With the current pandemonium sweeping throughout the world, it’s very easy to get caught up in the frenzy.
You only have to visit the local supermarket and see the barren shelves and security guards manning the toilet paper aisle to know that Australians are frightened! Alongside that, we have our daily virus tally and the dooms day reporters broadcasting their message of fear. It’s enough to give anyone a runny nose!
It’s important to be wise, stay calm and think rationally
We have to remember that anxiety and stress can cause physical illness too. A recent article backed by Harvard Medical School reported that stress and anxiety can weaken your immune system, making you more likely to get a cold or the flu.
So, here are some of my favorite ways to stay calm when the panic hits you:
Breathe deeplyWhen we panic, our body moves into a ‘fight or flight’ response causing our heart rate to rise, eyes to dilate, blood to move to our major muscles as our bodies get dumped with cortisol and adrenaline. That means you’re charged! And it can feel very difficult to stay calm.
Breathing deeply is the quickest and easiest way to relax your body, so spending 5-10 minutes with your eyes closed whilst doing deep belly breaths is a great antidote to panic.
Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, then hold for 4. Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!
Remember – this feeling of panic will pass, and you will be OK.
Practise visualizationTake a moment to sit down in a quiet environment and think back to one of your favorite relaxing moments.
With eyes closed, take yourself back to that place where all was calm – That holiday? That late night walk? That beach?Picture every detail of that moment…..dipping your feet into the water, feeling the water wash over your toes, the sensation of the sand under your feet, the smell and feel of the beautiful sea breeze……
Focusing on peaceful and relaxing moments is not only a mindful exercise, it takes our thoughts to a happy place.
Do some light exercise Get outside in the sunshine and fresh air. Go for a relaxing walk, dust off your pushbike and go for a ride, pull your yoga mat out into the sunshine and spend some time stretching, meditating or praying.
Exercise is a natural anti-depressant that can instantly lift your mood.
Stay connected Although we are being advised to stay home and minimize interaction, you can still connect with people. Pick up the phone, text, face time or organize a coffee with a friend.
Most of all, remember those that are most vulnerable and care for them.
As Australians, our ability to watch each others’ back when the chips are down is second to none. We are an amazing country that courageously stood by each other through the fires and came through stronger because of it.
Let’s not let this dreaded virus throw us into panic and separate us, but cause us to grow closer as a country in a different way.