Weathering the Storm: How to Stay Grounded Through Crisis
by Iona Russell
When we moved into lockdowns around the world, this would have set most of us on a roller-coaster of emotions. I cannot summarise everyone’s emotions – and I wouldn’t want to – but I can wager a guess that we are all (young, old, sick and well) moving through an element of grief or fear.
Grief relating to ‘how it used to be’; our routines, our work, our ‘freedom’. Fear around losing things we love and ways of life we have grown accustomed to. This time can be used to help us grow. This is an opportunity for us all to become self-sufficient. To learn not to rely on others for our happiness. To teach ourselves we are just perfect as we are.
These are normal emotions when we step into the unknown – we would have experienced similar emotions when doing something big in our lives, like starting school, moving to a new house, giving birth or losing someone we love. Obviously, the majority of us have never experienced anything like this pandemic, but there is a silver lining. The good news is that we are not alone in this.
You’ll see this a lot on social media, but it really does work, this is a golden opportunity for us to go within – to practise meditation, breathing properly (so many of us hold our breath) and the art of slowing down. This all helps us to clear the mind, and to process grief and negative thoughts that could come up in a time like this.
My advice to you is to let the emotions come up, acknowledge them, and let them pass. Free hand journal the feelings, punch a pillow, on your one walk a day go find some where to cry or scream it out. If we hold on to the emotion – we cannot move on to the next stage of grief and essentially let it go.
- Acknowledge / notice your feelings
- Process them – cry, shout, scream
- Let them go
- Replace with positive thoughts
Once we have let the emotions go as they come up, it is good to get into a regular practice of gratitude.
Writing down all the things you are grateful can help to reprogram your mind into a more positive place.
We are so lucky to be in lockdown in our own homes. I cannot tell you, especially after being stuck in Hawaii – ‘paradise’ it was, but it wasn’t home, and I needed to be home for my family. Cue nightmarish flights and empty airports, but I am grateful I made it back to my own warm bed in time for my book launch.
All the time I focused on practicing gratitude, which made the process much easier to stomach.
For some of us, there will be feelings of being trapped, not able to go anywhere we please. A claustrophobic feeling. The way to help to change this thought, is to try to reprogram our mind through a gratitude practice.
We can do this through listing all the positive reasons why we are ’stuck indoors’ – so the fact we are doing this to ensure we are not spreading the virus, so we are taking care of our relatives and friends through not seeing them or hugging them. That we are helping to save lives, of our amazing frontline workers through listening to the advice when we do leave the house. The main thing is to try to focus on what positives we can take from this situation.
Mix up your schedule
You may not be able to go out and do new things, but you can mix up how you are approaching your day. And I don’t mean pouring a different glass of alcohol or finding a new Netflix box set to binge on. Sure, you can do those things I am not saying don’t but try to keep to minimum because both booze and TV box sets can numb your mind.
Take a day to yourself
To just BE. To be in the moment. Step away from all the jobs and the ‘must dos’. It really is ok to stop and smell the roses or catch up on sleep. And when you are feeling inspired, on your daily walk venture to different places, take different routes notice everything – savour it all. Get creative in the kitchen. Check out Pinterest for new and different recipes.
Clear out your old clothes / have a spring clean or sort out those CDs you’ve be meaning to. It could be a time to do some of the jobs you have been putting off.
If you are a business owner or have suffered with your job, brainstorm what you might like to do after the lockdown is lifted. Let your imagination run riot. Download free books from Audible. Play music every day. Gardening. Now is the time to re-evaluate, reset and realign with what inspires you/ lights you up/ your purpose.
The possibilities are endless – never will we get another opportunity to get our house in order (literally and spirituality) so take your time to listen to your heart and do what makes it happy.
Getting to know you
Some of us are homeschooling – some of us are alone – some of us are with people we are literally getting to know properly – because for the most part most of us haven’t spent this long together in a small space for a long time.
So, we all have to be patient with each other and get to know each other again. And the best way to do that is through communicating. Communicating when we are tired, needing a timeout, communicating when we need help. Parents splitting the load with kids where possible. Talking about our days and how we are feeling. Writing letters to loved ones we can’t see. Organising video calls to check in with our loved ones.
To do list
Some of us are used to a specific routine – when we work, when we eat, when we learn. I say throw that out the window for now. Be flexible. Ask your boss to be flexible too.
If you need a mental health break – to take your walk at 10am then do – if you have to work around your children, then make sure you have three things they need to do and three things you need to achieve for the day. Then make sure those things are delivered.
If you are isolated alone and working from home for example, make sure you switch off. Working all night because you can is no good for any one. Give yourself set hours you need to deliver and stick to them.
It’s your choice how you think and feel. So set that intention that you are going to have a good day, that things will go to plan if they are meant to, that the day will be pleasurable and fun, that your day will be full of interesting developments.
Focus on how you want your day to BE and Feel.
Ultimately, we have control over how we respond to this event, an event we have no idea when will end. Be prepared to be flexible, this is the new norm and focus on the present not what has past and what will be.
Inspire your community
On my recent book launch, which moved from in-person to video, a frontline nurse reached out to me privately after. She shared how much she was looking forward to receiving my book, as she felt she would need the support and inspiration within the pages of ‘Making Waves’. A nurse, a wife, and mother of 2, it humbled me to know she had given up her spare time to on a Friday night with me in a virtual gathering. After chatting with her (in text) and her sharing about her team, I decided to follow inspired action and gift her 60 signed books to distribute how her and nursing team as she saw fit.
What could you do to inspire or support your community?
Simple acts of kindness are essential in times like these, it also gives you a good feeling within.