remember that our anatomy plays a big part in this too. Having some neuroscience in your toolbox is important. “Human beings have three brains: the reptile brain, which is where fear comes from; the limbic brain, which is where most of the other emotions come from; and the neocortex, which is where rational thinking comes from. The more fear and stress you are experiencing, the lower your level of thinking will tend to be, and the less trustworthy your decisions are going to be. Put simply, stress makes us stupid, but you don’t have to stay that way. Knowing which level of thinking you are experiencing, and which stage the people in your organization are experiencing, is a second way of assessing how trustworthy your decisions are.” (Brian Whentton Core Coaching, 2020)
The remedy for moving on from stage one (Shock) and stage two (Reactions) is counter-intuitive. The only way to hault the fear-based thinking and get on with the rational thoughts is to refuse to feed your fear by freezing, fighting, or fleeing. We must stand firm, turn around and forge a friendship with it instead.
The COVID-19 pandemic placed tremendous solitude on us. We “sheltered in place” or “stayed-at-home. This voluntary solitude has served as a social shelter. Hopefully a time of “commiserating” through shared experiences has allowed us to recharge. Now, with 9 weeks under our belt, we risk shifting to the negative consequences. Our wellness is in balance between “sociality and solitude; both the desire for social connections and the desire for solitude are essential to human happiness and well-being.” (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)