Feeling overwhelmed, afraid and confused about the nationwide shutdown as a result of COVID- 19? Now is the time to build your emotional and physical reserves and separate from fear.
Stand in a queue at the shop to checkout and you will experience it. Eat in a restaurant, if you are brave enough, and you will observe it in action. Listen to the news, it's there. It has infiltrated social media channels - Facebook, Twitter, even your favourite WhatsApp groups are full of it. More so since President Cyril Ramaphosa's speech on measures to combat it.
The speech was supposed to allay fears and put worried minds at rest. But did it? How do you feel knowing that South Africa is in a State of Emergency and quarantined from the rest of the world? For some of the older folks in the room, a State of Emergency might take you back to the violent end-days of Apartheid. It certainly did for us. Not a very resourceful place to start dealing with the COVID-19 emotions is it?
Today WhatsApp has been awash with all sorts of messages, videos and images about how to cope with it, what it is and what sort of dire future - thanks Christoforos Anagnostopoulos - we can expect to live through. Someone we know shared a story about panicked buying at a local supermarket, earlier today. All perishables are gone, all toilet paper is gone, multiple shelves are empty. People were fighting over trolleys and the dark side of humanity was beginning to show.
Given that sometimes the fear of something can be worse than the thing itself, here at 5th Place we decided to focus on what we know and do best, deal with emotions.
Shape of Emotion turns 2 in 2020
Mindfulness, Shape of Emotion and COVID-19
We say this often and we will say it here, again. What does this make you feel? All this stuff that's buzzing around about COVID-19? Are you in shock? Denial? Numbed by the overwhelming amount of information that seems to be everywhere? Each person you meet has an opinion on it. And yet there's not much going around about dealing with the emotional side of things. What are you doing to attend to the way you feel about COVID-19?
Minimising and reducing stress is especially important during a time like this. When stressed by a real or imagined thing, our body releases hormones and chemicals in preparation to either fight the threat or run away from it. Some of these suppress the immune system which is exactly the opposite of what we need right now. Here's where your favourite healthy stress-releasing activities come into play.
Practicing mindfulness whether it be meditation or breathing exercises so that you can return to the present moment will be of benefit. Practicing Shape of Emotion regularly will also help. Remember we have a Thursday evening class you can attend, online, for free, to release difficult or challenging feelings and emotions. If there's enough interest, we'd be happy to run more classes at different times - reach out and let us know if this is something you'd like or need.
Shape of Emotion is all about releasing an emotion of your choice in the moment. Feeling afraid about COVID-19, use Shape of Emotion. Feeling anxious about it, use Shape of Emotion. Feeling stressed, use -- you get the idea! Neither one of us has had a cold or been sick since we formulated Shape of Emotion two and a bit years ago. Our current daily Shape of Emotion practice has been key in keeping us above the hullabaloo and dirty, fear ridden, noise that seems so pervasive at the moment.
Could there be something else happening?
Since we first became aware of the COVID-19 situation, Matthew went off on a mission to understand what was going on. Adept as he is at digging up obscure and hard to find information there were a few things that didn't make sense about the virus and the ensuing quarantine situation that has shut-down most of the modern world and South Africa. Without going into too much detail here (this issue of The Week That Was is already long enough!) it was only when we sat with the COVID-19 situation in meditation and numerous Shape of Emotion sessions that things started to fall into place.
When we focused on being present and connecting with the situation through our feeling centre and not just our thinking centre were we able to see the picture in a different way. There are subtle and quiet forces at play across the world that are being acted out behind the brash drama splashed across the news and your WhatsApp. These forces are at work to bring about many global changes we have been hoping and longing for. Changes that support a more connected world filled with possibility.
Our suggestion is to focus on you, your health and wellbeing. Remember your health is your responsibility. Do the best you can to both support your physical needs and your emotional needs during this period. If you are in any doubt, contact your doctor or medical aid. There's also the South African Department of Health's dedicated coronavirus website and hotline number: 0800-029-999. We are here for emotional support if need be. Reach out to us using our 5th Place email details or the contact details on our website.