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How to cope with the Covid-19 challenges

We are facing unprecedented and totally unexpected times. The current situation with the covid-19 outbreak calls for a different daily routine and creates different requirements.

Let me ask you, has this situation stressed you out, caused anxiety and fear, or created uncertainty and conflict within you? If you said "yes", you're probably within the 99% of the human population who feel insecure when they deal with the unexpected.

Here are a few tips on how to turn the unexpected to your benefit:

  • Generalise. Now, out of all times, is the moment to think of this particular situation as something non-specific. Think of all the other times you've been surprised in your life; with unexpected injuries, unexpected illnesses of either yourself or your loved ones, unexpected loss of a job or house or did you deal with those challenges? You've survived 100% of all of them, and you're here reading this post, stronger than ever. You're wiser, you're more experienced and you have more knowledge. Think of all the times life has seemed unfair to you, and now move forward to the present - who are you now, as a result of all of the difficulties you've faced in life? How have they changed you, and what skills and strengths have you gained as a result? Apply them to the current situation.

  • Focus on you. If there's one time in your life when you'll be called on to prioritise yourself, this is it. Focus on your physical and mental health. Go for a walk. Practice some indoor or outdoor sports. Finish-off that garden or interior design project you've been sitting on for months or years. Meditate. Relax. Enjoy the extra time you're given to not run frantically around the big cities or commute to and from work. We've all been wishing for extra time. Now that you have it, cherish it and take advantage of it.

  • Spend time with your family and make the most out of the time you have been given. This is a unique opportunity and may not happen again...If life normally is too busy for you to do arts and crafts or play sports with your children, to go out for a dinner date with your partner or to pick up the phone and talk to friends and family, then you have an amazing opportunity to turn it all around. Spend time with your loved ones. Reconnect with estranged family and friends, and finally show interest in their lives without the worry you have to run off soon. Spend quality time with the people that matter the most to you and reconnect.

  • Avoid overthinking and panicking. Nothing good comes out of putting too much thought into things...I had to learn this the hard way in my life. I had gotten exhausted and run down enough times and even suffered from stomach ulcers and eczema as a result of stress, before I realised that I am the one doing all of these to myself; not the world, not the challenges I am facing, I and my mind are doing these. I realised anxiety can't change the future, in the same way guilt can't change the past. I realised I am much stronger to deal with future challenges if I am not already exhausted by worrying about how to deal with them when they come. I am sure you feel the urge to read the newspaper, browse the internet or turn the tv on to look for the latest news on covid-19...but if there's one advice I can give you, it's this: Nothing is going to change if you read the news multiple times a day...and your world won't fall apart if you skip the news for 24 hours. Now, I am certainly not saying you should not be informed, I am merely stating the obvious - stay tuned with the latest news, but do it only once a day and for up to 30' at a time. Educate yourself and understand if you need to follow any new national or international guidelines and then switch off. Then turn your focus on spending the rest of the day in the most productive, fun way possible for you and your family instead.

  • Schedule. Just because you're staying home doesn't mean you shouldn't have a schedule throughout the day. Plan your day ahead to make the most out of it. I am starting every day with a morning ritual...Part of my morning ritual, for example, includes meditating, enjoying the ritual of making fresh and rich coffee, exercising, and writing in my journal 3-5 things I would like to achieve throughout the day...I find it helps put things into perspective and it keeps me focused and organised. I also don't have to waste energy into thinking what I should be doing during the day or what I forgot to do. It helps me avoid unnecessary stress, and keeps me motivated and positive. Whatever your morning routine is, make sure you do have a schedule and you stick to it.

Try to incorporate as many of the above as possible to get through any challenging times, like the current covid-19 situation. Remember you're strong enough to face it all, you've done it in the past. Believe in yourself and your inner strength, and understand you can start over each morning and define the way you would like your days to look. The time to do that is now!

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