This is not directly related to Airbnb but is related to our common dilemma. I asked a friend about preparing for the emotional assault that is coming. Specifically I asked how we can prepare emotionally for people getting sick and dying without our usual institutions and rituals in place. To be frank, I mean how do we deal with it and help others deal with it when our loved ones become ill and we aren’t permitted to visit? How do we grieve when the normal institutions and rituals (wakes, funerals, church, temple, gatherings of all sorts) are limited. This isn’t just Covid19. People die all the time and the usual protocols are now suspect. This is her answer:
Firm YES, it IS possible to psychologically prepare, but as in all preventive and preparation measures whether physical or psychological, it doesn’t mean you will be fully prepared.
Just as washing hands and covering coughs boosts your chances but doesn’t guarantee, psychological practices can boost your chances though there is never a guarantee that you’re going to be all the way resilient and high flying for the long haul. Most of our informed practices are about boosting chances.
Some things you can do to prepare:
immerse in nature more if you can because social distancing doesn’t necessarily mean total isolation,
engage in helpful acts or behaviors (even digitally) as more good feelings in your “bank” to temper anxious feelings, 3) be abreast but not obsessed (ooh, I should coin that)-- stay aware but do no obsess over the grueling details in the news, particularly for the vivid anecdotes. If you’re feeling anxious, you can do yourself a favor and not click on that link about that particular person’s situation that may have little to offer you in preparation,
see if rational thoughts can help, like reminding yourself that your increased worry and anxiety will not reduce anyone’s anxiety or help anyone, just as you can’t be hungry enough to help the hungry or poor enough to help the poor. You matter and your mental health matters. You aren’t being selfish by taking care of your mental health needs, in fact you are doing everyone a service by allowing yourself to be that much more charged up. Or remind yourself that every wave of anxiety passes because the body simply cannot withstand it forever (can you run a marathon forever? No? Neither can your anxiety. It WILL come down).
Be very conscious of your behaviors right now and take care of them. Our routines will be thrown off but that doesn’t mean all is lost. Especially sleep. That’s a catch 22 because when we’re stressed we might sleep less (or sleep too much) yet the change in sleep can also cause more stress, same with changes in diet. Soo, be as helpful to your body as you can, give yourself room to sleep and eat well as much as you can, and every little bit you do to take of yourself behaviorally adds to your resilience. Truly, any mental illness is a culmination of factors-- it is never one cause. There are genes, biology, early life experiences, your social networks, behaviors, diet, etc etc etc. In every patient I have met with, and in every human, there is a plethora of risk factors but also protective factors, and whether a person has a diagnosable disorder comes down to how many risk vs protective factors tipped the scale. You want to boost the protective factors that you can control, such as your daily behaviors, your thoughts, and your focus (focus on your feelings: on the news, on reality, on anything and paying attention to how it makes you feel, and acting on it as soon as you can if it’s not making you feel good). This is emotions 101 that we have naturally as toddlers and children (“No! I don’t want that!” Says the 2 year old) that our parents, schools, and society have socialized us to ignore. It’s time to reconnect to yourself, your feelings, and what makes you feel intrinsically good-- and I said *intrinsically, meaning, not via escape of something unwanted, but approach towards things/experiences/feelings that *are wanted and joyful (this is not instant gratification either, joy is deeper and longer lasting). What makes you feel joy? Ask yourself about your experiences each moment just like Marie Kondo would ask of your belongings.
*EDITED TO ADD: This is NOT same as blanket positivity (“just be grateful!” “Just look on the bright side!”) that is actually unrealistic, unproductive, and even harmful. Don’t bypass or sugarcoat or gaslight the truth outside of or within you. If you are already feeling anxious and numb, sit with it and allow it-- literally what it means to “hold space” for your feelings or those of others around you. The virus literally gave you the out to do this by shutting down all of society, giving you reason to be anxious, but also giving you the time and space to address it. Meet yourself where you’re at with kindness and compassion, and interestingly, usually the emotion transforms of its own more readily when it is allowed to exist and take up the space it needs. In grief counseling this also applies. Patients undergo what’s called “complicated grieving” if they have never allowed themselves to fully grieve, which is a longer term, slower, and more painful process (I volunteered with the Children’s Grief Center in El Paso in undergrad and learned this there).
I hope this helps!