1. Try not to be negative.
If the selfish imp of negativity, criticism and blame pushes its way into your heart, send it packing. If it persists, take time to ask what it really needs. Attention? Love? Many of us have an inner jerk—but don’t let it put other people’s lives at risk. Many of us also have an inner critic that likes to sabotage peaceful self-acceptance. Our inner jerks and inner critics often result from unresolved childhood experiences. They confuse us, so that we don’t know what our real feelings are. Sometimes our thoughts create our feelings, and we need to ask ourselves “Am I experiencing a reasonable level of fear, anxiety or loneliness, or am I increasing these feelings by the way I’m thinking?” If you have a friend who is a compassionate listener, ask for a time when you can talk about your negative thoughts and process your feelings.
2. Keep your anxiety in perspective.
It’s understandable, for there’s a lot to be anxious about. It’s a normal evolutionary response to danger or threat. But don’t let it flood your being so that it stops you from being rational and taking practical steps.
A checklist of things to help with anxiety
a) Notice when you are worrying, and be kind and compassionate to yourself. This is a difficult time; it makes sense that you might be more anxious.
b) Focus on what’s in your control. Work out what is a hypothetical worry (you cannot do anything about it) and what is a real problem (needs a solution now).
c) Refocus on the present moment. Focus on your breath, or on using your five senses.
d) Engage in activities that you find meaningful and enjoyable. That could include music, walking, reading, baths, household tasks, or calls with friends and family.
e) Notice and limit your worry triggers. If the news is making you anxious, limit your consumption.
f) Practice gratitude. List the things you were grateful for that day: for example, “The sun was shining.”
g) Keep a routine, and stay mentally and physically active.
3. Grow food: Dig a garden bed where you can grow healthy organic food. Whatever happens, we all need to eat. When the countries we import our food from get the virus, food supply chains may run into trouble. There’s no need to dig up your lawn – search “lasagna gardening” on YouTube and create a vegetable bed on top of your lawn. If you have a spare gardening book, put it in your Tiny Library. If you have spare seeds, share them. If you know how to grow bedding plants, do so, so that others can grow food.
4. What are your personal goals? Carve out a chunk of time to determine what they are for the next six months. It’s a law of life that if you want to achieve something, you need to be able to visualize it, and then set your determination to achieving it. It’s how all the best athletes and entrepreneurs succeed.
5. Take a good long walk. Nature is open 24/7. Look at Google maps and seek your local parks. Search on-line for local hikes and walks, and at All Trails. Invite a friend to come with you, just be sensible about distance. Leave your cellphone in your pocket, take out your earbuds, and enjoy nature’s beauty. Smile at the people you meet. If you feel like it, carry a garbage bag, wear gloves and pick up litter.