5 tips for staying sane during crisis
I hope you're doing ok out there. And hey, it's also alright if you're not. Things will get better. My hope is that I can start to make it better sooner rather than later.
Over the weekend I posted on Instagram and on Facebook for the first time in I-don't-even-care-to-check how long. It's funny what comes to the top of the priority list for various people during times of need. For me, I'm connecting with others more than ever and finding purpose in offering perspectives that have been flying under the radar for a while.
Anyway, the point of this article is to share with you some of my musings on staying sane during this virus epidemic that is affecting us all. My tips are based on the work I've been doing since August 2019 on mental fitness, and they seem to be particularly relevant at the moment. I hope they feel relevant for you:
Build a support team
This may include your nearest and dearest, or people outside your inner circle. The type of support you need during this time will be unique to you, but here are some ideas:
check that your counselor / psychologist can provide phone / video sessions (or if you don't already have a therapist check out this support page for contacts)
identify the Facebook groups or other online communities that nurture your energy and wellbeing and connect in with them regularly
make coffee or dinner dates with your friends and loved ones that you can hold via Facetime, Skype or Zoom
set up an "accountability buddy" system where you negotiate with a friend / friends to keep each other accountable to certain daily goals (such as a gratitude share, your exercise target, your water intake etc)
Remember who you are
Isn't that a line out of "The Lion King"? Well, right now it's about you rather than Simba, and it's about maintaining a positive sense of identity. When the world is topsy turvy around us, we can start to lose our footing, so getting grounded with our own personal foundation is important. Consider these ideas:
remind yourself of your greatest strengths, and how you can apply them during times of struggle
contemplate your values to remind yourself of what is truly important to you
feel free to get creative in terms of how you see yourself, particularly if you have lost a role that previously defined you - how can you re-craft your identity for the better?
Pay attention to your inner processing
Many of us are currently tuning in to all the information coming from around us, to the point where we can forget what is going on within us. The danger of not listening to our own body and mind is that we can get scrambled and anxious before we've even realised it. Log out of Facebook for a while and pay attention to the following:
be more aware of your thoughts and emotions; maybe even start writing some of them down, as self-awareness as a great starting point for making positive internal change
notice when you're being judgmental (of yourself or others), and see if you can bring a more compassionate viewpoint instead
cultivate some stillness through rest, play, meditation and mindfulness, and notice the impact it has on your mental clarity and sense of calm
Keep connecting your way
Remind yourself regularly that you're not in this alone by reaching out to others. At the same time, recognise that each of us have different levels of social interaction needs, and honour that. How?
if you're feeling the need to connect, express it genuinely without playing games, and if you're feeling the need for space, express that too in a way that is kind and authentic
trust those that are close to you to have your back, and use your intuition to pick up on when your loved ones need you a little more too
shape your interactions to be as positive as possible, balancing out all the negativity around us with a shared laugh or an expression of appreciation for each other
Continue to learn
This could possibly be a pivotal moment in time where we learn to live differently, for the better! Learning is great for our wellbeing because it keeps our brains active, so where are the opportunities for you to use that great mind of yours?
reflect frequently on what this experience is teaching us
if you're "stuck" at home, use the opportunity to do that online course you've always wanted to
Speaking of which, if you don't have one in mind, I built an online course just for this very occasion!
No, not really. I didn't anticipate a global coronavirus situation when I designed it, but it's possibly more applicable now than I imagined.
It's completely free and goes into depth with all the concepts I've covered above, giving you the opportunity to be proactive about your mental health, exercising your mind alongside others who are doing the same thing!
To sign up and start the 10-day program, click here to go to the registration page. Also feel free to share the link - learning alongside each other is a great way to stay connected as well as reinforcing the information you take in.
Stay well, look after yourself and continue looking after each other.