The Covid-19 crisis has radically changed our lives and whether we want to accept it or not it is a challenge that each of us needs to adapt to for us to gain some form of stability again in our lives.
There is much speculation as to when and how the crisis will end which is all adding to the fear of what the future holds for us all.
As Karen Lukanovich, an Olympian and coach, wrote back in May “as we strive to adapt to our new reality since the arrival of covid-19 most of us are struggling to stay centered in the midst of a complete upheaval in our lives. Feeling unsettled, anxious and fearful is normal, and the opportunity lies in how we respond”.
These are extremely challenging times – but we can find ways to help ourselves and others to cope in a way that is more manageable for us.
At the time of writing this in the UK-England, we are in the middle of a 4-week lockdown. So, what can we do to make life better whilst we are physically isolated again?
Here are 6 things to do that may help:
Accept that you are feeling stressed, anxious, sad, overwhelmed, or whatever else you may be feeling at this time. This is perfectly understandable at a time when there are so many unknowns facing us.
One of the biggest ways we can heal is to accept how things are at that moment. When we start to acknowledge fully how we are feeling about that situation we can release it and start to focus on what we could do differently. We become more open to new ideas and new experiences.
Acceptance reduces the emotional charge and calms the amygdala, the subcortical structure in your brain involved in the processing of emotions, especially fear and anxiety.
2: Reduce your social media input:
Limit the amount of social media and news you are absorbing throughout the day. Review your social media feed and snooze any that are just providing a negative stance on the world. Incorporate more balanced views or balance negative with positive. There is some good stuff going on in the world right now as well - honest.
3: Explore your Life Vision:
Rather than watching endless news streams, you can choose to focus on a bigger picture - your future. What do you want from the rest of your life? What would you be disappointed you did NOT do? Where do you envision yourself in 10 years?
Having a clear vision of how you want your life to be is a powerful motivator. A vision helps us work towards our goals, take action, and make a change. A vision might be just what you need to stay focused!
Here are 5 questions to ponder or journal around to go deeper:
• What do you desire or yearn for in your life?
• How do you want to feel?
• What do you want to be different in your life?
• What would have happened in 3 years' time such that your life is spectacular and you feel magnificent about yourself?
• What's your dream for this lifetime? Imagine you're 90 years old and looking back over your life; what did you do that made you proud and happy?
TIP: Remember to think possibility, not probability! Don't limit yourself and your ideas because you don't believe something is likely. Instead, believe it's possible - and even if you don't get all the way there, you may get close - or even find something better along the way!
4: Be in the moment:
At THIS moment you are OK. You are safe. Take one day at a time. One hour or even one breath at a time if you need to.
This tip is about being super-present, not thinking ahead or remembering the past, but practicing BEING.
This is a PRACTICE - meaning you will have to do it over and over again - bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it's a great skill to have to take back to "normal" life.
So when you notice you're worrying, feeling twitchy, and want to pick up your device and find out what the "latest" is about the COVID situation, say to yourself, "It's OK. At this moment, I am safe. At this moment I am OK." You can also add or say, "At this moment, my children/partner/family are safe."
I bet you have some organisational things on your to-do list (like going through winter clothes, sorting out items to donate, or tidying the laundry closet, garage, or shed) that have been on there for a while. Use this isolation period to get them done!
Getting organized and de-cluttering allows us to exert some control over our lives - and therefore feel less helpless! Plus, it'll feel amazing just to have it done.
Organize your wardrobes, your garage, your books, your photos, office, kitchen equipment. Whatever needs organizing.
A simple 3 Step Method to go through your stuff:
1. If you're keeping it, be sure to DECIDE where it will "live" from now on.
2. If you're not keeping it, create three piles:
• Things to BIN
• Things to RECYCLE
• Things to DONATE (and if relevant to pass on to specific people).
3. When you're done, put each pile into bags or boxes, and then once lockdown is over you can get rid of what you no longer need.
TIP: You don't need to do any of this 'in one sitting', do an hour a day - you'll be surprised how much you get done if you keep it up for a week!
6: Begin a Meditation Practice:
Meditation is a practice that has been proven scientifically to calm us, help us be more creative, and be happier (for starters). It is extremely beneficial.
There is a lot to learn about meditation - and it's called a Meditation Practice for a reason. But it's also not as hard as it sounds. You can start with as little as 5 minutes a day - and it's good to build a routine, so you meditate at the same time every day.
It helps to have a quiet space without interruptions - which many of us don't have at the moment. And for some people, trying to meditate when anxious can be stressful. If this is the case, listen to a relaxing guided meditation instead.
Try this guided meditation for creating calm and space within chaos
There are many ideas that we could add to this list. What’s most important is for you to think of ideas that resonate with you and be open to trying them out.
By actioning some of these ideas it will help focus you on what you are in control of and the more we focus on what we can control and influence, the calmer and less anxious we are.
It’s also important to believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation or challenge and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what - you'll find a way.
This current and strange COVID-19 situation will end. And when it does, you'll be proud you made the effort to embrace and find a way through it that has worked for you, and in the process, you may have learned something new - whether it's about yourself, fresh knowledge, a new skill - and who knows what else!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious at the moment and you would like to receive a tool that will help you feel calmer and in control then please get in touch by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can to send this to you.
I do hope you have found some inspiration and helpful ideas that will help you move into more of a comfortable place whatever that looks like for you.
Stay safe and healthy everyone!