The news about the coronavirus (COVID-19) has taken over our lives! – News about the virus is overwhelming.

Every channel, every media outlet is talking about it. Schools are closed all over the world, and home-quarantine is now the new norm to flatten the spread.

Stock markets are sinking. People are rushing to get supplies and waiting in line to do so. Things like toilet paper have triggered numerous fights. Some are taking advantage of the situation by raising the price of hand sanitizer and other needed items.

People all over the world are panicking, not knowing what will happen triggers a frenzy reaction. When we feel threatened, we go into survival mode, which creates even more fears and chaos.

FEAR is a primal behavior triggered by the uncertainty of perceived danger. It is a survival mechanism – it’s as simple as that.

FEAR is a natural reaction and emotion. However, FEAR unchecked by facts leads to very toxic behaviors: poor judgment, poor decision-making, and discrimination. When in extreme fear, we are likely to endanger ourselves and others.

So, how can I remain calm during chaotic times? How can I avoid making decisions based on fear? How can I help flatten the spread without going into a frenzy, yet taking the right precautions?

Here I’m sharing SEVEN WAYS in which you can help yourself and your family remain calm during these unsettling times!

1- Keep Perspective while Taking Precautions – Focus  your Attention on those Things you can Control:

Due to the primal emotion of fear, situations get out of control because people slip into a frenzy reaction.

What to do? Take a realistic look at the situation, and work with what you know.

During this time, the major factor that creates the fear is the not knowing, the uncertainty.

Yes, we don’t know the full spectrum of consequences to this situation, yet, in the long run, that’s true. However, we do know a few simple things that we can do now:

  • Hand-washing, which has taken on a new meaning, not only to keep yourself from getting sick but also, protecting those who are more vulnerable.
  • Home-quarantine, when possible, it can help flatten out the spread of the virus. Meaning as we practice social distancing and self-care, our chances of all getting sick at the same time decreases, as we are not overwhelming our healthcare systems, clinics, and hospitals.
  • Be mindful and stop complaining about not being able to go out. Think of all the doctors, nurses, and healthcare personnel that would love to be home with their loved ones.
  • Stop overloading yourself, and your family with so much disturbing news that will make you feel unsafe and put you into panic mode. Keep your children informed but not overwhelmed.
  • As much as possible, encourage a routine. Keeping children accountable for their homeschooling. For instance, Chris was sharing his essay on the great depression with me. It was pretty good. Amanda kept on sending me her drawings. She is taking full advantage of the situation by completing a lot of work.

2- Breathe and be Mindful – Cultivate your Spiritual Strength

As I worked with my clients during our online sessions, they are asking me, “how can you be so calm during these times?”  Well, I had cultivated a muscle that the vast majority had forgotten about it. Spiritual Strength.

I was listening to Marianne Williamson this morning, she was saying something that resonated with me. We had become an adrenaline-driven society, so much so that we don’t know what to do with ourselves now as we face a mandatory stop. 

The truth is that we are facing some really hard times. We are facing a situation that we were not ready for as individuals, as a nation, or globally.

This is precisely the moment to cultivate our spiritual strength. It’s time for us to take a look at this situation and learn from it. A time where we must look at each other with new eyes. As we see how our actions can impact someone else, then we realized that we are in it together, the illness does not discriminate.

It’s time to take a hard look at our lives and decide to become more connected with ourselves. Being disconnected from ourselves had created many insecurities and fears.

We are living through sad times, nevertheless during times like this is when we learn to become resilient as we don’t give in into collective panic and begin to nourish our souls.

Let’s begin by asking yourself, what is this situation teaching me?

As Marianne said, this can make us bitter, or this can make us better. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to others and to our planet.

Take a moment, stop whatever you are doing, including worrying too much about what’s going on, and take a deep breath, and become mindful of how you feel. Make a point on slowing down your train of thoughts and activities, which will help you refocus your attention and energy into what’s most important. When we don’t take the time to slow down and breathe, we are bound to make a chaotic situation into an even worse one.

Hyperventilating and getting even more anxious does not help anybody. When you remain calm, you encourage your family to do the same. Talk to your children, and ask them what they know so far. Instead of assuming that they are afraid or feeling unsafe, ask them how they feel and work with that.

3 – Get to know your Family Members, Encourage Creativity and Work with your Resources:

One of the things that I don’t get to do too often is cooking. One, because I don’t really enjoy it as much unless I’m making a crazy new recipe. Two, due to my work schedule, however, now with the home-quarantine and homeschooling, what a better time to do something that my son truly loves, cooking, and baking. Yesterday, we made the most delicious dish.

