These are strange and uncertain times. We are confronted with a virus that has put the world on hold and has changed how we live and socialize. We worry and ruminate about our health and the health of our loved ones. We have worries about the economy and our jobs. It seems impossible to escape the overwhelming amount of information around the topic, online and offline. We might overthink and lack a sense of grounding or contact with ourselves. Some of us have to deal with this in isolation.
In a situation of a pandemic, such as coronavirus (COVID-19), we are all confronted with the fragility of human life as well as with our limitations to control health, uncertainty and life as such. Death is a primordial source of anxiety for all human beings. The current situation can lead to strong feelings of anxiety, dread, sadness, isolation, grief, hopelessness and meaninglessness. At the same time, as existential philosophers and psychotherapists have been writing for hundreds of years, confrontation with death and death anxiety carries an intrinsic potential for a more authentic and meaningful life. Irvin Yalom, an influential psychiatrist and psychotherapist, says that we can find life-transforming and authentic messages in those fears that we were supposed to avoid or dismiss. These might be telling us what really matters to us in view of the fact that our time, or the time of our loved ones, on this planet is limited.
The existential issues, that are even more salient during this period, are difficult to deal with on our own. The presence of another human being can not only lighten the burden of suffering, but also contribute to our understanding of our struggle and furthermore help us make the shift that we need at that moment. A crisis always implies two things, a danger but also a chance. A time like this can be a chance to adapt in novel ways to challenging situations and find new interesting aspects of our own life. At Inter-Being Psychologists, we specialise in working with existential issues. We have expertise working with topics such as death anxiety, isolation, grief, meaning and meaninglessness, hopelessness, authenticity, responsibility, choice and other existential issues. Furthermore, some of our psychologists are confronted with this crisis situation whilst living in a foreign country with a different health care system than what one is used to and one’s family living far away, not knowing whether one can get there if necessary. You might find yourself in a similar situation.
During these times we continue to help our clients and we are able to offer online therapy in various languages that is covered by health insurance. Soon we will be able to see clients also face-to-face again in our offices. We don’t have a waiting list and are able to work in the evenings. We would be glad to help you with what you are going through. Get in touch if you would like to plan a session or have any questions.
What can you do to take care of yourself in the time of coronavirus?
– It is important to stay active, move, be in contact with your body. Sport, go for a walk into nature, stretch, yoga, dance, meditate.
– Reconnect with people far away, that you have lost contact with, as well as those who are close. Have real and authentic contact with those you love.
– Keep yourself informed but limit the time you spend on following the current situation.
– Seize the opportunity to learn new skills, read, pick up a hobby, a forgotten passion, take extra good care of yourself such as for instance making fresh
juices or cooking delicious meals.
– Substitute the time you spend on your cell phone with these other activities.
– Keep daily hygiene routines, sleep and eat well.