In Tri Delta’s new series, “3 For You,” we’re covering the best tips from experts as we navigate our new circumstances during COVID-19. Tri Delta alumna Nothando Swan, Toronto, offers advice on staying calm amidst the panic. Read her three tips below, or listen to the podcast.
As we head into April, the media and elected leaders have announced that this will be the worst month of this crisis. That kind of news can create panic, and the uncertainty of the situation is on everyone’s mind. There are a lot of unknowns that are out of our control, but there are a number of practices and techniques that can help put our mind at ease as we navigate the coming days and weeks. Physician and self-help guru Dr. Nothando Swan, Toronto, shares the following advice for staying calm during this time.
Tip #1 Staying Calm
The first step to staying calm is to identify the trigger and accept it for what it is. Don’t make the situation any smaller or bigger than what it needs to be. This is a pandemic. Identifying that is the first step. Once you identify the trigger, figure out what you’re going to do about it, or what your role in it is. During times of panic, it’s also so important to root firmly into your support system. If you know whose on your team, take into consideration their advice and help.
At the same time, you can create some distance from anyone who causes you to be more anxious. Especially during times of panic, people can inadvertently cause more panic. Set boundaries that are going to help keep you calm and protect your peace—it can be something as simple as stepping away from having certain conversations, or being aware of what’s causing you stress and distancing yourself from that. If we’re able to protect our calm and peace in times of panic, we can look into capitalizing on this as an opportunity for growth. Protect space for yourself and think about how you can turn this into a more productive time for self-growth and self-protection.
Tip #2 Keeping Productive
When we talk about keeping productive, keep in mind that self-care is also productive. One thing that can be beneficial during this time is cutting things off your to-do list. We have a tendency to add to our to-do list, especially when we’re made to feel this is a time for uber-productivity, but the first thing everyone can do is look at their to-do list and cut something off of it. Another thing we can do is to add rest and play. Try to get more sleep; if you can, cut out a commute and replace it with time for rest and calm. Try to set aside time to move your body and be more active. When we think about what we can add to our schedules, rest and exercise are great.
Tip #3 What to Avoid
Right now, we should avoid comparing ourselves to other people. The amount of time we spend on social media can affect how we’re viewing ourselves and others, so be aware of how much time you’re spending on social media. Another thing to avoid is falling back into hurtful ways of thinking, whether that’s perfectionist thinking, imposter syndrome or overwhelm.
Lastly, it’s really important that we avoid falling back into bad habits. During stressful times we can reach for things and behaviors that aren’t the best, they’re just what’s available. If you’ve worked through something in the past, be aware that now is not the time to take chances with that same thing, be it alcohol, another substance, disordered eating or any of these issues that are common. If you need additional support there, know that is more than ok.