How to Stay Calm During Tough Times
A big change, such as the Corona-crisis can feel overwhelming for highly sensitive people and empaths. In this blog, we share tips on how to stay calm.
Highly sensitive people are known to be more prone to anxiety. We have higher activity in our amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for memory, decision-making and emotional responses. Additionally, the amygdala plays a significant role in identifying risks and danger.
While high activity in the amygdala might frustrate highly sensitive people in daily life, it surely will drive us nuts in a worldwide problem like the Corona-crisis. Not only will we feel anxious about our own challenges that arise from this, but we will also pick up on the feelings from the people around us. Accordingly, we might feel on the verge of a breakdown and our anxiety might skyrocket to new heights.
While it might be the easiest solution to just hide in your house 24/7 and wait until it is over, most of us have to work and earn money. Therefore, we have to find ways to cope and stay calm during the Corona-crisis. It might seem impossible, but there are a few tips that might help you through this:
We have talked about the importance of journaling in several previous blogs. While it is a wonderful way to process your day in daily life, it can have powerful effects on your health in times like these. According to PositivePsychology, journaling calms anxiety, reduces depression and helps you to cope with stress.
During the Corona-crisis, these are common feelings and symptoms that you might experience. Accordingly, journaling helps you to reduce these feelings and to process everything that is going on right now.
Another way to calm down during this crisis, is to go find comfort in nature. Nature appears to have a healing effect on highly sensitive people and empaths. We seem to recharge by retreating into nature. Therefore, if you don’t do this already, try to implement nature in your daily life. Here is how you can do so during the Corona-crisis:
This is an option for those of you who live in countries that don’t handle a total lockdown. If your local authorities allow you to go outside, please consider others and practice social distancing at all times. We recommend you to follow the rules from your local authorities, to avoid spreading the virus.
For those of us who are lucky enough to have a garden, this might be a safer option to spend time outside in nature. Now that you have more time on your hands, you might want to redo your garden and plant some new plants. If you don’t have a green thumb, you could simply read a book and have a cup of tea in the sun. Your mental and physical health will thank you from absorbing some Vitamin D and positive energy from nature.
If you are bound to your home and struggle with connecting with nature, you might want to consider buying some new indoor plants. Not only do they look nice in your interior, but they do also clean your air and make you feel happy. Want to create the ultimate garden-experience in your home? Play calming bird sounds on the background, which even might help you to reduce anxiety.
If you haven’t tried meditation before, now is the time to do so. There is much negative energy in the world at the moment. Through meditation, you lift your energy towards a more positive level. Accordingly, this will impact your level of inner peace and make you feel more calm during this Corona-crisis. In addition, your higher level of energy will lift the spirit of others.
A study from 1978 shows that meditation reduces crime, violence and casualties. During this study, 7000 individuals meditated regularly in Merseyside over the course of 3 weeks. After the study, crime rates, violence and casualties were reduced by an average of 16%. Even people who did not meditate or know about this experiment, showed statistical change in their behavior. This shows the power of you meditating right now. With meditation you do not only help yourself, but also those around you.
Currently, Corona is all over the news. While it is good to stay updated on the recent developments, this is not necessary all day long. Every time you turn on the tv to watch the news or read a news article about Corona, your brain is triggered and so is your anxiety. By continuously updating yourself with the recent news, you don’t give your body time to relax.
Therefore, we recommend you to limit your news consumption to once a day. That is more than enough, to stay up to date on what is happening in your country and area. Try to consume the news at a moment, that does not have much impact on your day. If you start your day with the news, you might feel discouraged for the rest of the day. During the evening, however, (negative) news might impact your sleep quality. Therefore, we advise you to consume news during the late afternoon, so it does not impact your entire day or night.
An additional tip, might be to also read positive news. Even in times like these, good things are happening. We recommend you to always end your ‘news update’-session with positive news. There are some websites, such as Good News Network or Positive News, which solely share positive news from all over the world. This will help you to keep a positive spirit, even when it is hard.
