How to stay calm and avoid panicking during the coronavirus pandemic
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, so do our emotions. Whatever you’re feeling — stir-crazy, bored, afraid, stressed, anxious, delirious, or a little bit of everything — we are right there with you. And between major lockdowns and all-consuming news updates, it’s hard to even try to comprehend everything going on, let alone cope with it.
We’re definitely not claiming to be strangers to fear and anxiety (insert: long inhales, long exhales), but we’re also doing our best to avoid going into panic mode. Because even though we’re all facing different challenges and unique circumstances, we’re truly all in this together. And if there’s one thing we can all do, it’s this: be kind to others, and ourselves.
Here’s how we’re coping and trying to look at the world from a different lens in light of global current events.
Find a balance between staying informed and not freaking out
Twitter can be an informative place. It can also be a scary place. So, if your throat starts to tighten as you read statistics for the eighth hour in a row — it’s time to look away. We’re not suggesting living in a bubble, but a part of knowing yourself is also knowing when to take a step back.
Here are things you can do instead of stare at the news all day:
- Bake cookies (or a cake, why not!?)
- Cook a recipe you’ve had your eye on for years
- Take a bath
- Do something DIY
- Play board games
- Crack open a book
- FaceTime with a loved one
- Participate in an online workout class
- Meditate, finally
- Write in a journal
- Do a puzzle
- Have a solo or virtual dance party
- Watch environmental documentaries
- Create a photo album
- Learn a random skill — juggling, card tricks, crocheting, moonwalking, the list goes on and on!
Focus on what you can control
Of course, everyone has different stresses, economic concerns, and responsibilities. And we certainly aren’t trying to downplay the financial and social strains, but accepting that life is going to be different for a while will make the transition into the unknown a lot easier.
Try focusing on things you can control (not just the things you cannot). That might mean continuing with an at-home yoga practice, writing in a journal, making healthy meals, reading only news sources you trust, or waking up at a regular time. By embracing a relative sense of routine amid the chaos, you’ll give your body and mind a little self-loving structure.
Try the 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness practice
Are you looping down worse-case-scenario-lane over and over, and feeling head spinning, stir craziness ? If yes, take a moment to pause wherever you are. Breathe. And then, try the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique.
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Dear Ones: A lovely soul named @tallienatt made this beautiful image of the 5-4-3-2-1 practice that I shared the other day, of how to take a pause in the midst of your anxious mind-spinning in order to ground yourself in the present moment. If you missed the video that I posted about this simple practice the other day, it’s still up on Instagram if you want to see it. Otherwise, the practice is simple: Stop whatever you are doing, whereever you are doing it, and look around where you are. Take note of five things that you can see, four things that you can hear, three things that you can feel, two things that you can smell, and one thing that you can taste. Taking a few minutes to do this a few times a day will quite literally return you to your senses. As somebody who is a lifelong expert on future-tripping and catastrophizing, this practice really works (for me, at least) to settle the nervous system and bring me back into the only reality that is confirmable: The one that is happening right now. And this moment right now is usually just fine. Or at the very least, this moment is usually a lot less traumatizing than the scary movie that is running in my imagination about the future. Thank you for making this, @tallienatt! Lots of love, everyone…
A post shared by Elizabeth Gilbert (@elizabeth_gilbert_writer) on
The mindfulness trick helps us tap into our five senses and connect with the present moment rather than relive the anxieties going through our heads. As Elizabeth Gilbert writes, “this moment is usually a lot less traumatizing than the scary movie that is running in my imagination about the future.” YES.
Be ok with slowing down
Since we live in a go-go-go world with endless ways to be connected at all times, nourishing slowness in our everyday lives can take a lot of effort. So, what if we viewed this time of “social distancing” as a way to reconnect with ourselves and deepen our relationship with Mother Earth?
Maybe you’ve been meaning to start composting or have been hoping to start a meditation practice, now’s the time to start! Rather than feel cooped up, try viewing this as a time for grounding and new purpose.
Taking care of you = taking care of others
The research is clear: social distancing is essential to slowing down the spread of the virus. In this way, taking care of yourself is inherently connected to taking care of others.
With this tremendous sense of dependence comes a beautiful reminder that all of our actions — big and small — really matter. And as we move through this time full of uncertainty, perhaps it will inspire a collective feeling of interconnectedness, reflection, and humility.
Seek out the good
Happy stories are everywhere, as long as you’re looking for them!
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A post shared by kristen bell (@kristenanniebell) on
Here are just some of the many stories that have brightened up our days and filled our souls with feel-good vibes.
- Compassion in the time of Coronavirus- The Washington Post
Make a plan
Sometimes a little preparation for “what ifs” puts our minds at ease. Here’s what your plan should include, according to the CDC:
- Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan. Meet with household members, other relatives, and friends to discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community and what the needs of each person will be.
- Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications. If you or your household members are at increased risk for COVID-19 complications, please consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
- Get to know your neighbors. Talk with your neighbors about emergency planning. If your neighborhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbors, information, and resources.
- Identify aid organizations in your community. Create a list of local organizations that you and your household can contact in the event you need access to information, health care services, support, and resources. Consider including organizations that provide mental health or counseling services, food, and other supplies.
- Create an emergency contact list. Ensure your household has a current list of emergency contacts for family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.
Give yourself (and others) permission to feel
Here’s the truth: this isn’t normal. What works for you and your life may not work for someone else. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula to social distancing and there’s absolutely no “right” way to react to sudden life changes.
So, be gentle with yourself and your loved ones as we all navigate our worlds that may feel a lot smaller for a little while.
And from our Wholesome Fam to yours, we’re sending light and love to wherever you are. 💗
We could all use a little (or a lot!) more self-love in our lives. So, check out these reads:
- How to make your self-care routine more sustainable
- What does your zodiac sign say about your self-love style?
- 26 Sweet simple ways to show love to YOU