In extraordinary times like these, how can we remain calm, focused, responsive and alert? As the situation and advice to Australians about the spread of the Coronavirus changes daily, there are things we can all do to help maintain a level of calm within ourselves.
These are difficult times and it’s natural to feel anxiety and fear. We need to remind ourselves of the things that replenish and fortify us and help us remain calm in the midst of tumult and despair.
PRACTICAL STEPS WE CAN TAKE
There are practical steps we can take to help us find an inner equilibrium despite the outer challenges we face or the traumas we experience.
1. Channel your anxiety into making an action plan that reassures you that you’re doing everything you need to, to remain well
2. Come to your senses
Our brain needs to be focused and entrained in the present moment to have access to the qualities we so need in critical times: insight, intuition, wisdom, humour, spontaneity, creativity, compassion. When the brain is quiet and entrained in the present moment, we have access to all these qualities.
To create an environment for the brain to quieten, one of the most effective ways is to ‘Come to your senses’ as your body is always in the present moment.
Set yourself up for the day ahead by ‘Coming to your senses’ first thing in the morning and see the difference it makes. And do it again during the day If you can.
3. Recognise what you have control over – and what you don’t
Our minds can create chaos, misery and suffering as they jump into the future or delve into the past. There are many things in life that we cannot change and over which we have no control. We can’t change the fact that COVID-19 exists, but there’s much we can do to stay healthy. Prioritise time for self-care and be gentle with yourself.
4. Connect with others
Some people might find it hard to connect, especially if you’ve chosen to isolate yourself at home. Reaching out and connecting with others can make a big difference. What you hold in your heart is flowing out to touch the lives of everyone else so keeping yourself in great shape is a great way to support others.
Make sure you’re connected with and know how to access all the support and emergency services in your community. Share that knowledge with someone who might not find it so easy to source.
5. Do something good for someone else
Put a good deed back into the world. Thinking outside of our own personal desires and interests is one of the best ways to enhance our sense of connection and wellbeing. Doing something for someone else, no matter how small, has the added benefit of making you feel better too. Is there something you can do for someone who has been affected by the fires, or a neighbour, a friend or someone else today who might be worried about COVID-19?
If you know someone who’s likely to be distressed at this time, reach out to them with a gentle word. Perhaps offer to drop off some shopping or agree to have a daily call with someone who’s isolated.
6. Restore and replenish
Know what replenishes you and make sure those things happen in your life on a daily basis. If music, nature, ritual, singing, dancing, reading, soaking in a bath, prayer, exercising, gardening or other activity replenishes or nurtures you, make those things a part of your life on a regular basis.
7. Learn to relax deeply
If your stress levels are high and you’re feeling restless, distracted, numb, anxious and/or reactive, it’s important to settle down the sympathetic nervous system – your alert system. When stress continues over weeks, as it has, the alert system is switched on all the time. Many people have switched their anxiety from the impact of the fires to COVID-19.
We need to consciously settle this chemistry of our parasympathetic nervous system through deep relaxation practices, exercise or talking to someone who will deeply listen to you and help you find your strengths and pathway forward.
One of the most effective ways of settling your sympathetic nervous system and activating your parasympathetic nervous system is the practice of deep relaxation.
QUEST’S FREE SERVICES TO HELP YOU SETTLE ANXIETY, UNEASE AND DEEPLY RELAX
Petrea King Meditation Group
Please join Petrea for a weekly practice on Mondays 7.30pm-8pm on Petrea King Meditation Group Facebook page. Ask to join and there’s a year’s worth of weekly practices on the page. You can settle yourself in the comfort of your own home or bed to do your practice.
@Home with Quest
In addition, over the next little while Quest is offering a free service – @Home with Quest – daily check-ins on Facebook LIVE to settle anxiety and unease. Session times are at 11am and 7.30pm.
Make sure you ‘Like’ the Petrea King and Quest for Life Facebook page to join the check-in. Sessions will cover ways to manage anxiety and fear, strategies for self-care and the things we can be doing to help ourselves and others, and deep relaxation.
Tap back into the energy of Quest with a Quest Facilitator. Share in a meditation and learn more about our programs. Held from 2-3pm on the 1st Sunday each month on Facebook LIVE.
HOW QUEST CAN HELP
Quest programs and workshops educate, empower and encourage people experiencing life challenges by providing practical skills and strategies to create peace and resilience. While we are currently suspending programs and workshops until the situation with COVID-19 settles. However, please connect with us online each day through Facebook Live.
In addition, Quest provides training workshops to support and inspire communities and organisations dealing with the trauma of natural disasters, grief, anxiety and depression that focus on self-care, building resilience and wellbeing.
We also offer training workshops for health professionals on avoiding compassion fatigue, how to have difficult conversations and restoring resilience.
Tools for managing anxiety and sleep
Your Life Matters on CD – something to listen to to help bring calm