Ready? We made Carrot Pesto.

What? I know it doesn’t sound so appealing? Wait… don’t give up on me just yet.

We did not have basil, which I love, but we had tons of carrots. So, we worked with our recourses. We took the carrots, cut them, roasted some walnuts, added avocado oil (you can use olive oil or coconut oil instead). Added garlic, salt to taste, dried parsley – (remember you can improvise, using any green that you have), and blended it all together.

The results? The most amazing and delicious pesto ever created on this earth… well, that was how Chris described it anyway. Seriously, I promise you, it was delicious!

We had it with chips, celery, and even more carrots.

However, if your kids don’t like cooking, don’t force them. Find out what they enjoy – this is a great time to get to know your child even more, as a person, not just as your son or daughter. Maybe they are into creating videos, writing rap, drawing, or just playing basketball. Find out what they are all about and find ways to do something together.

This is a work in progress for a narrative piece by Amanda Bueno Veras

I’m sharing here one of Amanda’s latest drawings. It’s so beautiful.

4- Get Familiar with Technology: Social-Distancing Does not Mean Human-Distancing.

I know we all complain that our children spend a considerable amount of time on their phones.

Ooohhh, well – maybe it’s time we do some of that, so go ahead and text, Facetime, Skype, or WhatsApp with friends and family all over the world. Social distancing does not mean human-distancing.

As I home-quarantine, I’m doing all my sessions online – including my circles. Check my events page and register.

5- Take time to Center Yourself and Release stress.

Just a few weeks ago, I was complaining that I was not able to take walks either because of the cold temperature and work schedule.

Yesterday, however, I took the time to go for a nature walk. I layered up and went out.

I paid attention to my surroundings and did not allow my thoughts about the situation to tint my experience. I focused my attention on practicing something called deep-listening.

I intentionally paid attention to the birds chirping. And as I did that, it almost felt as if they were talking among themselves. I could not help but wonder, what are they saying?

These crazy humans are really going nuts now. Seriously!

I took the time to appreciate a little creek that I had passed many times before. The sound was so peaceful as the water was flowing undisturbed. How blissful.   

And you know what… now you have the chance to do this with your kids too.

As I was walking, I was enjoying families playing with their dogs, the kids running wildly. I haven’t seen that in a while. That was really nice to watch.

Then, my good friend Tom joined me, he is a scenic designer. We get into profound conversations about life and its meaning. This time, we chatted about colors.

Colors? Yes, he helped me discover the many layers and shades of greens, grays, blues, and yellows as we passed by each home. He would ask, what’s that color? I would say yellow or blue. And he said, “well, it’s actually part of the green family of colors.” Seriously?

I’m telling you… the title, Fifty Shades of Grays, took a new meaning. LoL

6- Learn to Meditate

I heard this a lot – “I don’t know how to meditate, and even if I want to, I simply don’t have the time.” So, what’s your excuse now? Now is the perfect time to learn; you need it because, without it, you will spin out of control. And, you are home quarantined, so you do have the time.

Think about the doctors and nurses who are sacrificing for us. Practicing meditation will help you reduce stress, and your anxiety levels will go down, which will help you keep a healthy immune system. And a robust immune system is what we need to fight this thing now.

So, stop the excuses and begin today. Yes, I do teach mindfulness and meditation, so go register for my circles and online classes now

7- Help Someone – A Small Act of Kindness Goes Along Way:

Amanda’s former roommate is from California. As soon as we received the notice that FIT was closing, we reached out to her parents. Her mom was really concerned about her child’s safety as the school was getting everyone out.

We offered to take her daughter to the airport. She is a brilliant young lady. They were so grateful as their daughter landed safe and sound back home.

Yes, you will think she could just call a Lift or an Uber. However, the fact that she did not have to carry three suitcases made things just that much easier on her. And these little things are what make a difference.

I saw one of my neighbors, giving a roll of toilet paper to their next-door neighbor, which now has become a commodity. Was he afraid to run out of supplies? Maybe, I did not ask. However, he had an extra one, so why not? 

I’m not saying to put yourself at risk, but maybe calling someone or leaving them a message to let them know you care, will suffice.

I’m sure our community is practicing a lot of small acts of kindness, which helps uplift our spirit as we understand that we are all together in it. But, most likely, you won’t hear about that in the news or social media, so please share this article.

I am sending love and healing light during these chaotic times.

Yudy, The Joyful Shaman

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