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There is a lot of chaos going on in the world right now, as of March 2020.
We are surrounded by uncertainty, fear, anxiety, and negativity.
Bombarded by information, news and media overload.
Not to mention socially isolating and distancing ourselves from the world.
At times like this, it’s important to take control of what we can control and realize the potential of opportunities for growth and personal development.
Here are some ideas and tips to help you deal with all the fear, uncertainty and adversity.
Let Go of Worry
The first thing you want to do is take care of and manage your thoughts and emotions.
Worrying is useless. It’s not a helpful emotion. It creates panic, irrational and strange behaviors, mass hysteria and poor decision making.
Worrying weakens not only your mind, but your body and physical health as well.
This is especially true if we’re worrying about the things we can’t control like the circumstances happening around us and what other people do.
What you can do is focus on what you can control.
You can control:
- Your thoughts
- Your mindset
- How you spend your time
- How you treat others
- How you treat yourself
- The actions you take
Focus on the actions you can take to prepare the best you can for this situation.
You can prepare by following the official experts’ (not the media’s) advice of staying home, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often.
You can choose to live in fear or you can be proactive and choose control.
Write Down Your Thoughts
Writing things down will clear your mind and organize your thoughts.
It will help your incessant and obsessive thoughts getting them out and onto paper.
You just want to let it all out and get it out there on paper.
Don’t hold back, overthink it, or judge yourself.
Spend a good amount of time (at least 15 minutes) just writing and journaling.
You’ll also want to do this daily or more often if needed.
Separate the Facts from the Thoughts
There is math. And then there is drama.
The facts are the math. Everything else is drama.
Facts can be proven in the court of law.
The facts are boring. They are neutral. There are no emotions or opinions behind them. There are no adjectives.
Separate out all the facts from your thoughts. Write them out.
Ramit’s Worry Vault Technique
A technique to let go of worries that you can’t control or can do nothing about yet is Ramit Sethi’s worry vault technique.
What you do is you imagine a vault in your mind called The Worry Vault where you take any worry that pops up in your mind and nags you and you put it into the corner of your mind into the vault. Then you shut the vault.
Practice Deep Breathing
Breathing is something that we do naturally without thinking about.
However, when we find ourselves stressed or anxious, we forget how to breathe properly.
Our breathing becomes fast and shallow, and sometimes from our mouths.
Less oxygen gets to our brain so our thinking becomes cloudy and our performance is weakened.
Breathing properly not only relaxes you, it leads to an increase in focus as well, giving you the ability to think clearly.
It may sound overly simplistic, but controlling your breath controls your stress.
Besides washing our hands, let’s practice health and wellness by breathing deeply and properly.
Now, let’s get a little perspective…
Realize That This is an Opportunity For
- Appreciating our loved ones and realize what really matters in life
- Spending more time with ourselves or those closest to us
- Realizing the shortness and fragility of life
- Practicing gratitude
- Building strength and resilience
- Preparing for situations and take care of our future selves
- Managing anxiety, thoughts and emotions
- Taking better care of our health
- Advancements in health and science
- Environmental benefits
- Learning how to cook, and saving money and eating healthier in the process
- Getting creative
- Getting organized
- Learning a new skill
- Setting new plans and goals
- Learning about ourselves
- Learning about society
- Investing in yourself
- Discovering ways to make money
- Becoming adaptable and antifragile
- Becoming more valuable and marketable
- Building a business
- Becoming more productive from home
- Saving money
- Learning how to and starting to manage finances
- Reaching fitness goals from home
- Managing time (especially with having more time)
- Reading books
- Taking control of your technology and avoid phone and social media addiction
- Reinventing yourself
- Helping others, contributing, giving and creating value
Let’s delve deeper into some of these things.
When we are faced with adversity and obstacles, we can build resilience.
There’s a saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The fact is that it depends.
It depends on how you react to adversity, obstacles, negativity, failure, crisis, criticism, ridicule, etc.
We can become more equipped in dealing with life and coming out thriving.
It’s important to remember that humanity has gone through far worse situations like wars, famines, and epidemics like these. And we have always bounced back.
The human spirit is incredibly strong and resilient.
Life will eventually return back to “normal.” A new normal. A better and more improved normal is possible and probably likely.
The Black Plague resulted in a wide-range of social, economic, cultural and religious changes as well as science and medical advancements which directly and indirectly led to the emergence of the Renaissance.
What this means is that growth is followed after dark times. Darkness can lead to making the world a brighter place.
Some of the most positively transforming times of my life, and many others’ lives, have been after bad things happen.
