Maintaining Calm During Daily Stresses From Covid-19 Restrictions

Are the stresses of the COVID-19 restrictions beginning to get to you? You aren’t alone. Many are feeling stress, anxiety, and depression. The feelings of stress come in many forms for you and your loved one with a disability. It may be feelings of irritability, an inclination to get frustrated easily, feelings of sluggishness or just unmotivated. You may feel that your house or walls are shrinking.

The emotions you are feeling are normal under these circumstances. Tara Brach, a leader in mindfulness based meditation, created the acronym RAIN to help increase self-compassion and understanding when having to deal with the stresses of life. This can be used when feeling the stresses caused by the worry and fear of illness, and the restrictions of staying at home more.

  • Recognize what is happening (roots of understanding)
  • Allow life to be just as it is (grounds of love)
  • Investigate with gentle attention (deepens understanding)
  • Nurture (awakens love)
  • After the RAIN (realizing freedom from narrow identity)

R – Recognize what’s going on – means consciously acknowledging the thoughts or behaviors affecting you. This may be done by whispering to yourself what you are most aware of happening right now in this moment. What are the feelings you are feeling?

A – Allow the experience to be there, just as it is. – Don’t try to fix or avoid anything. Recognize the fear, the frustration for what it is. Mentally whisper to yourself that yes, right now I am frustrated. By allowing the feeling to be recognized you are creating a pause that brings a deeper attention to the emotion before reacting.

I – Investigate with interest and care – To investigate bring more focused attention to your present experience to what is felt in the body. You might ask yourself the following questions:

  • How am I experiencing this emotion in my body?
  • What am I believing with this emotion?
  • What wants attention?

N – Nurture with Self-Compassion – Try to sense what the wounded, frightened, hurting place inside you most needs and then offer some gesture of active care that may address this need. Do you need a message of reassurance that all is alright with your family? Do you need to forgive yourself? Do you need to feel loved?

Self-compassion begins the moment you recognize you are suffering. It comes to fullness when given self-care. Sometimes just placing your hands over your heart and pausing with deep breaths will bring a feeling of self-love or recall the feeling of being loved.

During these times of high anxiety, stress, and isolation it is important to have compassion. By nature, most people easily give compassion to others but allowing time to give compassion to oneself is just as important. In order to care for others time must be set aside for the caregiver to take care of oneself. Allow yourself time to take a mental break. Using RAIN can help bring attention to your emotional needs.

From: Tara Brach RAIN: A Practice of Radical Compassion

Written by: Iris Neil, M.Ed and Qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Teacher with University of Massachusetts School of Medicine Center for Medicine. July 2020