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  • Writer's pictureSheila Gibson, Esq

Finding calm in the chaos of COVID-19

Updated: Apr 5, 2020

One of my superpowers has always been being the calm in the eye of a storm. Over the years, people who know me and especially people who have worked with me or been with me during stressful situations will turn to me for a sense of calmness when the world around them seems to be coming undone. As Covid-19 has continued to escalate in the U.S., I’ve fielded quite a few inquiries from friends and former colleagues. Yesterday, a former colleague reached out to let me know it was really hitting her hard since her gym closed and asking if I had any tips for her. I wrote out a lengthy text (as I tend to do!) and she loved it so much she asked if she could share it. She also asked that I please post it in case it can help others as much as she felt it helped her. So here it is:

My biggest tip is mindset. This is a huge pause button. Any time you’ve felt overwhelmed, stressed, not enough time to get things done, this is the universe making everyone SLOW DOWN without any fear of missing out or nagging feeling that you’re not doing enough. Embrace it! This is a moment in time. It’s going to pass. What are you going to wish you had done during this time when life goes back to “normal” and you’re wishing you had free time again? I can guarantee you’re going to wish you didn’t stress so much and that you enjoyed the downtime more. You’ll lose the weight you gain. You’ll gain any strength you lose. It’s all going to be ok.

Practical tips. I had the kids pick something they wanted to learn during this time and ordered supplies. My daughter wanted to learn calligraphy, so I ordered her pens and paper and set her up to do that. My son has been really into yo-yo tricks so I ordered him a new yo-yo and more string. To burn off energy, I ordered jump ropes, weighted hoola hoops, and some activities we can play together in our backyard (a ladder toss game, corn hole, and spray chalk). I also put air in the bicycle tires and we’ll be going on daily walks and bike rides. I have a folding exercise bike, workout videos, and a few loose dumbbells for stuff to do inside. We’re also going to make a point to play every board game we own. I’m working on house projects I never have time to get to (organizing, purging the excess, minor repairs, stuff like that).

Health tips. We’re taking daily vitamin C supplements and a multivitamin and drinking ginger tea to boost our immune systems. We’re washing our hands more, and wiping down counters, doorknobs, light switches, computer keyboards, and our phones. I cleaned and disinfected every surface in my house and then cleansed the energy with sage and an intention for good health. I created a "staging area" in our entryway and replaced our door mats with washable mats that can be tossed in the wash every couple days. We’re leaving our shoes at the door and I bought washable slippers for inside. We have separate outdoor coats/hoodies and indoor hoodies that don’t touch. I put our recycle bin and scissors by the front door and we are unboxing any deliveries outside, tossing the packaging into the recycle bin, and wiping down the contents before we bring them inside. (GMP cleanroom experience coming in clutch!)

Food tips. We’re ordering in to help small businesses while they’re still open and I set up food delivery service with Hello Fresh to avoid going to the grocery store or having to think too much about dinner. We picked out a variety of snacks so we don’t get bored eating the same things over and over. We have our normal supply of milk in the fridge and meat in the freezer (which for us is 2-3 weeks’ worth because I don’t like shopping), and our urban farm is supplying us with fresh eggs and fruit.

Mental health tips. We are journaling! We’ve talked a lot about how this is something future generations will read about in history books. My kids decided to preserve their thoughts and feelings about their experience for their kids and grandkids. I am focusing on gratitude for this time with my kids and all of the abundance around me. The community mindset right now is one of scarcity and hoarding, so I am paying close attention to all the signs of abundance around me, no matter how seemingly insignificant, to keep me grounded. I’m using this time to gather my ideas and thoughts for how I want my future to go. I’m brainstorming about how to use this opportunity for future growth. I’m focused on the lesson the universe is teaching so I can learn it and apply it.

Social tips. Catch up with people you haven’t talked to in a while. Check in on people who might be alone. Stay in touch with the people you would normally spend time with. People are getting so creative. I’ve seen dinners and happy hours hosted online in order to maintain social interactions without the risk. It will be interesting to see what sticks after this is over. Maybe it’s not weird to have lunch together without actually having to drive 100 miles to meet in person!

The unknown and uncertainty and the way everything is escalating are no doubt alarming. Chances are you might get sick and for the vast majority that will be ok. The drastic measures we are taking is to slow the spread and protect those with weaker immune systems. In times of worry, if you keep everything in perspective, you will realize you have the power to control your mindset and to positively affect those around you.

That’s way more than you asked for! I hope it’s useful! I’m always here for you.

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