6 Ways to Cope with Anxiety During a World Crisis

Paula Martinelli Blog 14 Comments

The new headlines emerging daily about the spread of Coronavirus, it’s easy to feel out of control anytime we face the uncertainty and unknown. Where might it strike next? Who will get sick? It’s distracting and depleting. It’s also an opportunity to strengthen our resilience muscle. We are ALL in this together.

IT IS TIME TO STRENGTHEN OUR RESILIENCE MUSCLE

 

For the past weeks I have been reading, watching, discussing and educating myself about the Coronavirus, and I have been debating with myself: As a content creator (aka: blogger) should I write about it too?

Today I feel inspired to address the Coronavirus topic as a Responsible Travel Blogger and someone who promotes a Healthy Lifestyle. I am NOT writing about scientific aspects, for 2 obvious reasons:

  • First of all, I am not qualified to write about scientific topics
  • And second, because I truly believe that it is EVERYONE’S job at this moment to rely on official sites for the latest and scientific information.

In this blog post I am covering topics I feel comfortable talking about, as someone who suffered from anxiety in the past and found alternative ways to embrace positive attitudes to change my behaviors  and to make positive changes in my life. I truly believe we should rely on each other to grow, learn, educate and build trust.

Here are six ways to navigate the current climate with resilience:

  1. Address your feelings
  2. Empathize and be a responsible traveler 
  3. Control what you can: Your Mind
  4. Take care of your body and health
  5. Be positive and practice gratitude

 

Keep well informed from reliable sources:

 

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1- ADDRESS YOUR FEELINGS

 

Yes, I am stressed too.

For many years I worked in the Pharma and Biopharma industry, and I helped to make a difference in people’s life with drugs and vaccines. At the end of 2019, I decided to follow my heart and start my travel business helping people to go on journeys around our planet.  It would be ironic if it was not very stressful time for me.

In times like this, it is very easy to make a decision based on anxiety or to feel depressed questioning yourself, “What am I doing with my life?”

But take a moment to think about what really scares you about the Coronavirus. Is it getting sick? Seeing your loved ones get sick? Is it being hit financially? Being confined in your house for weeks without knowing what comes next?

As humans, we are hard-wired to scan for potential threats, and the Coronavirus has been framed as a big one. Now it is time to arm yourself with facts, this is a real threat, but our natural fears make it much worse.

While caution is important, extreme panic will undermine your mental health. Make sure you worry according to probability and adjust your behaviors to gain some sense of control without panicking.

 

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2 - EMPATHIZE AND BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER (DO NOT TRAVEL)

 

I had an awesome trip to India which was also an amazing opportunity for my very first Press Trip.

Right after my trip to India, I had a family trip to Germany planned. I only get to see my family who lives in Brazil once a year and I was extremely happy and counting the days to hug them and spend an incredible vacation with the ones I love.

Even before they implement travel restrictions or India stop providing visa, I chose to be responsible and unselfish and I canceled all my upcoming traveling.

I am struggling to deal with all the airline companies I had booked my flights, and have been daily following updates on the status for the cancellation policies.

This is a very difficult time for my brand new tiny travel business and also not being able to see my loved ones.

Financially a lot of us are feeling vulnerable, and creatively, it aches to consider visions I have poured my heart and soul into not coming to life.

I also feel terribly sorry for the small and big businesses -  the airlines companies, tour operators, hotels, taxi drivers, owners of restaurants and shops – I empathize with all of us that rely on the travel industry for income, and also, having to cancel our business trip or dream vacation with our loved ones.

But it is not about me. It is not about my desires. It is about all of us, the ones around us, it is about our society.

But it is necessary. Please stop traveling, at least for a while. 

When everything is over, the Taj Mahal, the Coliseum, the Eiffel Tower, Phi Phi Island and Christ the Redeemer will all still be there waiting for your visit.

You have a chance to make a difference and stop the spread in your country, and avoiding traveling at this time which is the smarter thing to do.

3 - CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN: YOUR MIND

 

We are witnessing history, and the most important thing is to focus on what you CAN control. Moving forward is what humanity is good at after all.

We all have our own reasons to feel stress, sadness, fear, panic, confusion, anger, anxiety or even worse, all the feelings at the same time.

The bad news is that they are not good feelings to feel and they reflect negatively in our bodies and especially our minds.

But the good news is that those feelings are normal in times of stress, and we can learn how to control it.

Many of the physical illness starts with an unhealthy mind. Our mind is incredibly powerful.

Taking the time from being in public, moving to a home office and canceling social events to stay at home are actions you can take which are positive. But staying at home watching the news and reading people panicking on social media is not going to help you.

Opt to surround yourself with things that keep you calm. Read a book, go for a walk, watch a movie, listen to a calm song while you work from home office are some of the choices you can make to help to calm down your mind.

Finding life balance between travel and fitness

4 - TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH

 

Stress affects our mood, but it also affects our physical health.

Now is the perfect time to promote health and to prevent illness. A lot of physical disease starts from an unhealthy mind. Now is the time to manage it.

