As a human being and a counselling psychologist, I am well aware of the enormous psychological and personal changes many of us are going through right now.

In the face of a global Covid-19 pandemic, empathy, affection and support become significant tools to put into daily practice. I want to encourage those reading this post to embrace this time of uncertainty and use it as a time of reflection and adjustment. But above all, take it as an opportunity – instead of stressing over the unknown, and allowing negativity/hopelessness in your lives- propagate empathy and symbolic affection for one another, and especially to those most in need.

For some, this moment presents a physiological, emotional or social change. For others, it may represent a change of daily routines, eating or working habits. But for many, this is a time of emotional despair and uncertainty, and/or financial hardship. For others, it may be a time when wealth somehow becomes less valuable than physical and emotional wellbeing; a time when power somehow becomes weak. The only certainty we have at this time is that we are all affected in one way or another. And the only truth in common is that, at the moment, our physical and emotional health is a priority, as, without this, hardly anything is possible or makes sense.

This is a moment to put aside our individual or cultural differences (race, ethnicity, religious/political views, social class) and embrace our collective togetherness. A moment to think about our relatives, our friends, our community, and those around the world. A moment to show acts of kindness, humanity and solidarity as individuals, as a community, and as a society.

Therefore, as a way of coping ourselves and helping others to better cope with uncertainty, let’s all symbolically “embed” into a web of individual, community and social support motivated by empathy and symbolic effect. Let’s do so by enhancing our emotional resilience to become the strength of others, as a way to enhance ours and other psychological and emotional wellbeing, hence our physical health.

Let’s make the phone calls that we have put off for different reasons. Let us listen with our heart instead of just our ears. Let us convey empathy through our facial expressions, by waving our hand to those who we did not even notice before. By virtually accompanying one and other, or celebrating special occasion digitally. Let us give a distant hand to those who need help with simple tasks such as picking up food/medications or posting a letter for those who cannot. Most importantly, we need to abide by the rules as a way to show care for and protect ourselves and others.

For all, this is a time to symbolically ‘meet’ each other again and make a difference for ourselves and another psychological/emotional wellbeing. Aiming to prevent our kind generosity and inherent capacity for togetherness, to slowly by overtaken by a gradual disillusionment and the harsh reality of grief and loss. The practice of these symbolic relationships heightened gestures and support for each other could mitigate adverse psychological consequences in times of adversity beyond levels of integration and capacity for individual, community and social growth.

My way of contributing:  I am giving 30 minutes of free online consultation to those who contact me for support. 

I am here to listen to you, to hear how you have been coping if you are feeling lonely, scared, frustrated or angry… I am here to accompany you, because technology allows us to effectively listen and virtually interact, especially at this time that we cannot do so in person. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

Stay safe and well.

Dr Maria A. Padilla