10 Ways to Manage Your Coronavirus Stress in Lockdown
This week I was invited to write a blog for OneCoWork on how we can mindfully manage this unprecedented time of isolation and uncertainty. For over a year I’ve been welcomed into the OneCoWork community as I’ve facilitated live speaking events and weekly meditation sessions. As part of my tribe I’d like to share with you this article. May this piece support you or someone you love, wherever you are in the world. We will get through this, together.
Whether you’re struggling to work from home, worried about family members abroad getting sick, scared about losing your job, having to juggle homeschooling your kids, or simply overwhelmed with the amount of uncertainty, please know that you are not alone.
COVID-19 is disrupting life across the entire planet in unprecedented ways. While we’re all doing our best to stay healthy, hydrated, wash our hands and get adequate sleep, we can often forget that reducing our stress is also crucial for our immunity and mental well-being.
Many of our normal ways to manage our stress are off-limits for the foreseeable future. Gone are the days of going to the gym or grabbing dinner with a friend. This is temporary, but we just don’t know for how long. In the meantime, there are many things we can do to improve our well-being – even in lockdown.
By controlling what you can, you can control your inner state. Choose to focus on what’s working in your life now. This can be anything from knowing that you have food, you’re not sick and you’re in contact with your loved ones.
Consciously do things that’ll put you in an improved mindset and help flip the collective stress that’s rampant on the planet right now.
Join me in changing the narrative and make consciousness a part of your reality. When you make more mindful decisions you will elevate consciousness, flip the collective and create change in your world.
Top 10 ways to manage your coronavirus stress in lockdown:
1. Have a routine
Focus on the things you do have control over. This will help you feel safe by creating aspects of certainty in your life. Establish a daily routine by continuing to act as you lived pre-lockdown. Set your alarm to get up at the same time, meditate first thing in the morning, get out of your pyjamas and change in comfortable clothing. Have nutritious meals at regular intervals, exercise, shower and have a regular time you go to bed each night.
2. Meditate in the morning
How you begin your day affects your mood, focus, and productivity for the entire day. Start your morning in silence – even if it’s only for 5 minutes and slowly work your way up to 10 or 15 minutes. From that calm space and mindset, you’ll be less reactive and make better decisions.
If you’re new to meditation try an app such as Headspace or Insight Timer. Or join me live from anywhere in the world every Tuesday via Zoom for a free meditation session, register here.
3. Keep news at bay
Binge-reading or watching the news can increase your stress and negatively impact your well-being. Limit the amount of time you spend consuming social media or news. Stay informed but also allow yourself to unplug for a while.
4. Breathe deeply
Close your eyes, put your right hand over your heart plexus (middle of your chest), left hand over your lower belly and simply breathe in and out. This will trigger the parasympathetic nervous system and cause your heart to slow, blood pressure to drop, calm your nervous system and take you out of the “fight or flight” stress response.
Another simple breathing practice is double your exhales in relation to your inhales, mouth closed and breathe in and out of your nose. For example, inhale for a count of five and exhale for a count of ten.
5. Stay connected
We’re social creatures. Instead of practising social distancing, I encourage you to reframe that idea by practising physical distancing with social intimacy. Maintain regular contact with your family, friends and neighbours without going into doom and gloom. Share photos and videos of love and laughter via phone or video chats to lift your mood and maintain a healthy perspective.
6. Retreat to nature
Changing your environment and getting away from it all can help reveal the texture of your life from a new perspective. Being outdoors in an expansive environment it’s both restorative and energizing where you can begin to feel light, joyful and love.
If this isn’t possible in lockdown, visualise yourself in the mountains, in a forest or at a beach. Expansiveness even in physical confinement is possible when we can feel expansiveness in our experience.
7. Practice gratitude
Keep your vibration high with a positive mindset and take every opportunity to share it in any way you can. Before you go to bed write down what you’re thankful for. Gratitude will help you stay strong, healthy and creative.
Whereas panic is a constricted fear-based state that releases excessive stress hormones and negatively affects our immune system. Even in the most difficult times, there’s always something to be grateful for. For my tips on how to develop a gratitude practice as well a guided meditation go here.
8. Remember to laugh
Stress levels are high when we allow our mind the space to be scared. Instead, fill your time with healthy distractions that bring you joy. Tell jokes and share funny memes with your family, friends and work colleagues. Netflix and chill watching a funny movie or television show. Don’t ever feel guilty for having a good laugh. Laughing is one of the most important things we can do right now.
9. Have a good cry
Don’t deny what’s happening or how you feel, because then it won’t process what’s coming to the surface. Crying or expressing your anger and frustration by punching a pillow are all acceptable, healthy forms of relief. Often society teaches us that emotional pain is to be avoided and not embraced. Emotions are simply energy in motion that need to release. By shifting your mindset that it’s okay to feel then you can start to heal. Tears are a natural cleansing and healing mechanism.
10. Have faith
Last, but certainly not least, during this unprecedented time do what’s appropriate for you to develop or deepen your spiritual practice. This can be prayer, meditation, spending alone time in nature or streaming online a religious service. When you stop relying on your own strength and believe in something bigger than yourself- whatever it is you believe, you can start to make peace that there’s a divine presence and a divine purpose in everything.
p.s. For the original blog article with OneCoWork go here.
p.p.s. If you know someone, a friend, colleague, or family member, who could use some love and encouragement please FORWARD this blog.