To be calm is the highest achievement of the self.” – Zen Proverb.
We are living in an extraordinarily challenging, uncertain and difficult time of our lives. Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has taken the world by storm. What initially started as an outbreak in Wuhan, China has now taken over our the world, impacting our schools, workplaces, communities and lives.
Whilst I am no expert on this matter and certainly don’t claim to be one, it has been fascinating to observe the spectrum of which people are handling this situation. On one end, you have those have not even batted an eyelid, and are incredibly nonchalant about the whole thing. And then on the other end, you have those who are fighting each other over rolls of toilet paper at the supermarket.
Wherever you may fall on this spectrum, and whatever you personal views may be on COVID-19, it is important that we remain a sense of calm and not panic. Here are 5 strategies to keep calm during this time of chaos:
If I had to place myself somewhere on the spectrum, I would be somewhere in the middle. Vigilant, but certainly not panicked.
I recently read an article by Ramit Sethi which talked to the approach that panic is bad, but overreaction is good. When it comes to important decisions, taking action and even overreacting may not be a bad thing. What would be the worst case if you increased your personal hygiene and sanitised your hands a few more times throughout the course of the day?
I have not wiped out the supermarket shelves, nor have I fought anyone over rolls of toilet paper. I have stocked up some of my pantry and household goods items in the event that I am required to self-isolate.
Panic is bad, but overreaction is good.
Working out is something which I have done for as long as I remember. I work out 5 mornings per week and go for a walk in nature at least 1-2 times per week. Working out is one of the biggest stress relievers for me. It acts as a release and helps me destress, decompress and start my day in a state of calm.
During this time of chaos, it is important to me that I keep working out. If you don’t have access to a gym, maintaining some sort of physical exercise whether it is walking, yoga or an at home workout, is equally as effective. Work with what you have and make a conscious effort to get your blood pumping and body moving. Just because something unusual is happening around us, doesn’t mean that you should give up things that are good for you.
Practicing meditation and mindfulness on a daily basis has had a significant impact on my state of mind. I spend the first 10-15 minutes of each day practicing gratitude and meditating via the headspace app.
During this period of time, each of us has a higher state of mental alertness, which can lead to increased stress and anxiety. By ensuring that I continue to practice meditation on a daily basis, it enables me to start each day with a feeling of calm and control. It also enables me to make better decisions during a challenging and stressful time.
I also really feel the benefits of practicing gratitude each day. The simple act of writing 3 things I feel grateful for helps me to stay positive and focus on all the goodness in my life. And one thing I have learned is that when you focus on the good, the good gets better.
One of the ways in which I’m able to maintain calm in my life is to ensure I carve out the necessary time to self-care. Self-care for me can take many different forms:
I am a big believer that you have to be good to yourself before you can be good to others. Take this as an opportunity to reprioritise your life, and ensure your wellness is a priority.
How you live your life is entirely up to you. You can either choose to live your life in a state of panic and hysteria, or you can choose to handle this situation with a sense of calm and control. Which are you going to choose?
I truly believe in the adage that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we choose to respond to it.
If you are living in self-isolation, consider how you are going to use that time. Are you going to spend all day watching Netflix and aimlessly scrolling through your instagram feed? Or will you use it as an opportunity to focus on the meaningful work that you’ve always wanted to do. Whether it is starting a blog, writing a book, starting an online business, or anything else, use this time as an opportunity for self-mastery.
What are some of the your strategies for keeping calm during times of chaos? I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experiences, please leave your comments below!