Stay in your own lane

Or how to react to #COVIDIOTS

In the current Corona-climate, this title’s even more apt: stay in your own lane, and at least 2m away from other people, yes? But I also mean in terms of perspective. We’re in the midst of changeable times. Information is being updated on the daily as learnings are taken on board. Not everyone can keep up.

I’m seeing lots of people—particularly on Facebook and Twitter—having angry, ALL CAPS SHOUTY rants about what other people are doing (or, from their P.O.V not doing). This anger is mostly directed at those stockpiling shopping and going outside en masse.

They’re directing their focus on #COVIDIOTS, doing what they perceive to be the ‘wrong’ thing—but unless they speak directly to the people they’re pissed off with (keeping a mindful distance), their angst isn’t going to. Change. A. Thing. All that will happen is their own stress levels—and blood pressure!—will rise.

It’s important to remember (as we keep hearing) this outbreak is unprecedented. That is, we’ve never seen the likes of this virus before. As a result, up until recently, the official advice wasn’t super clear.

Words are important. Unless they are direct, they can be open to interpretation. And you’d be surprised at how many people can see the same thing and come away with a completely different hot take on it. Think of your favourite film, and I’ll find you five people who think it’s shite.

Perhaps people thought “social distancing” meant being outside but not speaking to or coming into direct contact with others?

What if the terminology was stronger from the start? A concise “do not leave your house” instead of the more wishy-washy “social distancing” and “self isolating.”

Yet it’s worth remembering:

🚫 Not everyone has constant access to the Internet or a TV.
🚫 Not everyone has their own outdoor space.
🚫 Not everyone can work from home.
🚫 Not everyone lives in a safe, non-abusive environment.
🚫 Not everyone can afford to do one big grocery shop to prepare for the weeks ahead.

There are a myriad of reasons as to why people were outside (and yes; let’s not get it twisted, one of those reasons could also be sheer ignorance or arrogance—but even then, there’ll be a root cause for it).

So what can you do, apart from yelling into the void from behind your window? Stay in your own lane. Here’s how:

Lead by example

Focus your energies into doing the right thing and protecting yourself/those in your household to the best of your ability. Have gentle conversations with those in your social circle who are disregarding government advice but remember yelling your opinion at them is unlikely to have an effect. Think back to the divide during Brexit. It’s a nigh on impossible task to change people’s opinions, unless they feel it. Perhaps show them a visual to better explain it or go for an emotional trigger—if they have an elderly or more vulnerable relative and the repercussions on them.

But generally, don’t overly concern yourself with what other people are or aren’t doing. Start with yourself first. Share (in a responsible way) the stuff you have plentiful supply of. Post pictures of how you’re spending your time in a positive way. Show others how staying at home isn’t so scary after all.

Relinquish control

You can’t control the actions of others. All you can control is your response. But understand your immediate reaction of getting angry relates back to FEAR. Fear of being powerless over the situation.

And that guy you’re angry at, who you’ve seen stock-piling the toilet roll? Guess what? He’s operating from a place of FEAR, too. He can’t stop the virus from spreading but he can sure as hell make sure he provides for his family. So your responses aren’t that different, really.

Interestingly, people who really rile us are a mirror for ourselves. Essentially, the very traits we detest in others, we also exhibit. Or, their behaviour triggers an insecurity we have (even if you don’t know it). For example, in this situation it might be around dying or ill health. Or simply about following the rules and respecting authority. So sit with that a while, too. See what comes up. And then rise up above it. Don’t add to the drama—it’s not needed right now.

Find compassion

So if you and that COVIDIOT aren’t so dissimilar after all, why not treat them with a little compassion? This might sound slightly woo, but I do this with people that piss me off say, when I used to commute. Someone would sit next to me on the train and take up extra space. Elbow over the armrest, digging into my ribs. Fidgeting about. Eating smelly food. I’m almost triggered thinking about it now.

But you know what I did? I showered them with love. I imagined them being surrounded in a purple bubble of energy, coming from me to them and sent loving thought their way (all in my head, obvy. I’m not full-on woo just yet). Almost immediately they retracted their arms and stopped fidgeting. And got off at the very next stop! I spent the rest of the journey with the adjacent seat remaining empty.

Another technique is to imagine the person you’re angry at as a little child. Think of them acting out of fear and attempting to deal with the situation and their suffering the best way they know how. People act in strange ways when they are in pain or confused—or both. Seeing them as a small child will make you feel more compassionate towards them. Forgive them. We’re all navigating these new times together.

Focus on the good

When you’re sooo busy calling out others for their wrong-doings and focusing on all that’s bad with the world, you’re centred around hella lotta negativity.

😨 They’re doing it WRONG.
😨 The virus is getting WORSE.
😨 The shops are EMPTY.

Even if you don’t believe in Law of Attraction (how thoughts become things), even just saying those words out loud feels like a proper downer, right?

Instead, why not focus on the good things in your life. The things you do have in abundance. The positives (because there are many) arising from this situation. A great way to start feeling high vibe is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. I used to roll my eyes at this phrase, but shit me, it works. The simplest version is to come up with three things you’re grateful for, every day.

I like to go through mine in the evening, and I’ll often ask my boyfriend his. But you can simply say them in your head. Or write them down. Share yours with a friend via a voice note—it’s up to you. But the main thing is to a) do it daily and b) really feel grateful for each thing as you list it off.

When you’re grateful, you shift your mindset from one of lack to abundance. And you’ll find the energy around you changes, too. Good things will start to happen.

Go offline some of the time

Or at least, limit the amount of Corona content you’re consuming on the daily. Consider checking the news once first thing in the morning, and then watching the daily government briefing in the evening. Constantly refreshing your Twitter feed and panic-sharing posts on Facebook is only going to make you feel more on edge—and don’t forget digital articles are ~designed~ to be click-baity and so emotive you’re compelled to share. They want you to spend as long as possible on their site. Don’t fall for it.

Use this time we have at home to give yourself a break. Learn a new skill, if you want, but it’s just as OK to sit in your garden and read a book, or watch a film. Or three. Don’t feel like you have to to constantly be online sharing all the cool sh*t you’re doing, just to garner likes, and therefore approval. Unplug and use this special time to stop being so afraid of being alone with your damn self and start going within.

Trust official information sources only

Remember, even in times of crises, not everything the media reports on is entirely accurate. One of my friends in Brighton was appalled at an article claiming the beach front was heaving. She can see the promenade from her window and says it was deserted all day—an old stock photo was used to accompany the article.

Similarly, many people have shared a video clip of a young woman struggling to breathe in hospital. It’s still very distressing and valid BUT it’s an old video from when she was hospitalised due to lung disease, so nothing to do with the current outbreak. Unless you can 100% confirm the sources and the accuracy of the reporting, it’s best to avoid believing everything you read to avoid adding to the confusion.

The best sources of information are the official ones like: GOV.UK and the World Health Organisation.

Hope you found this helpful. Stay safe. Stay at home. Remember to thrive as well as survive. Sending positive energy your way. ✨