There’s no better time to take care of your mental health than right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to stay inside our homes, disrupted our daily life, and demanded us to do extraordinary things like wearing masks, disinfecting from time to time, and even learning new routines like working and studying from home. Panic and anxiety have been an unwelcome side effect of the crisis.
Then again, it doesn't even matter what kind of stressors you have been having, whether or not they are directly related to the current pandemic. It is essential to learn how to stay calm during a crisis to take better care of yourself and your family.
If you are currently under stress, here are 7 tips to help you stay calm during a crisis.
When confronted with an issue or a problem, the best thing to do first is to breathe. Cliche as it may sound, when you cannot control a certain situation, what you can do instead is to control your reaction. Breathing does not only keep your emotions in check, it can also help you think more clearly and make more sound decisions.
2. Step back and assess the situation.
Sometimes, reacting right away does more harm than good. Without taking time to think about the situation at hand, you might end up making rash decisions that exacerbate the problem. Patience is your friend, and it is better to take time to step back and assess the situation. Collect as much information as possible and be objective.
It would also help to take time to look at the situation at hand with a long-term lens. Would it matter a year from now? Or is it truly a petty situation that just got out of hand? Choose your battles for the sake of your mental health.
3. Talk to someone you trust.
Two heads are better than one! You don’t have to bear the burden by yourself. True, sharing your problem with a family or friend may not necessarily relieve you of your obligation, but it will make you feel a lot better. Your trusted support system will not hesitate to offer you advice and help. They may also be able to offer you a different perspective that you did not consider, which may help you arrive at a possible solution.
But even if sharing your dilemma with your support system does not lead to a solution, just talking to the people you trust and love can control your stress and anxiety, doing wonders for your mental health.
4. Let go of negative thoughts.
Your own self can be your own worst enemy, especially if you let negative thoughts run freely in your mind. You may end up thinking that the situation is worse than it actually is, which does nothing in helping you solve the problem. Succumbing to negative thoughts may increase your stress and anxiety, making it harder to focus on proactively facing the issue at hand. It helps to stop the negative thoughts as they occur and refocus your mind on something more positive.
5. Don’t be hard on yourself.
Speaking of not letting negative thoughts run wild, you should also refrain from being too hard on yourself. The current pandemic has forced us beyond our comfort zones. If you are having trouble figuring out work-from-home processes, it’s not because you are slow. It’s simply because the system is new and you are not used to it yet.
Give yourself time and, more importantly, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to trust the process and learn at your own pace. Accept that you may experience a few hurdles along the way and that it happens to everyone, not just you.
6. Take care of your overall health.
We covered much about mental health and mindfulness, but in order to stay calm during a crisis, it is equally important to take care of your physical health. Pandemic or not, make it a priority to be as healthy as possible so you are better equipped to deal with whatever life throws your way. Eat a healthy balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
Good health practices do not only increase your physical strength and wellness, they also improve your mental clarity, regulate your hormones, and increase your emotional intelligence, all of which are essential in dealing with unforeseen situations.
7. Spend time with the people you love.
Finally, fill your mental and emotional wellness bucket by spending as much time as possible with the people you love. Take time to be with your family and friends — social distancing guidelines considered — and allow yourself to just be in the moment.
And don’t forget about spending time with yourself! Self-care could be overrated, but it really does work in staying calm and dealing with crises. If it means shopping, baking a favorite recipe, or simply taking an undisturbed afternoon nap, never underestimate the power of enjoying the small things in life.
How do you stay calm during an unforeseen situation?