Here we are, in the middle of one of the biggest pandemics of all time. To some, this seemingly came out of nowhere, and to others who had been following along closely, this was not a surprise. Regardless of how prepared you were for the quarantine, this is the new (temporary) normal, and no one knows exactly what to do, but we all know that there’s nowhere to go, so we sit, we stay at home, we slow down, and we pause for a moment. We take a deep breath and realize and trust that we are going to be ok, we are going to get through this, and we will get back to our “normal” lives…. eventually.
During this time, what can you do to get through this period feeling as mentally and physically healthy as possible?
Let go of control:
There is an aspect of control that lingers in the air and hangs heavy on our hearts when we don’t accept and surrender. As humans, we wish that we could be in total control of our life at all times, but that is not the reality. Trying to be in control only makes things harder.
This is the perfect time to practice the art of surrendering. None of us are in control of the current circumstance. The whole world is being affected by the Coronavirus in some way or another….the whole world. When we surrender, we give up the illusion of control, and we can relax into the beauty and the peace of the unknown, rather than feeling anxiety and stress. Worrying about what is going to happen or not happen is truly a waste of time.
Our minds think that they have control, and we think that the more we try to figure something out, the more we can change the outcome, however the more we try to understand something that comes out of nowhere and rocks our lives like the Coronavirus, the farther away we get from being able to cope. By surrendering and being in acceptance of our reality, we allow life to flow the way that it needs to flow, and we can actually start to enjoy the moment, no matter what the moment is.
Embrace the Unknown and Be Present:
There are a lot of unknowns:
- How long will we be quarantined?
- How long will we be living a life of social distance?
- How long will offices and schools be closed?
- Who will get sick and who won’t get sick?
Do your best to stay in the moment; keep your thoughts in the here and now, and don’t worry about the future.
Not worrying about the future is easier said than done, however wasting time worrying about something that is out of your control, will not change the outcome. When we worry, we expend energy that could be used on enjoying the present moment. Also, when we worry, our worries usually become a self-fulling prophecy, which we don’t want to happen. Therefore, if we can stay present, and stay calm in the midst of the storm, we will be much better off. Being present is a lot healthier than living in “future land,” which we have no control over anyway.
In the spirit of enjoying the moment, what can you do to rise above what is going on around you in the outside world in order to feel calm and at peace on the inside? While you have this unplanned and unexpected time at home, how can you make the best of it and how can you make sure that your mental and physical health are in tact?
Get your body moving. When we exercise, our brain releases those feel-good hormones like serotonin that keep our mood elevated and our cortisol (stress hormone) levels down and keeps us grounded and not stressed-out. Exercise can prevent anxiety even if it’s only 15 or 20 minutes, a few times per week. Going for a walk or hike in nature can be very helpful as well. If you decide to get outside to exercise, make sure to keep your social distance.
#2 Schedule a therapy/counseling session
Since we are all keeping social distance, this is the perfect time to do a teletherapy video conference with a great therapist to work through anything that is causing you to feel anxious, irritable, lonely or depressed. Feeling supported by a professional can help to alleviate any symptoms of cabin fever.
#3 Breathe and meditate
When we go inward, we find peace inside, and we feel less inclined to be reactive to the world around us. Simply taking time to close your eyes, go inward and breath can be an incredible way to relax your mind and body. Focus on you and no-thing and no-one else. Tuning out the outside world temporarily will have a positive effect on your life, and it will prevent and combat depression, anxiety and stress.
#4 Think more positively
You can actually change your brain (neuroplasticity). Our brains can easily adapt to new patterns and habits, therefore if you start focusing on the good in your life and thinking more positively, your brain will naturally re-set.
#5 Focus on what you are grateful for
Focus on what you DO have in your life, not what’s missing. Example: feel grateful that you are healthy, when you know how bad it could be if you didn’t have your health.
Believe that everything is going to work out, and trust. Our thoughts become our reality, so we need to believe in what we want for our future to make it so; have faith that all will happen perfectly for you and everyone.
Write down anything and everything that you are thinking and feeling. There is something magical that happens when we put pen to paper, and our words are powerful. When we write, it helps us to vent; to release those heavy feelings inside, so we can feel lighter afterwards.
#8 Be in acceptance
Try not to fight what is happening. The more that you resist reality, the more anxious you will feel. It’s better to just be in acceptance and flow with what is; you will feel a great deal of peace if you live your life this way.
#9 Forward fold/Standing Forward Bend
Aka, Uttanasana, a term used in yoga. It is proven that if you stand up and fold over (so your head is below your heart) and take deep breaths for a minute, your whole energy will re-set and you will feel more relaxed upon standing up straight again.
#10 Take an Epsom salt bath
When you take an Epsom salt bath, your body’s magnesium level gets replenished. Magnesium helps to produce serotonin so naturally your mood will heighten, and anxiety and stress will be reduced.
They say, you plan, and God laughs. This could not be truer right now. All of those plans that we all had to carry out right now, are clearly not happening. The good news is that this truly is an opportunity to gain perspective and receive precious insight into our lives and the lives of the ones we love. Sometimes, the most amazing things come out of the most unexpected situations. Take this time to look inside, to reflect and to know what you need to move forward in your life, so that when this is all over, you will go back to your “normal” life feeling a little stronger, wiser and ready to take on the rest of your life with clarity, enthusiasm and great intention.
Jaime Bronstein is a relationship coach, radio show host of “Love Talk Live” on LA Talk Radio, blogger, author, wife and mommy. She has been a practicing therapist for 18 years. Jaime has a master’s degree in social work from New York University, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston University and a certificate in spiritual psychology from The University of Santa Monica. Jaime focuses on teaching her clients how to unconditionally love themselves, how to be vulnerable, tap into their inner strength, and live more authentically in order to achieve their relationship goals. Jaime will not only help you heal and extinguish any negative relationship habits, but she will also provide you with the tools needed in order to have a successful relationship. Find her online at www.therelationshipexpert.com and catch her on-camera radio show. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Ava Sol.