• Kety Lopez, LMHC

COVID-19... A month later.

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

It's been a tough month for sure!! We've faced all kinds of challenges, and have never felt so collectively vulnerable. I'm sure this will be traumatic for some but I trust it will be an opportunity for self-reflection and growth as well. I've worked a lot with my clients over teletherapy on managing anxiety, substance abuse, unemployment, behavioral addictions, loneliness, relationships issues, etc. The reality is that regardless of your circumstances, this quarantine has challenged us all. It has forced us to look in and deal with the feelings we've been suppressing and to have the uncomfortable conversations we've been avoiding.

Although it's been a lot at once, it has also given us plenty of opportunities to rest, become creative, connect with our family, prioritize our health, etc. Isn't that what really matters?! Shouldn't that be the norm? It's sad how disconnected we could be from our most essential emotional & physical needs and how we could be so preoccupied with work, money and our collective definition of success. So much so that this amount of time is unsettling for most of us. I guess being quarantined, has also highlighted the flip side as well. It's shown us the importance of balance, how too much of anything feels unhealthy, even the "healthy" stuff.

In the midst of so much fear and anxiety I always choose to learn. I choose to be curious and pay attention to myself and others. I choose to be thankful for having all my basic needs met, for having my son to play with, my partner to talk to and be in silent peace with, a family that's staying in touch and helpful, friends that constantly reach out to share information, ask questions or just send a funny meme. I thank God that I live in this country, where I can make my dreams come true and where this pace of life is an exception. In Cuba, where I was born, years go by and things only get progressively worse. There, it is pointless to dream, not getting what you want from the supermarket, not being able to go where you'd like, having the government tell you what you can and cannot do & feeling limited in every way possible is the norm. When I remember that, I know I can definitely bare this quarantine for a few months so that we can all be safe and alive.

I'm aware that there are a lot of people with very different circumstances and going through very challenging times. However, I'm a firm believer that unless you've had the misfortune to lose a loved one as a result of COVID-19, everything else will sort itself out. Regardless of how dire things might seem. Our ability to adapt is part of our DNA, trust it and let things be. You'll be surprised how resourceful you actually are. Envision yourself years later telling the story of how you made it through COVID-19. Make it a funny story, envision yourself telling all the difficulties you faced and also all the great things that came as a result of it in retrospect. Visualization works, what we think we become.

This is a global lesson in surrendering, in remembering that things don't always go as planned and the smartest thing to do is to always remain flexible and adaptable. It has illustrated how much we need to feel connected to each other and to nature. COVID-19 has also highlighted the importance of choosing our leaders wisely because during real catastrophes they can greatly impact our wellbeing. Lastly, our ability to collaborate and help each other has always been our biggest strength as humans and that has not changed. I know that together, we will get through it. I hope we can all remember these lessons and become that much stronger and wiser as a result of it all. Do what you can, stay home, wash your hands, cover your face, help a neighbour & remain kind to yourself and others. This too shall pass.

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