It’s how we build character and are pushed to become better, smarter, stronger.
Harry Potter wouldn’t be Harry Potter without all the trouble Voldemort put him through!
Practice Gratitude and Appreciate Your Loved Ones
This is a time to realize that life is uncertain and fragile and could end at any moment. Embrace empathy and vulnerability.
Choose gratitude. Focus on the things and people you are grateful for and what you can learn from this situation.
Appreciate your loved ones. Make sure to say “I love you” to the people that matter the most to you.
Realize what really matters in life.
Set Constraints For Your Screen Time
At this time, people are going to spending a lot more time at home on their phones and computers. School is cancelled. Events are cancelled. Jobs are being worked remotely.
You want to be informed and educated, but you also want to limit your input.
Make sure to live life off the screen and spend time doing things that will keep you mentally and physically healthy.
It can be very easy to let your time go to platforms, app and games that are designed to keep you addicted to stay on them.
If you find yourself spending more time than you’d like on your phone, the news, etc., be compassionate with yourself.
What You Can Do With Your Time
In 1665, Cambridge University closed because of the Black Plague. Isaac Newton quarantined himself in his childhood home. This was the most productive time of his life. He discovered calculus and the laws of motion as well as studied optics.
How will you spend your time?
You could spend your time binge-watching Netflix, watching the news, going on social media, complaining, drinking, distracting yourself…
Or you can do things that will set you up for greater success, wellness and fulfillment in the future.
Time is going to pass anyways.
Here are some things you can do while you’re stuck at home.
Spend Quality Time With Your Loved One(s)
I told my mom about this blog post I’m writing and she says in her thick Spanish accent, “Yeah, just be with the family and make plans and relax, you know?” Great advice. Thanks mom. Lol.
I used to watch a movie by myself almost every night, but I gave up on solo entertainment after my 25th birthday. Why? Because it adds no value to my life and it has very low ROI and high opportunity cost.
The only exception to entertainment is if it’s with others. That changes everything.
Many of us are quarantining with family and our loved ones. Make sure to connect and spend quality time with each other. Social connection keeps us strong mentally and physically.
Spending quality times with our loved ones reduces stress, increases our happiness, improves our health, and lengthens our lives.
Since the quality time will be spent at home, get creative and have fun!
Have deep and meaningful conversations with your loved one.
And don’t forget about your non-human loved ones too!
Adopt a Pet
There are thousands of animals in need of a home during this crisis. Fostering a pet can not only give these lonely animals a permanent home, it can give you a cute and entertaining friendly companion. Win-win.
Learn a Skill
The number one reason people use for why they aren’t learning a skill they want to learn is not enough time.
“I wish I had the time to learn a new language.”
“I wish I had the time to take that online course I bought.”
“I wish I had the time to learn app development.”
Well, now you do.
Not only that, but learning new skills can help you become more valuable and marketable in a new market and never have to worry about losing your income again.
Skills can help you become more adaptable and resilient to the rapid changes in the world.
They can help your business grow or your career advance despite uncertain times, even in a recession.
Here are some resources to help you get started:
How to Master Any Skill
The 10 Most Important Fundamentals of Learning
Learn How to Learn: 28 Tips to Learn Better, Faster, Easier
The Best 12 Skills That Will Dramatically Improve Your Life
The Three Skills Only The Greatest People Master
Three Essential Things Everyone Should Learn
The Best Skill That Would Have the Greatest Life Impact
Many of us also wish for more time to read books.
Most of us don’t even get past the first chapter.
We let books just collect dust on our bookshelf or table.
Again, we have time to delve into books.
Books are probably one of the, if not the, greatest investment you can make in yourself.
Even if it’s fiction or entertainment, it’s still a much better alternative to Netflix.
Here is a list of the top 25 recommended books by the world’s most successful people to get you started.
Get Creative and Make Art
Having extra free time at home can give you the chance to pursue creative and artistic expression.
It’s fun, challenging and rewarding. It can also be very soothing and relaxing.
Consider also sharing what you create!
Journal and Write
Just like I mentioned above, journaling is helpful to gather our thoughts and manage our emotions.
Besides that, journaling has a multitude of benefits including increasing self-awareness, helping you learn, helping you write and speak better, and reducing stress, depression, and anxiety among many others.
Discover yourself through writing and journaling.
You may not be able to get a massage or try out float therapy (my appointment got cancelled). But you can still practice self-care at home.
Take time to unwind, take a hot bath, slow down, relax, stretch your body and spend some good quality time with yourself.
