11 Tips for Staying Calm During the Time of the Coronavirus.
There's so much fear and uncertainty around the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation.
How can we be as calm and happy as we can be, under these circumstances?
For people who are fortunate enough to be in good health (remember gratitude!), in addition to crucial health measures such as washing our hands and practicing social distancing, what can we do in a challenging time like this?
- Take care of your body. This is important for health and also for mood. Get enough sleep, wake up at a normal hour, eat healthy food, don't drink too much, stick to a regular routine of personal hygiene and dress, and in particular...
- Keep moving. This may be tough if your normal exercise routine is disrupted. Figure out how to keep active. Even in a small space you can do yoga, you can watch YouTube videos for cardio workouts, you can use exercise apps, or one of many other resources to give you a work-out at home. Drag those dusty hand-weights out from under the bed. And remember to stand up and walk around frequently. In everyday life, we have to move from Point A to Point B, and it may take more effort to get yourself on your feet.
- Beware of information overload. We all want to stay up to date with the latest news, but it's easy to get overwhelmed. Learn what you need to learn, but don't get sucked into the three-hour scroll. Monitor your screen time so you have a solid sense of your habits. You might want to schedule time to check current events—perhaps twice a day—so the news doesn't overtake you.
- Prepare. When a crisis hits, people want to prepare. People don't always prepare in the most helpful and rational ways, but they want to do something, and they will do something. So, get informed by a sound source such as http://bit.ly/2xa2KFu (BC Health Ministry) about how to prepare wisely.
- Tidy up. Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous—such a petty gesture in the face of an overwhelming challenge—but outer order can give us a sense of inner calm and inner focus. It's irrational, of course, but it's true.
- Help others. One of the best ways to make ourselves happier is to make other people happier—or safer, or calmer, or better prepared. Look for ways to help others, to make sure they're prepared, that they know you're looking out for them.
- Connect with friends and family. Reach out to people who might feel isolated. This is a time when technology can really come to our aid! Call, text, do video calls, send funny videos of your dog...we all want to feel connected and cared for. Strong social relationships are a key to happiness, so find ways to help others—and yourself—avoid feeling trapped and lonely.
- Make good use of this opportunity. Being stuck at home is an opportunity that none of us wished for, but, it's an opportunity, nevertheless. Look for ways to use the time to get things done you otherwise wouldn't be able to do. Go through your closets, clear your clutter, find a YouTube work-out class and get in shape. Do yoga. Cook some new recipes. Get back into meditation. Update your resume. Organize your photos.
Keep a journal of this time. It's a milestone in the life of the world, and when this is all over,
(and at some point, it will be over), you may be very glad you kept a record.
- Catch up on books, podcasts, movies, or TV shows. Is there something ambitious you've been wanting to tackle?
- Continue or create comforting rituals. You may already have rituals that help you feel grounded throughout the day. These might be helpful now—but it might also be true that you'll have to adapt now, if your usual comforting ritual is disrupted. Find ways to have pleasant patterns through your day that make you feel grounded and calm. It might be meditation, it might be a cup of your favorite tea, it might be a bedtime story with your children.
- Reach out with love. What does it mean? It means many things...and it applies in this situation. The whole world is reeling under the weight of events. I hope that this experience, as terrible as it is, can be an event that reminds us all that we're united in our common human hope for good health and peaceful prosperity, not something that drives us apart. Let's keep our clean hands to ourselves, and our loving hearts open to others.