Being suddenly thrown into a situation of uncertainty can be very challenging for a lot of people. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, scared and even depressed during these tough times – we know it’s hard to stay calm when things are spreading out of control, but we just wish to remind you that you’re not in this alone. When we don’t manage our worry, panic can cause us to act in ways that aren’t helpful or may even worsen the situation. Staying calm is easier said than done. So here are some practical tips to consider how to “Keep Calm and Carry On” as we respond to the coronavirus. Remember that humanity is resilient. And you are a part of humanity, and so also resilient.
- Breathe slowly to turn off your internal alarm
When we are stressed, sometimes our body can respond as if we are in danger, just like an alarm system. This means our breathing style changes so we are taking heavier, more rapid breaths and taking in more oxygen. This can create physical symptoms of anxiety which can prevent us from thinking calmly and logically. When we are mindful of this response and try to breathe more slowly and more calmly, by breathing from our nose and belly (diaphragmatic breathing), we can help turn off our alarm system, which allows us to think more clearly. This works well for children and adults and can be done as we move or as a part of a mindfulness exercise.
- Seek information that uplifts, entertains or educates you positivity
Don’t overwhelm yourself with news and content that makes you anxious or unsettled. If the things you see on social media makes you upset, try cutting down your screen time and instead, focus on information that makes you happy. It can be anything from: a TV series that makes you laugh, a book you’ve always wanted to read, a podcast that teaches you something new or even your favourite movie.
- Stay connected with your loved ones
Practice social distancing physically, but stay connected by your hearts. Keep your loved ones close with phone calls and texts just to make sure they’re ok and cheer each other up – we know it’s so easy to feel lonely when times are tough, but always remember that you’re not alone. We’re all in this together.
- Practice gratitude & look to the past
Remind yourself of the little things to feel grateful about especially when not everything is going your way. Remind yourself that you’re stronger than you think you are, and that you will get through this even stronger than before – you braved through hard times in the past, and will definitely go through them again.
- Do things that calm you down
Spend time doing things that make you feel calm and balanced – you can even pick up new hobbies and try out activities you’ve never tried before! Pick up a paintbrush, a book, listen to your favor music, try meditating or yoga, get enough sleep, talk to people who make you happy.
- Set a routine for yourself
It’s easy to feel unsettled and anxious when you’re used to a fast-paced lifestyle and are forced to change it up and adapt to a new environment indoors. We find it especially useful to set a daily routine/schedule for yourself so you feel a bit more organize and in control.
- Know that it’s ok to not be productive all the time
A lot of people are afraid of wasting time and not doing enough when you’re forced to make such big changes to your daily life – but hey, you have to know that it’s ok to not be on your feet all the time. It’s ok to take a breather when you need it, and it’s ok to do nothing sometimes. Everyone gets through this differently, so don’t be so hard on yourself.
- Take care of yourself
Practice self-care and self-love during this difficult period, and make sure you’re well both mentally and physically. Drink lots of water, eat healthy, get enough sleep, exercise, stay connected with your loved ones, limit yourself from being overwhelmed by news and information that stresses you out.
- Make use of the ‘extra’ time you have
Take this opportunity to ‘level up’, but make sure to do it at your own pace. You can pick up new hobbies, learn to cook, try baking your favor dessert, make plans for your future, register for online courses, do some cleaning, clear your closet.
- Tone is everything
Talk to children about the coronavirus in an age appropriate and constructive way. Remember that the tone of the conversation makes a very big difference. Children look to you to determine how alarming a situation should be.
- Focus on what you can control instead of what you can’t
Maintain control over what you can. We often don’t need 100% control in life to survive. We have experienced many situations in our lives where we don’t have full control and we survive those as well. Look for what you can do instead of what you can’t. This will calm some worry.