Coping during COVID-19: Riding the wave
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
"You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf."
Today, you may be flooded and overwhelmed by strong emotions. Feeling like the waves, tossed and turned by the wind. You may be experiencing waves of hopelessness, fear or anxiety which feel too strong to deal with in the present moment. Emotions are like waves; some build up and crash in fullness and power. Others calmly pass by, washing over in pleasant splashes. One thing is for sure: waves change – and your emotions do to. What you are feeling today is no exception. Just because you are struggling now does not mean you always will. This moment will not last forever.
Just as a surfer might experience fear as the waves approach, fear or other challenging emotions may also come over you. Rather than being engulfed by the waves, you can ride them out, eventually learning how to surf. Here’s a step-for-step guide to riding the emotional waves you may be battling with:
Experience your emotion as a wave, coming and going. Just notice the emotion without trying to get rid of it, fight it or swim away. Just allow it to be there, present. Notice the intensity, the rise and fall of the wave. Notice where in your body you feel your emotion, is your heart racing, are your muscles aching? Remember: you are not your emotion, the emotion will not last forever. Remind yourself of times you have felt differently, remind yourself that this wave will pass. Visualise the wave washing over you, not sweeping you away or overwhelming you. Accept that the emotion will wash over.
Take a deep, mindful breath and repeat as many times as you need.