During this time of such uncertainty and scare. What is in your control? More than you may think. The power of your mind, your thoughts, perspective and peace, are all in your control.
BE KIND to yourself and others, practise self-care, learn something new, be creative with your time and your family. Focus on finding or giving a reason to smile or a laugh every day.
DO NOT LET FEARS RULE: fear feeds panic, panic feeds chaos. There is help and support for you to get control of fears, anxiety and being overwhelmed. In a time where all this is expected but should not be all-consuming.
BE SMART and DO YOUR PART - Physical distancing - Take it seriously - self-quarantine or self-isolate. Stay home. It is critical to know the impact this will have on us all. This is in your control.
BE the BOSS of YOUR THOUGHTS. This is in your CONTROL. Turn any negative thoughts into positive ones. Picture yourself facing your fears head-on. The more you do this in your mind, the easier it will be to deal with it. You cannot control the situation, but you can control how you respond. Think thoughts for the day in front of you. "Today, I will...." Tomorrow is another day. It is so easy to be overwhelmed, stressed and in some cases, angry if one thinks too far in the future. Everything is changing each day/hour. Get through today as calmly as you can.
SCHEDULE your "WORRY" TIME It may sound strange to plan to worry, but doctors recommend that you pick a time to think about your fears on purpose. Take 30 minutes (to yourself) to identify what's bothering you and what you can do about it. Have your "worry session" or as I call it "to not worry session" at the same time every day. I do this early in the morning, to create the habit of not worrying or not overthink things. Plus, then I don't "think about it all day. I use a journal book, to write it out, acknowledge it, deal with it and then release it. I titled mine: "To ease my mind". It's incredible how this brings such clarity and peacefulness. Don't dwell on "what-ifs." Focus on what is your real truth, honor it, process it and move forward.
BREATHE DEEP. It sends a message to your brain that you're OK. IT does - this is in your control to calm yourself!! This helps your mind and body relax. You can do this sitting, standing, in the shower, pretty much anywhere and if you can, lie down on a flat surface and put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Take a slow breath in (preferably through your nose). Make sure it fills your stomach enough that you can feel it rise slightly. Hold it for a count of 6 (if you can) and then slowly let it out through your mouth (almost as a big sigh). Practice mindfulness, meditate, be in the moment of calm.
GRATITUDE: There are always things to be grateful for. You are safe, you are loved, Begin a journal, write them down. It is a time to be thankful for all the "little" things. The things that we may all take for granted. Feed your brain positivity; it is needed more now than ever.
STRUCTURE & ROUTINE: Time to create your own "new" routines. Make a chart for yourself or your family. Having some schedules in place will calm the mind. Especially with children. Leave some open for free time. Start mornings as you would most days: get dressed, ready to take on the day. People are more apt to be productive and have higher energy when dressed!
EXERCISE; in your home or your backyard. An individual basis or with who lives in your home. Online is now your closest friend for setting this up. Anything to get the blood moving and dopamine flowing. Physical exercise comes in many forms, and this could be the time to try something new - like Qi-Gong, or yoga or partake in new work out program. Tame tense muscles. Relax them with this simple exercise: Choose a muscle group, tighten it for a few seconds, then let go. Focus on one section at a time and work through your whole body. This is sometimes called progressive muscle relaxation.
KNOW your TRIGGERS.: Think of times and places where you notice yourself feeling most anxious. Write them down, if you need to. Look for patterns and work on ways you can either avoid or confront the feelings of panic and worry. If you know the causes of your anxiety, that can help you put your fears into perspective. Next time, you'll be better prepared when it affects you. Do not over-think these situations. Do not worry about things are not there. Take it day by day, have clear perspective what's real and what's not.
CONNECTIONS: This is vital during this time, a phone call or a video call with those you care about. Remember to smile and laugh. Taking a little time to bring joy into the lives of others can, in turn, help us, too. Share a funny video, or pictures, mail a thoughtful card or note. Remember how great it felt to receive happy mail? There's power in kindness and lifting others up, especially in this time when it feels like the world is trying to tear us all apart.
Reach out for a complimentary call, write an email, for more specific ways to ease anxiety and stresses on an individual basis. Mental health is as vital as physical health. Helping others through this time is what it is all about.