This self-care guide is part of Collective’s Pandemic-Proof Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolkit, designed to help leaders and managers practice self-care, partner with senior leaders, and support their teams to foster a spirit of belonging, even amidst the chaos. Enjoy free access by clicking here!
It’s an interesting time in the world right now, one that we will get through but will forever change us. My thoughts and feelings about the coronavirus pandemic are evolving daily. You may feel the same way. Am I concerned? Yes. Am I cautious? Yes. Am I anxious? At times, yes.
There is a spectrum of feelings and emotions that may arise during times of uncertainty, ranging from ignorance to obsessiveness. In my opinion, the danger lies in the extremes, too ignorant and you risk your life and those of others, too obsessive and you compromise your mental health and fail to recognize the truth. During this time try your best to stay centered, grounded, and in the middle of the spectrum — calm yet cautious.
I’m concerned about how our mental health will weather this storm. We already were facing high rates of stress and burnout prior to the pandemic, it’s only going to get worse.
You might be thinking — it’s hard enough to stay calm when there’s no pandemic how do I do it now?! I know. Being a highly sensitive person, even with all the yoga and meditation I practice, calm can be fleeting. Just this morning I found myself overwhelmed and anxious. My thoughts were getting the best of me, the uncertainty felt overwhelming. Rightly so, there’s a lot of uncertainty right now!
In times of uncertainty, I find it most helpful to go back to the basics. Routines that you can control create a sense of subtle certainty that helps calm your mind. When you focus on getting the basics right you can naturally alleviate stress and anxiety in all situations including our current coronavirus pandemic.
I’ve adopted these nine habits to remain calm yet cautious during this time.
- Limit news consumption. Stay informed but not obsessed. Everyone has their sweet spot for information. You must decide what that boundary is for you, and enforce it. If your needs differ from others in your household then make sure to communicate this and decide how all your needs may be met. Perhaps having an area of your home that is news free where you can hide out.
- Get plenty of sleep. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. Make it a habit to get to bed early, to get eight hours of rest and be up to enjoy the sunrise.
- Move your body daily. It’s no secret the body and mind are connected, motion = emotion. With studios and gyms closed right now, reconnect with your personal yoga practice, daily walk/runs, bike rides, or even some squats and pushups. Start small and make it fun.
- Listen to music. Replace the morning news with instrumental sounds like ancient chants, drums beats, flutes, and violins. Instrumental/ chanting sounds carry a peaceful vibration that builds your resilience and emotional immunity.
- Stay connected. Create a daily routine to facetime/call friends and family. There was a time when phones were used to talk for hours, now is your opportunity to discover that joy. Try having a topic list or conversation starter decks to break the awkward silence.
- Drink plenty of water. With our bodies over 70% water, we need to replenish our resources to keep things flowing. Hydration may just be the untapped secret to happiness. Your body releases loads of chemicals to manage stress to help you fight/flight/tend to the situation, the byproducts flood your blood with toxins that need to be flushed out. All this to say drink your 64+ ounces a day to stay hydrated.
- Diffuse essential oils. Essential oils create a soothing environment. High-quality essential oils do more than make your space smell good. They breakdown into little particles in the air that you inhale, eventually making their way into your nervous system and providing therapeutic relief.
- Opt for some comic relief. There is nothing like some comic relief to lighten the mood. Try comedy shows, funny pet videos, a hilarious movie, or even some laughter yoga. Remember laughter is contagious, spread the joy.
- Step into nature. Nature is one place that remains open during this pandemic. Its beauty is shining even brighter these days. Spend time outdoors, slow down to smell the roses, sit with a sunset.
As you go through the constantly evolving coronavirus pandemic, ground yourself in what you do know, and what you do have control over. Whatever you do, make sure it’s working for you. If you find yourself in a constant state of distress, then something needs to change. Take this time to tap into, and identify your self- care needs.
What are you doing to remain calm yet cautious during these uncertain times? Share your ideas so we can all learn, grow, and heal through this together.
For more self-care resources and other DEI-related tools, check out Collective’s Pandemic-Proof Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolkit. Enjoy free access by clicking here!