It is fair to say we are in a crisis. A Covid crisis. If you are human you may be feeling understandable and justifiably anxious right now. We are facing lockdown for the long haul and a lot of uncertainty when it comes to our physical and financial health. Some of us are already feeling lonely. I for one have felt urges to numb out from reality, which I haven’t felt for years. It is a time to be tested by life and thus a time to rally together as a collective to support one another to keep well despite the stress and shared adversity.
Staying calm in crisis is easier said than done. The most important thing is to simply avoid choices and behaviours that will make matters worse. Think things like excessive drinking, smoking, emotional eating, impulsive spending and projecting onto those around you. Now is the time to watch your addictions and urges. Take up mindfulness to increase your awareness and develop the opportunity to intervene when it counts. Without mindfulness you may not even notice the urge to act out let alone be able to stop its onset.
Get outdoors and allow nature to soothe you. You can’t catch Coivd from the air (unless someone infectious has been using a nebuliser near you). There is no reason why you can’t take walks, go for runs or simply sit and be with the great-outdoors. Hear the birds, watch the waves, count petals on a flower and find your sense of spirituality from the divine of nature.
Find your flow in activities that occupy your mind. Get creative and experiment with things you’ve never tried before or apply a little self-compassionate discipline and start that extra-curricular activity you’ve always dreamed of but, until now, not had the luxury of time to try. I have discovered a fondness for cooking and baking. I don’t follow recipes and just create stuff. Its fun, I can do it at home and my family are into it. Who new I was so domestic.
De-clutter and clean your living space. Maybe you already do this but maybe you don’t. Either way living in a nice space is a joy and it calms the mind. I like to do one space a day or one task, such as cleaning the windows or sorting one draw. Even if no one else notices my efforts, I do. Its remarkable how a decluttered house equates to a decluttered mind and spirit. Don’t believe me? Give it a go!
Write. Expressing yourself on page is so therapeutic. You can learn from yourself and release pent up worries without dumping on another person or perpetuating any hype. I love to phone my friends but sometimes I worry they take on board my concerns & particularly right now with all the Covid concern. I have noticed I feel better after journaling than sharing worries to a friend and I suspect its better for my friends to keep most chats on positive topics rather than a having a useless worry session.
Speaking of worry, have you heard of worry time? This is where you allow yourself dedicated time to worry but outside of this committed worry time you stop any intrusive concerning thoughts or feelings and turn your attention elsewhere. I like to worry at night with my husband and then problem solve before I go to sleep. Sounds counter-intuitive to worry before bed. But it works for me. Play around with when and how long you need your worry time to be. Id suggest 20mins or less in any 24hour period. If you want to be super skill-full try to problem solves the worries that come up during the time. If worries arise in between sessions, jot them down for review next time around.
Take a cognitive vacation when you need an escape route. Forget any mind-altering substances that cause more harm than good. Instead use Netflix, read a book, listen to podcasts or get lost in the joy of your pets & children. There is no shame blocking out reality to watch your favourite tv series. Do what you need. Sometimes I go silly and play cubby with my son or something else equally escapist.
Take care and stay calm. This is a Covid crisis but no one is alone and everyone is in this together.