  • Get plenty of rest and take regular work breaks
  • Keep hydrated
  • Make sure to eat healthful
  • Building a resilient immune system will also help you feel more in control. After all, the risks of suffering from stress and burnout are higher than Coronavirus
  • Exercise – Go for a walk, practice yoga, take your dog for a walk, play with your kids or dance like no one is watching you. Keep moving, it is good for your body and your mind
  • Don’t rely on cigarettes, alcohol or medication to try to remain calm. They may work for a very short time but will cause negative effects long term which is not a good solution for your body
  • In case of physical or mental emergency, go see your doctor or therapist
  • The most important, let’s repeat the Mantra again: Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, cough inside your elbow and if you feel sick, contact your doctor and avoid contact with others

Check these 7 simple steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 

Immune system

5 - BE POSITIVE AND PRACTICE GRATITUDE

 

We should NOT panic at this moment, but at the same time, I don’t think we should live in denial.

I have no idea how many times I heard things like  “it is just the flu” or “It only affects old people with preconditions”.

I think that by this point we all have seen and heard enough to believe it is not only media fantasy or a conspiracy. It is real, it is a Pandemic!

There are 2 reasons why Coronavirus has brought some countries to their knees. First it is a form of flu that is devastating when people get really sick and they need weeks of ICU – and, second, because of how fast and effectively it spreads. There is a 2-week incubation period and many who have it never show symptoms until later.

Coronavirus is a new threat and coping with new threats requires strength and energy.

As the travel expert Stephanie mention on this great article "By using immune booster supplements, staying positive, protecting others and helping to keep their spirits up, you'll help make the Coronavirus quickly become just a bad memory."

Give yourself some credit and remember to end each day with a measure of gratitude that you successfully navigated the world around you, and let this positivity build on itself.

You have the power to care for your physical and mental health; don’t let anxiety control your well-being.

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OVERVIEW ON HOW TO REMAIN CALM DURING STRESSFUL TIME

 

First of all, start by taking a deep breath and try to identify what you are feeling at this moment – Face and feel these feelings, then as a second step take action towards controlling it.

Be a responsible traveler: Stay at home now, wherever home is for you.

Be Mindful and aware of what is happening around you - Find a reliable source of information such as WHO or a public health body of your country: Ministry of Health. As President Obama once said, “Stay calm and listen to the experts”

Take Precautions: Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 sec. Use hand sanitizer. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. Do not touch your face. Practice social distance. If you’re worried about vulnerable friends and family, such as the elderly, put a plan in place to check in regularly. Adjusting behaviors will help you regain a sense of empowerment instead of allowing the latest headlines to dictate your actions and emotions.

Empathize with others: Avoid exaggerations and be supportive of people contaminated with the virus.

Control your mind: Practice meditation and spend some time with the quietness, paying attention to your breathing. It works wonders to calm down our minds.

Take care of your health: Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, practice yoga, go for a walk.

Make smarter choices: Like everything else in life, it is a matter of choice – My choice, your choice! Be the one who will inspire others around you! We are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!

Embrace Generosity:  The finite mindset of opportunism, selfishness and panic will hurt all of us in the long run. Keep a selflessness and a calm caution as we navigate this together.

Don't Panic by the Authorities Precautions: It is scary to watch everything closing and getting canceled, seeing empty streets or empty stadiums. But all of these actions are necessary at this moment in order to reduce the viral transmission. At this moment, love and care looks like an empty Coliseum.

 

People with purpose, goals, and visions have no time for drama. They invest their energy in creativity and focus on living a positive life.

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Comments 14

  1. Really great article! Refreshing to read something about what we can actually DO to cope with this pandemic. My fear isn’t of me getting sick, it’s of unknowingly contracting the virus and transmitting it to my elderly, frail nursing home patients. I believe that stress management (and hand washing!!!) is key to keeping our immune systems strong. Thanks for good read!

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  2. It’s so difficult not knowing what comes next in the near future and you are doing an great job in reminding us to be positive and managing our anxiety levels. Excellent article about such an important and current topic.

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  3. Very good dear friend!! great and important reading for this moment. In 5, BE POSITIVE AND PRACTICE GRATITUDE… Always.

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  4. Thank Paula for the well done blog article!
    I always like to read the refreshing thoughts you put so well together!
    Keep up the good work and never loose the inspiration.

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  5. What a great article, so relevant. It is important to remain positive and keep in mind that this is just a phase. Keep calm and wash your hands!

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  6. Thank you Paula for writing this great article! We are all experiencing this anxiety and putting things into perspective as you did is very helpful and reassuring… this all should pass soon… meanwhile we need to give our best and cooperate as a society… every one & every action counts! Thanks for making me feel better with your words & thoughts on this post!

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      Thanks Pry and I am so glad you enjoyed the article. I agree with you, it will pass soon and meanwhile all we need to do is to live this temporary difficult time and to take care of our health, wash our hands and stay home.

  7. My evening gratitude will be that this pandemic brought me a great friend like you, Paula. You rock! Positive people are so important in this world, especially in such a hard time! And thanks for the mention <3

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