Resilience: Thinking and acting strongly in times of Corona


Suddenly, Australian circumstances suddenly prevail in Swiss households: there are fires everywhere. Blazing. Fueled by home office, home schooling, dense stress and children screaming. Suddenly we mutate into firefighters in our own four walls and feel overwhelmed, deceived by life. But we never wanted to join the fire department. We just wanted to have a safe office job, sell flowers or serve pasta. And then, all of a sudden, it wasn't the teachers who were supposed to save our children from breaking their heads with fractions, but us? And anyway: We had insured ourselves against everything, household contents, theft, glass and water damage - and now the uninsured commotion in our own four walls? Why had no one insured us against a virus-related house arrest? Because in a state of emergency, even the otherwise peaceful "egg hatching" and Easter bunny searches mutate into an internal family stress test.

As a divorced father of two children, with an ex-wife, stepdaughter and a new patchwork family, I too am always on duty as a fireman. I know the stress feelings when the fires are always one step ahead. With the hose in hand, surrounded by blazing fires, many feel overwhelmed.

But what's burning? Is there really a fire in the kitchen, where the dishes are piled up to the ceiling, or in the children's room, where the screams are coming from? Isn't it rather burning in our head, because a spiral of negative thoughts is spinning faster and faster there - fueled by the fear of losing control and not living up to our own expectations? And why then do we try to get the dishes into the sink with a hose and high pressure and make the children capable of fractions? Wrong question. Better: What could help us now? Perhaps rather clarity and level-headedness. So put the hose down and breathe.

My more than 15 years of experience as a coach have taught me that a misty look rarely comes from fires in children's rooms or kitchens, but almost always from fear and pain. Additionally triggered by negative beliefs and convictions that are stored in the subconscious. They are the real accelerators of fire. Usually they rage in our heads - often in the form of accusations, recriminations and convictions. Towards ourselves, others, life itself. The perfidious thing about them is that they prefer to hide behind supposed questions with Why and supplemented by a never, always, all or nothing. "Why does everything always stick to me?", "Why do you never listen to me?", "Why must I always do everything?".

Does it help in fire fighting if we can see where what is burning? Is it burning in the head or the kitchen? What exactly is burning? And what can we do to save lives and put out the fire? Water can help, but not if we are drowning. Nor when we're desperate or feeling helpless. That's when the connection to earth helps. ...and to our inner being. To peace and strength. For example through conscious breathing, moments in nature or whatever is good for us. For example also a goal- and solution-oriented self-coaching:

1. Critically review your own expectations: People who have a tendency to consider unfulfilled expectations to be dangerous sources of fire can ask themselves one or more of these questions: What is really important to me now? Which emotions do I perceive? What could I do to feel a little bit better? What can I let go, put off, postpone - without serious consequences? What happens when I stop trying to protect or save others? What do I lose when I stop feeling responsible for others? How can I strengthen myself? How do others benefit if I am calm inside - even under difficult conditions?

2. Making decisions within the sphere of influence: the "Change-Leave-Love" model can also help us achieve greater clarity: It says: You only have three real options in any given situation: 1. Change: Change what you can and want to change. If not: 2. Leave: leave / avoid what disturbs or hurts you. If that doesn't suit you in this situation either: 3. Love: Accept the situation benevolently (yes, even if it is difficult, it usually is!). If you don't choose one of these three options, you will automatically find yourself in the fourth option: the victim position. There you feel powerless, maybe angry, maybe desperate. It is recommended not to stay in this position for long. If we get stuck in it regularly and for a long time, there is the threat of stress, resignation, exhaustion. And this can have harmful physical and mental consequences.

3. Reinterpret beliefs: Often we are stuck in our thinking and therefore cannot change anything. One way to break out of the prison of thought is simple: We first ask about the conviction that prevents us from changing anything. For example (write down as needed) "I always come at the end, I always have been." Then we ask for a believable and desirable conviction, e.g. "I look after myself well if I take my needs seriously." After that we have to internalize the new sentence 2-3 times a day for a few weeks. The best way to do this is to visualize the "good success", whether sitting, biking, jogging, walking etc. This is how successful athletes do it. And they know best how to change habits in order to become mentally strong and achieve their goals.

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