19 Mar Staying Calm During The Coronavirus Outbreak
We are all living in a very precarious and scary time right now. This pandemic has thrown all of us into a “what if” and “will life ever be the same again” panic. With our current 24/7 news coverage, this can only add to our panic. Let me just say as way back as 3500 BC, the first recorded pandemic was reported. We have had many since then, and all have been scary. The difference with this one is that we are being isolated to prevent the further spread and avoid unnecessary deaths. As a Life Coach, I cannot talk about the biological factors, but I can talk about how we can stay sane during this difficult time.
There’s a rule that I follow and one that I tell my clients often: Can you control the situation? Can you change it? If you can’t answer “yes”, then try to let the anxiety go. Life events come into our lives, both good and bad. When we worry and panic, it’s only going to make things worse. It’s like fighting a riptide. We have always been taught to swim with the tide, not against it. The reason most people die in a riptide is because they try to fight it instead of just riding it through. The same goes for a negative life event. If you fight it, you most likely end up exhausted, angry and physically ill. The key is to “ride the wave”. I am not saying to enjoy this ride. This is definitely not enjoyable. But we still have to live in the moment and for now enjoy the simple things that we took for granted before this. Twists and turns are inevitable, and many things are beyond our control. We have to trust that things will get better and choose inner peace.
So many are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety right now, and it’s perfectly understandable. The sad thing is that stress can bring on heart attacks, headaches, depression, irritability and fatigue. Research is even saying that stress makes us gain weight! Most of us won’t get the Coronavirus, but will end up physically harmed due to our stress level. Here are, what I think, some simple and well-known ways to de-stress during this time (and even when this ends).
1. Breathe deeply, which is something that most adults don’t know how to do correctly. Breathing from the abdomen allows more oxygen to enter our system, which stimulates a relaxation response.
2. A great tip for lowering blood pressure is to pinch one nostril as you inhale, and then switch and pinch the other nostril as you exhale.
3. Limit caffeine and sugar, even the sugar-free kind.
4. Eat well. A balanced and nutritious diet of healthy proteins, vegetables and fresh fruit at regular intervals during the day will keep your blood sugar levels stable. Also, plenty of water.
5. Talk it out. Make sure there is someone to listen to your problems, be it a friend, family member, Life Coach (me) or therapist. You can also keep a journal. Don’t self-medicate with sugar, computer/t.v. use, etc. to numb or hide away what is really bothering you.
6. Exercise! I recommend every day, but if you can’t, at least 3 days a week for at least 30 minutes. You don’t need a gym. You can dance to your favorite music, run up and down stairs, etc.
7. Laugh. Humor is a great stress reliever. Read something funny every day…watch a comedy!
8. Pray. Give your worries over to a higher power…sometimes that is all you need to do to feel the load lessen.
9. Herbal Remedies. There is a product called “Rescue Remedy” which is found in most natural food stores. Just one spray on the tongue makes me feel a little more relaxed.
10. Accept. Sometimes there are things in life that we cannot change. If we try to accept the situation and not fight against it, we can learn to live with more peace.
11. De-clutter. How about a Spring cleaning? Get rid of things that are cluttering your space..a messy space causes a messy mind!
12. Sing a Song. Grab your phone or whatever and sing along with some uplifting songs. Not only does it let in oxygen, but it will crowd out the worrisome thoughts.
13. Sleep. Get a full night of sleep EVERY NIGHT. Adults need 7-9 hours. Get to bed before 11 as the body recovers and recharges itself between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. One thing all my friends and family know is that they never call my house after 9 p.m. I am usually in bed!
14. Be Aware of Your Body. Bodily posture affects your mind. Slumped shoulders and a bent spine can actually induce moodiness…tensed stomach muscles also can induce anxiety.
15. Take this situation as an opportunity to just slow down. Inhale slowly and exhale calmly.
16. Take a Warm Bath. Focus on your muscles relaxing with the rush of the water and the tension draining out of your body.
17. Do Activities that Relax You. Some people find that just going for a walk in the park is enough to feel more relaxed. Others enjoy gardening, baking, or crafting. Whatever it is for you, try to do this as much as possible.
18. Meditate. Studies show that mindfulness meditation can reduce pain, and that prayer can effect healing. Both of these practices become a sort of “time out” in our stressful lives.
19 Avoid Negative Influences. MOST IMPORTANT: Surround yourself with people who encourage you. Negativity breeds negativity. Life is hard enough without being brought down by people who constantly see the bad in every situation. Limit the time you watch the dreadful news. They gain ratings by reporting more negative news than positive.
In conclusion, please know that this too shall pass. We will get through this together as long as we don’t give up!