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May 11, 2020

How To Stay Calm Despite Corona.

In many ways, this whole corona pandemic feels like a bad dream. So many people wonder how to stay calm. They´re afraid for their safety and worry about how they are ever going to be able to survive, economically.

It´s a stressful situation and we´re all in it together.

So, how do you stay calm? How do you let go of the stress and find balance despite everything you have to worry about?

A lot of people are thinking about this right now and I wanted to share some of the ways I´ve found that are working for me. 

Don´t try to ignore your feelings

Are you feeling antsy and unsettled? Me, too. Keeping track of all the news and dealing with the horror of the situation is hard.

On the one hand, I tell myself that it´s normal to worry and that it´s unhealthy to suppress what I´m feeling. On the other, I know that going into full panic-mode does not serve me, my business, or my family.

I need and want to stay calm.

Still, there are days when I feel sad and disoriented. And I believe it´s okay to acknowledge those feelings while also keeping to my routine and looking for little ways throughout the day to lift my mood and enjoy the moment.

I´ve also found that choosing not to watch the news throughout the day makes it easier to deal with the situation. Having a few news sources I trust helps me stay calm. I´ve saved on my phone and check them once a day to keep up on the most important developments and changing regulations. 

Stick to a routine

I think it´s important to acknowledge that there are some things we simply cannot change. We cannot change the existence of this virus. It´s here – apparently to stay for the foreseeable future.

That does not mean we don´t have power over the way we deal with it.

Instead of giving into despair, I choose to think about what comes next. I choose to focus on moving forward, day by day.

Working from home for the past decade, I´ve always found that having a routine keeps me focused and productive. The virus hasn´t changed that. The biggest difference is the rollercoaster of emotions that sometime threaten to overwhelm me – and having a routine goes a long way to keeping that in check.

My kids are adults now, so I don´t have the added pressure of taking care of them, entertaining them and trying to educate them at the same time. Having spent 20 years teaching small children, I´m well aware of how stressful that can be.

Good time management, self-discipline and a routine you can stick to are key here. You´re going to have to find solutions to your challenges. Some will work out as you want them to – others will not. Be flexible. Be determined and stay calm. You´ll find solutions that work for you. I´m sure of it. 

Consider both the best & the worst-case scenarios

Fear often has to do with uncertainty and insecurity.  Worries about what´s next, how your family will get past this and whether your business will survive… these are the thoughts that rob us of sleep.

One way I stay calm is to think through possible scenarios, asking myself: What´s the worst that could happen? And what´s the best outcome I could wish for?

My worst-case scenario goes like this…

The virus continues to prey on thousands and thousands of people around the planet. Everything is virtually shut down by the end of the year. Supply chains break and the global economy collapses. Famine breaks out everywhere. We´re not even able to connect digitally as internet systems buckle under the strain of everyone trying to do absolutely everything online. My family gets dangerously ill and/or suffers terribly due to the resulting shortages.

How likely is this worst-case scenario? I trust in the system and doubt that it´s likely.

Here´s a much more positive scenario…

A safe and effective vaccine is developed in record time. Our systems hold and people put their differences aside to pull together and create a world that is serves everyone in it. My family does all it can and is successful at staying healthy and strong. My business holds its own and I have extra time to spend doing things that bring me joy. This includes more time for shared experiences with those I love, re-connecting with long-distance friends and relatives, and enjoying the simple magic of each new day. We all take the lessons learned to heart and continue to focus on what´s most important.

In all likelihood though reality will fall somewhere in the middle and I will do my best to deal with each challenge as it comes. 

Don´t give in to fear-mongering

Wherever you look, people are dishing out advice. I´ve seen people recommend filling your bathtub with water, so you´ll have something to drink in the case of an emergency. Then there are others telling you to withdraw cash from your bank account in case the banks run out of money.

Rumors like these only stoke the fire of panic. I ignore them.

There´s a difference between knowing that it makes sense to have a few basic stocks on hand (in case you need to quarantine) and buying out the store just to feel secure.

When you hear advice that sounds over the top, ask yourself whether it makes sense. I never understand it but there are people who feed on breeding fear. Rather than giving into emotion, think critically. Use logic. And choose where you get your news wisely. 

Live from a place of empathy

I believe in kindness…now more than ever. Show compassion, empathize with others, spread kindness. However you do it, DO it.

Even something as simple as a short chat outside a shop can make a difference.

Just the other day, waiting outside the local bakery, I commented on the weather and the woman in front of me nodded. We exchanged a few words and she said: It´s so good to speak to someone, face to face, again. I live alone and have been working from home. It gets lonely.

We may not be able to get together with others right now but we can reach out and let them know we care. Let them know we´re there and that they aren´t alone.

Part of staying calm is staying in the moment…so, call someone today. Make them smile. You´ll feel better, too. I´m sure of it.

Connect daily

With the exception of talking to coaching clients, I spend a fair bit of time alone each day. I enjoy what I do and love time spent running my business.

Right now, though, I feel the need to reach out and exchange ideas with others. I have a group of coaching colleagues I touch base with regularly and I talk with family and friends. Sharing our thoughts and challenges reminds us that we do not have to deal with all the uncertainty and upheaval on our own. There are others there who care and want to help.

I may have to stay at home to keep safe but that doesn´t mean I am alone. Remembering this make a world of difference.

When it comes to staying clam in these unprecedented times, what are you doing? I´m always open to new ideas and I´d really love to hear yours.

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Jan Marie Mueller  |  Contribution: 1,420