It has now been five weeks since the governor of Pennsylvania mandated my small business must shut down.

For the first two and a half weeks, I didn’t leave my house other than to take a walk and get some sunshine.  It now looks like it will be at least another two weeks before I am allowed to re-open the Spa, even though chiropractic care is available as it has been deemed essential.

Let’s go back for a minute to March 16 when the order came – no more than 10 people at gatherings.  Really??  I cried as I realized my book launch preview party five days later would not happen as planned.  What a crushing feeling as we had built so much excitement for the launch of The Gift of Loss: Transforming Tragedy; this was my opportunity to thank people who have been part of the journey.

Changing gears…

The next day we quickly changed gears and considered options.  We could do a hybrid event, 10 people in person and the rest via zoom.   We could do the whole thing via zoom.  We could postpone the launch all together and wait out this crazy storm.  After talking with my publisher, family and colleagues, we decided to move forward as scheduled and do the preview event via zoom.  What better time would there be to share a message of hope and inspiration with the world than the times in which we are currently living?

It was an incredible opportunity to thank people, share about the writing process, and give an author reading.  I was honored when nearly 50 people attended the zoom event.  It was spectacular, and even though I would have preferred to do the event in-person, I was humbled to have so many people participate.

The book launched three days later with an all-day facebook event, including live readings, Q & A discussions, games, and more.  So many people checked in throughout the day and left positive, encouraging comments.  In fact, the book went to #1 best seller status in less than 10 hours!!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

Fast forward to today.

We continue to be under a stay-at-home order.  It’s true we are living in uncharted and uncertain times.  For many, it is surreal and a little scary because there is almost too much information to process.  It all serves to create FUD – fear, uncertainty and doubt.

As I see it, fear comes in two forms – what you can see and what you cannot.  When someone points a gun at your head, you can see the immediate fear.  However, when things are unknown and uncertain, you cannot see the fear so it begins to play around in your mind.

When you experience fear, your body’s natural response is to go into survival mode, also called “fight or flight.”  It’s an automatic response that you cannot control.  Your muscles contract, your blood vessels constrict, and your body produces more cortisol – the stress hormone – than it can handle.  The longer your body stays in stress, the more your body marinates in cortisol which is not healthy.

Fear is a natural response.

Uncertainty is nothing more than fear taking hold of your thoughts which can keep you from acting the way you normally would.  When you become uncertain, you are less likely to feel assured of your convictions and values.  That leads to doubt, and your mind continuously plays the “what if” game.

It is pretty safe to say fear of the unknown causes you to become stressed.  It is proven that higher stress levels for long periods of time will affect the body’s ability to function optimally.  Stress suppresses the immune system and its ability to protect.  It also lessens your body’s ability to respond in positive ways.

Yes, we live in uncertain times.  It’s true that we do not know when we will be able to resume some semblance of the life we led prior to March 15.  It is also true that we do not know what the future holds given the state of affairs.  But stop and think for a minute.  Have you ever been 100% certain in this life?

These uncertain times have given each of us a gift, and you have a choice as to how you embrace that gift.

It is an opportunity to evaluate what is really important in your life.  With a slower-paced world, you have a choice – a clean sheet of paper on which to chart where you go from here.  How will you choose to spend your time?  How will you choose to look at life?  How will you choose to connect with others?  What will you choose to be grateful for?  How will you choose to handle the fear of the unknown?

Fear is a natural response to certain situations.  It really comes down to how long you will allow fear to manage your life.  Fear is an uncontrollable reaction when the body thinks it is being threatened.  However, you can control the length of your response and whether or not you remain in a state of survival or you choose to come through it and thrive.

Next time, I’ll share some thoughts on how to come through fear and survival to thriving and living.  Until then, I’d love to hear how you are doing during these times and how we might support you in your self-care journey.  My hope is for you stay positive, safe and well…