Meditate and learn how to practice mindfulness
This crisis can serve as an opportunity to practice mindfulness and calm even in chaos and uncertainty.
Meditation can help you reduce stress and anxiety. It’s also helpful in growing mindfulness to better deal with life’s difficulties.
Get Things Done
Those tasks that have been on your to-do list for some time?
Get them done and check them off.
Sigh of relief.
Have a One-on-One With Yourself, Do a Self-Audit and Plan Out Your Goals
After the end of March, we will roll into the next quarter of the year.
What a perfect time to start setting goals and making plans for the next quarter, the rest of the year and future.
This is especially true given all the changes and challenges we are currently facing.
Make a Financial Plan for Your Future Self
Times like this shows us how important it is to be financially prepared for emergencies.
Also, given the stock market volatility, learning and knowing how to invest properly for the long-term gain.
I highly recommend the book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich to get started. In it, Ramit Sethi shares a six-week program to help you take control of your finances.
Discover Ways to Make Money or Build a Business
I am grateful for the fact that I work online from home for both my job and business.
Many of us, however, are experiencing loss of work and hours, fear of losing our jobs or income and actually being laid off.
Even small business owners and entrepreneurs are at risk.
The ability to work from home takes on a new meaning now.
Having valuable and marketable skills that will withhold and progress your career and work during uncertainty is more important now more than ever.
And being prepared for the future economy and market in a rapidly changing world.
Staying ahead instead of just keeping up.
This can be an important time to discover new ways to make money whether that’s entering a new field, remote work, freelancing, consulting, or building a business.
It can even be small things that help out other people and contribute to the economy such as offering babysitting services or selling stuff.
Organize Your Space and Closet
Spring has already officially begun!
There’s no better time for spring cleaning than now, given the extra time.
You can start with this article, Clean Out Your Closet and Transform Your Wardrobe to Change Your Life, in which I share a unique way to clean out and organize your closet, as well as change your wardrobe and take control of your shopping.
Exercise – Get Your Body Moving
Gyms are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still work out.
You can still reach your fitness and summer 2020 goals, even if summer events are cancelled and quarantine is still recommended and in effect.
Do it for yourself and your health.
Workout from home using YouTube videos and your own bodyweight if you don’t have any weights or equipment. Yoga is also a great option.
You can still practice safe social distance going outside. Many of us have a front porch or back yard we can still spend some time in. We can soak up some sun and get Vitamin D. We can go for a run or a walk, still practicing safety precautions.
Playing games can be a fun and creative way to spend quality time with those you are quarantining with.
Get creative, be silly, laugh, and have fun!
It’s so important to have fun at tense and stressful times like these.
Try out games like charades, pictionary, board games, improv games.
You can even do things like at-home karaoke from your tv or computer.
Listen to a Podcast, an Audiobook, or Music
Podcasts and audiobooks can keep us informed, get us educated or entertain us.
Music can make us feel alive or really whatever we want to feel.
Right now, I’m really digging science and economics podcasts, given the current situation.
This crisis can make for some interesting discoveries in human behavior and psychology.
Dancing is one the greatest forms of physical expression. It’s an art, regardless of the type of dancing.
It’s healthy for the mind, body, and soul.
Get creative, get artistic, get fit or get silly with your dancing.
You don’t need to go out to a party or a club or the studio to dance.
Dance, even if it’s just you in the mirror or in the kitchen for a TikTok video.
Reach Out and Check in With Loved Ones
Just because we have to “social distance” doesn’t mean we can’t be social with those far from us.
Thanks to technology and social media, we can check in with our loves ones and let them know we care and love them.
Find Out Ways to Help Your Community and Those in Need
We are all in a tough time right now, but there are people who need our help more than ever.
Even with social distancing, it’s still possible to help out those in need.
This list of 105 acts of kindness could give you some ideas.
You can also support local and online businesses and help the economy by buying something online.
- a book
- a course
- something from an Etsy store
- a gift card
We need solidarity at times like this. We need each other.
A Final Note
Right now, we need to stand strong and support each other together.
Amidst all the fear and chaos, don’t forget to spread light, love, and kindness.
Keep in mind that there is nothing that you can’t overcome, especially if we have each other.
You can handle anything.
You are strong. You are resilient.
This is what you were made for.
Remember that you’re not alone in this. I’m with you. Feel free to reach out to me at any time.
Also, tag me on Instagram @reachingself showing the ideas you will choose to do with your time, whether it’s a new book you’re reading, the art you create, journaling, your goals, a skill, or whatever it may be! Let’s stay connected.
We’re all in this together. We can only succeed together.