Practice Patience, Kindness, and Forgiveness

By Karrie Osborn

How COVID-19 is affecting us is exhausting. And while business closures and stay-at-home orders have loosened up in many states, our “new normal” continues to be an evolving prospect of uncertainties. From financial and safety concerns to the unknown about what tomorrow holds, we’re having a lot of feelings about what we are going through. But we cannot let those feelings overwhelm us. Now is the time to control what we can; recognize when we need help; and practice patience, forgiveness, and kindness toward ourselves and others.


Practice Forgiveness

If there was ever a time to be forgiving toward yourself and others, it’s right now. One of the best bits of advice I’ve come across lately was directed at parents. The message was simple—give yourself some slack. It’s absolutely acceptable to be a “good enough” parent right now. This is not the time to beat yourself up about the excess amount of screen time the kids (or you) got today, or that you let your teenager bake a cake for lunch, or that you’ve grown quite happy in sweat pants.
In that same vein of forgiveness, don’t feel you have to apologize for your emotions—they are going to come, some at less opportune times than others. Find a quiet place to let it go, or share your tears with your partner, but don’t feel guilty about having the emotions. Let the feeling come and let it pass. And then move on.
Forgiveness is also important as we deal with social media conflicts or loved ones who don’t share our point of view. People can act poorly when faced with fear, but that doesn’t mean you need to engage with that energy. Remember, we each have our own story. We have not walked in each other’s shoes, so we may not know or understand the experiences that have shaped someone else. Take a breath and move on. Save your energy for more important things.

Take a Break

If your normal social media groups have become too toxic, take a break. If the news is becoming too much, change the channel. Theo Tsaousides, clinical assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says it’s OK to tune out when you find yourself getting inundated with coronavirus information. He suggests pulling out a coloring book, reading a novel, or taking a walk to reset and replenish the batteries.
Here are a few other self-care tools to try when you need to “change the channel”:
• Check out ABMP’s Meditate & Move, a series of guided videos to help find moments of reprieve and renewal.
• Reflection, action, and connection are the focus of the Now for Tomorrow podcasts from Deepak Chopra, MD, founder of The Chopra Foundation.
• Children benefit from self-care tools too. Share the exercises in “Breathe With Me: Guided Meditation for Kids” by Mariam Gates.
• Finding a positive thing every day is something invaluable to the spirit. Whether it’s an entry of gratitude in your journal, a tickle-fest with the kids, or simply taking a moment to smile, make sure you witness and live in the positive moments.


Helping Others Can Also Be Healing

Helping others is often a powerful way to traverse your own healing journey. There are lots of ways you can support your community today.
• Check in with your neighbors; see if you can help anyone get groceries or pet goods, or help walk dogs.
• Help distribute meals to children still picking up necessary food stocks from their local schools. Connect with your school district for opportunities to help.
• Donate time at a local food bank. Many volunteers who normally staff these nonprofits are over 65 and fall in the high-risk category for contracting COVID-19. With increased demands on these facilities across the country, help is needed.
• Donate blood if you are healthy. The Red Cross is asking for donors; go to for info.
• If you are able to help support small businesses, consider pre-buying your next few massage sessions.

You Are Not Alone

It can’t be said enough. You are not alone in this crisis. We’re not sure how long it’s going to take to get things back to a “normal” place, and the emotional toll could be deep, but you have an advantage in that you understand the importance of self-care. Use that knowledge! When you utilize all your self-care tools, honor your emotions, have patience with yourself and others, and embrace kindness and forgiveness, the turbulent times ahead will be more manageable.

Karrie Osborn is senior editor for Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.