I’m done [[emotional first aid for COVD freak-outs]]

I’m done. Emotionally done.

What is there to do about it?

The past two weeks on Ontario have been full of pretty grave news on the COVID front, and government action to address them.

The government actions taken have been distressing to many and have put vulnerable groups–who are always disproportionately affected by adversity, and COVID is no exception–at risk. (If you’re a member of these groups and have been affected by COVID-related policing, the 519 Legal Clinic and BLAC can help.)

In addition, there have been more killings of racialized people in the US this past week–Black young men and Sikh people.

I have noticed a lot of people have been saying they are just done, emotionally.

Mary Poppins looking at the lens and then away from the lens with the words Fuck this I'm done

I have to say: me too.

I’m pausing here to take a breath….

I invite you to do it too…. pause… breathe in…. breathe out…

I invite you to notice now how that feels.

I’ve been asking myself: How am I going to keep going?

How am I going to relate to this so that it doesn’t break me?

I’ve decided on the practice of holding both.

Holding both

Holding both is the practice of acknowledging all of what is happening.

It’s distinct from “negativity” in that it makes room for what is good and nourishing. It’s distinct from toxic positivity in that it includes the distress we feel.

It is a purposeful practice so I recommend setting aside about five minutes for it.

Items needed: pen and paper or bowls/containers and small objects to put in them.

The practice of holding both

  • As you begin, take a moment to tell yourself:
    • I am taking time to hold both.
    • I will be holding them, not thinking about or analyzing them but simply holding.
  • Pause
  • Notice the breath


  • Acknowledge the distress
    • Say to yourself “I’m noticing I’m feeling distressed.”
  • Pause again and notice the breath


  • I invite you to acknowledge, one by one, the things that are contributing to your distress
    • Think about this like a grocery list; it’s an inventory, not an investigation.
    • It can be supportive to make a point form note of what specifically is bothering you.
    • Another option is to set two bowls or containers in front of you and place a small object (penny, pebble, grape, etc.) in the bowl for each item on your list.
  • Pause again and notice the breath


  • Say to yourself: I’m taking time to acknowledge all that is happening.
  • Pause again and notice the breath


  • Acknowledge what is nourishing you
    • Say to yourself: “I’m noticing what nourishes me.”
  • Pause again and notice the breath


  • I invite you to savour, one by one, the things that are nourishing you
    • it can help to make a point form note of what specifically is going well
    • another option is to set two bowls or containers in front of you and place a small object (penny, pebble, grape, etc.) in the bowl for each item on your list
  • Pause again and notice the breath


  • Now, place your attention on the two bowls
    • you might like to imagine holding them in each hand, in balance with one another
    • you might like to hold your hands out, palms cupped and facing up, imagining one bowl in each
  • Breathe in and out a few times with neutral awareness on both bowls, and the sensation in both hands.
  • As you breathe in and out, you might like to say to yourself: I’m taking time to hold both.
  • Notice what is happening in your body and mind now that you have done this.


  • When you feel ready, bring this to a close

You might like to consider engaging in this practice daily.

Address injustice and nourish yourself

As an adjunct to the holding both practice, you could ask yourself what actions you can take to nourish yourself and others–including addressing injustice.

Consider setting up a buddy practice to help sustain you in your practice.

Chronic stress and trauma dysregulate the nervous system and make it hard to hold onto and keep track of things.

Having a weekly check-in call with a friend where you both talk over your holding both practice for the week can really help.

As you continue with this practice, you can include the actions you have taken in the list of things that nourish you.

Addressing injustice

Here are some resources for addressing injustice:

6 easy ways to support the Asian-Canadian community

Defund the police Canada¬† (If you’re rolling your eyes and wondering how this would even work, read this.)

Black Lives Matter Canada

Nourishing yourself

Audio recordings of guided nourishing experiences

A stress relief practice

Videos to help you with stress

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About the author 

Shulamit Berlevtov  -  Shulamit (she/her) is the Entrepreneurs' Therapist. She is working passionately to mitigate the entrepreneurial mental health crisis through keynote speaking and educational workshops and by supporting women entrepreneurs 1:1 to prevent burnout and preserve their peace of mind as they ride the emotional rollercoaster of running a business.

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