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Article Published in MumAbroad: Covid and Expat Resilience

Covid-19 has entered our world. The uncertainty and restrictions are testing the limits of our resilience. Australian Psychologist Leigh Matthews from Therapy in Barcelona is here to reassure you that Barcelona’s internationals have what it takes to handle this.

 


Covid Travel

As expats we share unique challenges in this time. We are concerned about ageing parents, or loved ones, in countries of origin we can no longer travel to. Borders are closed and 14 day quarantine periods make it untenable to visit or vacation. Many of us are cautious about air travel and risk of infection. For a population of intrepid travellers, travel restrictions are maddening. Many of us are suffering a severe case of itchy feet with no panacea in sight.

Crisis Parenting

A virus has thrown our world into a state of suspension, restrictions, uncertainty and masks. The comfort of our daily routines were snatched away and, overnight, we were thrust into 100 groundhog days of confinement. For parents, put upon with the haphazard juggling of work from home and crisis schooling, feelings of guilt, burnout, anger, exhaustion and despair compounded the undercurrent of anxiety and grief accompanying the covid crisis. An American Psychological Association poll*  found that 7 out of 10 parents experience their children’s distance learning as a primary source of pandemic stress (71%). 

Covid Uncertainty and The Power of Now

Unexpectedly, we have had to adapt to a state of profound uncertainty. The truth is we never  had certainty, because all our well laid plans have always had the potential to be thwarted by life happening. However, we HAD the sensation of certainty and covid-19 burst our bubble. As a psychologist, I see the opportunity in this state of uncertainty. On the one hand, we can (and do) focus on the unanswered questions and anxieties about the future state of travel, school, work, health, finances, jobs, life as we knew it and the state of the new normal. On the other hand, tearing the thin veil of certainty allows us to see life for what it is and to live what many spiritual teachers and schools of psychology purport: all we have is NOW and we better be mindful of it. We are in the midst of a mindfulness class, on a global level. There is no escape.

To read the rest of the article, click here

By Leigh Matthews

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