Managing our New Reality

April 22, 2020 | By More

By Kate Kearney


It’s a strange time in the world. In order to protect ourselves and each other the nature of how we live our lives has changed for the time being. With this we are quickly realising that much of life really is not in our control as a lot of what we take for granted day to day is no longer available to us. Uncertainty can be scary and unnerving yet perhaps the fact that we are all in this situation together is mitigating some of that fear. The best protection we have from this virus is one another. Our outlook on this has to be collective in nature. We have to protect the vulnerable as much as we can and to do that we need to curtail our movements and our physical interactions. It’s hard but must be done!

But …it is hard! We are a social species…It is challenging to confine ourselves to our homes and withdraw from physical interactions. It’s also a worrying time for many with uncertainty about jobs and finances as well as deep concerns about health. With all of this in mind we will need to take steps for our self-care so that we can come through this time in the best way. 

I’ve been wondering how I can help. I’m a psychotherapist…I tell myself I should be able to help…I want to be able to help! But perhaps like many I feel uncertain, vulnerable and unsure of how to make sense of this sudden shift in our daily lives. So to manage this I began to think about what are the important values that may be helpful to guide my days in order to get through this time as best I can and to share them so that perhaps they may help others.  

I have reflected about these values and decided to use the acronym SPRING to help focus on them. Spring  reminds me that despite this upheaval, life is still going on all around us. The world is still spinning and the seasons are unfolding. Spring time is in the air. The daffodils are beginning to flower, the cherry blossoms are in bloom, lambs are being born, there is a gentle stretch in the evenings and somewhere the sun is getting ready to shine.


S – Step into Self Compassion

P –People Power

R – Remember Routine

– Ignite Interests

N- Nurtured by Nature

G – Ground with Gratitude


This is an uncertain and challenging time and we have never needed compassion more. It is okay to feel scared, vulnerable, angry, sad, confused, disappointed. It is okay to feel however we feel. Self – compassion teaches us to listen to our emotions, to name and acknowledge them and then to choose to respond to the emotion in a way that serves us and helps us best.  Self-compassion is kindness but it is also courage and wisdom. Self-compassion is not weak, it is doing what is best for us even if it may sometimes seem like the harder option.  It’s maintaining self-care, creating moments of stillness in our minds and moving towards difficult emotions in a tender manner.  When we feel threatened our mind speeds up and it can be difficult to bring compassion to ourselves.  We can find moments of compassion throughout our day by checking in with emotional state, practicing deep breathing to calm the physical body and carving out moments of mindfulness to allow the busy mind to settle.  

Something to try  

  • Asking the question – What would how I say to a loved one in this moment? How would I respond to someone I really cared about? – Can I bring that to myself?
  • Complete a daily activity mindfully, i.e. have a mindful cup of tea, a mindful walk etc – connect with what can be seen, heard, smelt, felt.
  • A guided mindfulness practice. 
  • Mindful movements like Yoga or Qi Gong.
  • Journaling.


The current state of the world has highlighted just how interconnected we all are to one another. However just as this connection is becoming vividly clear, the measures we need to stay safe call for us to keep a social distance. This is a challenge and can feel lonely and frustrating. Therefore as well as connecting with our own self compassion we can acknowledge the other flows of compassion that support us in life – bringing compassion to others and allowing ourselves to receive compassion from others.  We may not be able to be in each other’s physical spaces at this time but there are many ways we can continue to connect and support one another.  Keeping links with others via social media or an old fashioned phone call can facilitate this social contact. Checking in online with friends, neighbours, colleagues will remind us of our sense of connection and being in this together. Bring the focus of attention to the outpouring of compassion and kindness that is being demonstrated all around the world. Those actions are the human spirit at its very best.

Something to try

  • Connecting with family/friends -video call, phone, email or even write a letter.
  • Connect with online supports or communities.


Finding a rhythm to our days with a sense of routine will be vital at this time to cope and to thrive while being confined to our homes.  Having a good night’s sleep, getting up at our regular time, showering, dressing and eating nourishing food is really important to help us to feel good in ourselves. Find a routine that works best for you by breaking up the day into small chunks of time. Look at a balance between work, leisure and self-care. Routines will be like an anchor that keeps a sense of normality, a semblance of control and a flow to our days.

Something to try

  • Write down a gentle routine for the day beginning with a time to get up and go from there. 
  • Set some small goals for each day. 
  • Add movement breaks and gentle exercise.


Put down the screens for an interval each day. This time could be a valuable space to look creatively at life and perhaps to rediscover hobbies or develop new interests. Often in life we will have many things we wish to try but find that the fast pace of life gets in our way and we may feel that we never have time. Now we do! Things have slowed down and we can use this slower pace to reignite or rediscover the simpler things in life. So many of these activities can be done in a mindful manner and actually help still and focus the mind.

Something to try

  • Dust off the cookbooks, Bake, Play an instrument, Read one of those books that have set on the shelf for years, Write a letter, gardening, knitting, yoga, podcasts… the list is endless.


Connecting with nature will nourish and anchor us in this challenging time. Nature is all around and spending time in nature (while keeping a social distance) will be an important aspect to incorporate into the day. Getting regular exercise, taking deep breaths of fresh air or looking mindfully at the beautiful sights that nature bestows on us  – these are all ways to drink in the restorative power of nature.

Something to try

Have a walk in nature, look at the daffodils as they come into bloom, listen to the trees, watch the birds.


Spending time connecting with what we are grateful for has a powerful influence on our mental health.  These do not have to be big things, in fact the smaller and simpler the better. Gratitude has positive effect on our mood and wellbeing. It orientates our mind to abundance and away from lack. This focus brings up pleasant feelings in the body and is beneficial for stress or anxiety.

Something to try

  • Take time each evening to focus on 3 things that you are grateful for in the day. This could be a hot cup of tea, talking to a friend, going for a nourishing walk. Write them down and allow the mind to focus on this sense of gratitude and joy. 

As I reflect on these values I realise that not only are they going to help me through this Covid-19 crisis, they are values I need to connect with in my life in general. When this crisis ends I still want to continue to bring compassion to myself and others, to connect with others around me and in my community, to explore new interests and learn and grow, to have a routine that support and nourishes me, to be aware of the nature that is all around and to bring gratitude to my day. 

Resources I find useful

Self-Compassion Break by Kristen Neff –

Qi Gong Classes by Lee Holden-

Online Yoga Classes by Adriene Mishler

Taking in the Good – Rick Hanson

Books, Podcasts and Ted Talks by Brene Brown

    Category: Uncategorized

    Comments are closed.