I don’t think anyone would disagree that we’ve had a particularly challenging start to 2020. It began with our horrendous fires and was followed with floods. And now the World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus a pandemic. It feels like we have been swept into a media storm that is inciting fear around this virus into a frenzy. We’ve all seen public anxiety leading to panic shopping and tumbling world stock markets.
It’s the small impacts to our everyday lives that cause unease too. The cancelled travel, potential loss of jobs, social disruption and yes, fights over toilet paper. These are uncertain times we’re living in. Knowing that we may be dealing with this for the foreseeable future, how do we remain calm and positive and live a meaningful life under this cloud of uncertainty? Here are 4 things I’m trying to focus on.
1 KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
In Australia, the number of confirmed cases of Corona Virus is still relatively low. We also have excellent medical care available to us and are being proactive about putting controls in place. Although, there will be tragic deaths from this virus I’m trying to filter the constant media storm and focus only on reliable information and facts.
2 CONCENTRATE ON WHAT YOU CAN DO
I am making a conscious choice to remain calm and to concentrate on the things I can do. The rest is so out of our control. I wake up each morning, am grateful for a new day and try to be there for my friends and family. I’m also trying to look after my mind and body focusing on keeping moving, getting a good night’s sleep, and avoiding stress eating. (Yes, I can be quite prone to a late-night chocolate binge, comfort carbs and a glass or three of wine when worried). Sometimes we forget to do the simple things to take care of ourselves when our anxiety is being tested.
I’m also trying to find ways to help those around me. Some ideas:
- Offer to bring an elderly neighbour or relative some groceries or medication;
- Prepare some fun family activities to do together at home; or
- Cook some healthy meals to add to your freezer.
3 STAY CONNECTED
Although social distancing is being encouraged, now is the time to really stay connected with friends and family to support one another and boost your mood (even if this has to be over the phone or online). While you can, catch up with a friend or call someone you love for a different perspective.
It’s also a great time to communicate with your children about how they are feeling and plan some special activities together. Having something special to look forward to (even if it is small activities (a game of monopoly, a bush walk, and a treasure hunt) instead of that trip away) boosts our spirits, gives us energy and positivity.
4 GET INSPIRED
If you do feel completely overwhelmed just STOP. Take a deep breath and some time out to do something that will make you feel happy. Take comfort in simple pleasures. I’ve been enjoying some long walks in nature, but there are lots of options.
- Relish the calm of a bubble bath;
- Dance to your favourite tunes around the living room;
- Bake a desert masterpiece;
- Watch a favourite movie;
- Make something creative; or
- Play opera for your entire street (this might not be quite as joyously welcomed as it was in Italy).
Find something that inspires you to feel positive, motivated and happy.
We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.
Although I’m taking this seriously, I’m also trying to remain cautiously optimistic. We’ve got this. We can’t be sure how long this uncertainty will last, but if we support ourselves and each other, I’m confident we’ll get through this together. If just one or two of these suggestions work for you, I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something. I’d love to hear what you’re doing to keep calm during this challenging time.