How to Deal with Anxiety in Unknown Times

by | Mar 22, 2020 | Stress Management

It’s been a bit since the last post. Between wrapping up projects and prepping for this coronavirus conundrum, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. I didn’t want to write something just to write – that’s not how I roll – but in this time of uncertainty and beauty, it seems critical to point out a few things. By now, most reading this will know of the virus presence across the globe and how societies and people have reacted. We do live in one of the “hot spots,” of the U.S. in the greater Seattle area, but it hasn’t been all bad.

A few of my happiest observations is how it seems that some people have really stepped up to help or think of others. Admittedly, I can get bogged down in how poorly humans treat other humans. It can be maddening because we’re all better than this at a deeper level. Still, other than the crazy toilet paper hoarders – you know who you are – I’ve seen more people become aware of how they help their health, think of others’ health, and what all of this means to them. I mentioned “beauty” up there, and maybe a few of you are like – what friggin’ beauty? It’s all panic, quarantine, death, and social distancing… I get it, there’s an ugly side to this chapter of life, but then there’s the paradox of insight and taking a moment to look at the larger picture.

1) Regardless of the widespread fear, do your ever best to take care of yourself (and then family and friends).

  • Bring down the noise, the panic-y news that does change as we know more.
  • Calm yourself when you can: take a walk, do some pushups at home, pet the critter.
  • Get some sleep to try to help your body and mind recover from the stress.
  • Hydrate and eat right.
  • Take much-needed breaks. Sometimes we go too hard, too long, and maybe this is a sign to back off a smidge while maintaining our responsibilities.

2) Recognize what you’re grateful for.

Things like natural disasters or this virus can be an equalizer. Don’t worry, I fully acknowledge a level of privilege between the gazillionaire who can dip into their financial pot vs. someone financially struggling to make-ends-meet. The point is, this “crisis” has made some of us look at what we have – even if it’s rice on a paper plate to not go hungry – and say, “thank you, Universe.” When the mind gets a little ramped up in fear, it takes a smile from a family member, a nose rub from a critter, or another message of hope among us creative helpers, to remember that there is some beauty still going strong.

3) Look at where the areas of improvement are in your day-to-day life, and feel out the right thing to do to fix it in time.

The reason I say “fix it in time,” is because sometimes the best action is inaction, to feel something out vs. jumping into a catastrophe. Back in the day, I might’ve bulldozed through decisions and thought of the consequences later, or I listened to too many people other than my own instinct. For sure, in times like now, there are decisions that need doing depending on your circumstance: washing hands (do that anyway), filing for unemployment, making a cheap rice dinner to stretch the pantry… but this can also be a time to gauge where you can tap into that wisdom and faith in yourself. This may or may not be the time to jump off the dock and dive into a huge decision that doesn’t fit your situation. Still, think about what you’ve been holding back on, or what you can do now to be self-sustainable.

This situation has reminded me why I like learning new things, or holding my own because it gives me a chance to assess what I can do if _______ could happen. This semi-shut down of our infrastructure reminds a person to have a savings account or stock up on goods – yeah, I’m still looking at y’all who took an eight-year supply of toilet paper…..

I’ve been reminded to laugh more because you never know when it’s time to move on to the next lifetime; it’s been good to call loved ones and tell them they’re appreciated because one never knows.

The gratitude goes pretty far, and so do the tantrums of “WTH is going to happen?!” to get it out of the system. But then it helps to come back to center and regain a list: what’s in your control and what’s not in your control. Take the “what’s in your control” and look at it from a place of humility, logic, compassion, and wisdom, of what can be done better in the future. You had no idea this would happen, but now you do know that things can happen. Don’t live in fear of it, just know that it could be a thing.

During this stay-at-home phase of quarantining, if possible, make some steps to work things out when you’re able to. Listen to your heart on what can be started, maintained, and let go.

Now is a great time to take stock of what’s important and that includes you, your values, and your divine ability to have faith in what truly matters.

What deeply matters to your Spirit is already stamped on your heart. Now have some quiet time – even five minutes – to listen to it, and be grounded in the knowledge that you already know what to do inside, and work towards it.

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