Breathing is something all of us do, but most of us don’t do consciously. It just happens. During the Corona-crisis, it is easy to breathe quickly and in a stressed manner. However, it is important to be mindful of your breathing technique. Do you feel incredibly anxious and perhaps on the verge of a panic attack? The first thing you can do to reduce this anxious feeling, is to breathe slowly. There are several breathing techniques you can use. Perhaps you might want to give this one a try:
This exercise is useful, when you want to reduce anxiety quickly.
- Sit down in a comfortable chair. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose and keep your shoulders relaxed. Try to release tension from your shoulders. Expand your abdomen while breathing. Your chest should barely rise with this technique.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth. For this, ensure that your lips barely don’t touch each other and that your jaw is relaxed. When exhaling, you may hear a soft sound.
- Repeat for multiple minutes.
Gratitude is a technique to express what you are thankful for in your life. Studies have shown that gratitude improves your physical health, mental wellbeing, mental strength and self-esteem, reduces aggression and helps you to sleep better. All these benefits might support you in times like these. Therefore, grab a notebook or download a gratitude app, to get started right away.
You can implement gratitude in multiple ways in your life. For example, every time you go outside or do a chore in your home, try to think of everything you are grateful for. This way, you stay positive and don’t let your mind drift away to negative things happening around you. Also, you could keep a gratitude list, where you write down what you are grateful for every morning and evening. This way, you start and end your day with a positive mindset.
When you spend all your day at home, it is wise to still take good care of yourself. This will have a positive impact on your self-esteem and overall health. Start your day with a healthy breakfast and ensure that you eat nutritious food throughout the day. Also take care of your physical appearance and act as if you would have a normal work day. You deserve to feel good about yourself, even in times like these.
In addition, do enough of what you love. If you love to read, buy a few books from your local bookstore (online) and enjoy the extra time on your hand to read. Is there a hobby that you always wanted to get started with, but didn’t have the time for? Now is the moment to discover it further!
Perhaps you have a few people in your surroundings who are supportive and who you currently miss deeply. Give them a call, even if there isn’t much happening in your life right now. Simply chat about things that you are planning to do after the Corona-crisis and talk about how you feel right now.
It can feel comforting to know, that you aren’t the only one experiencing these feelings. We are all in this together. In case you don’t have anyone to call, feel free to join our Facebook-community for highly sensitive people and empaths. Here, you can meet like minded people and socialize with others.
Dare to dream about the future! While it might feel like there is no tomorrow, do not worry. We will get past this! Our ancestors have been through tough times too, such as the World Wars and different bad diseases as for example the Spanish flu. Today, we have more advanced technology to tackle this challenge in front of us. Therefore, this is temporary and there will come good times again soon.
If you have dreams, why not start to make a plan on how to realize them? Dare to dream about your life and where it should go. With much time on your hands, you may be able to even realize some of your dreams. Dreaming of starting your own business? Why not write a business plan right now? The sky's the limit! Use this time wisely, to create a good future for yourself and your family.
Another way to stay calm during the Corona-crisis, is to have fun. Now you have the time to do all the things you always say you don’t have time for. For example, you could spend time with your family or the people you live together with to play some games. Organize a contest, where you play different games and see who will be the winner. There are tons of ideas to have fun during this crisis.
By having fun and laughing, you increase endorphins in your body, which make you feel happier. In order to relax and remain grounded, endorphins are crucial. Therefore, go away and think of some fun activities to do with those you live with.
Finally, you might stay calm and feel in control, by following the guidelines from your local authorities. They differ from country to country, but overall it is important to practice social distancing at all times and to wash your hands as often as possible and necessary. If everyone follows these guidelines, we will manage this crisis.
To conclude, there are multiple practices to remain calm during the Corona-crisis. If you implement some or all of these ideas into your daily life, you will most likely notice a decrease in anxiety. Know that you are not alone in this. We are all in this together and we will get through this together.
For emotional support from other highly sensitive people and empaths, feel free to join our free Facebook-community.