It’s a topsy-turvy world we’re living in right now. Even an introvert like me, used to sitting alone at the computer all day, can get caught up in the craziness. It’s essential, now more than ever, that you find your calm in the middle of the storm. Ack! How do you do that when everyone around you is losing their minds?
First, smile. Fake it if you must. Look in the mirror and smile. Make faces. Be goofy.
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.—Thich Nhat Hanh
There’s science behind this. And I’ve written a series of blog posts about stress and how you can manage it.
The act of smiling activates those neurotransmitters that make you feel good. It relaxes your body, slows your heart, and lowers your blood pressure. Not only that, it makes you more attractive. And it’s contagious.
You’ve got to change your life for your health and the health of everyone around you. So take this time and re-evaluate your priorities. Figure out what means the most to you. What brings you the most happiness and joy? Is it your family? Music? Reading? Writing? Creating something?
If you’re the parent of school-aged children who now have a lot of time on your hands, help them find the things that bring them joy. Make sure each of you spends at least 15 minutes sparking your joy every day.
The reality of being home all the time means some chores of daily living have increased exponentially. Have a family meeting where you spell out what needs to be done every day. Teach your children (or spouse) how to do the laundry, how to fix their lunch, or mop the floor. Don’t expect them to do it perfectly. Whether you have children at home, or a spouse, let them help plan the day. Set ground rules such as ‘the schedule must include 4 hours of learning, 1 hour of movement, 1 hour of entertainment, 1 hour of chores and 1 hour free time.
Have a family exercise time. If exercise is a drag, make it fun with things like a Chinese Fire Drill. When Mom or Dad (or older children) call out “Fire Drill.” Everyone has to run laps around the house or around the yard. In bad weather you can run laps around the dining room table.
Or you can play balance games. How long can you stand on one leg? Can you walk across the room balancing a book on your head? There are plenty of sites online that can suggest more indoor and outdoor activities. Check out Today’s Parent.
While it’s important to keep active physically and mentally, your quiet time is also important. Spend at least 15 minutes in mindfulness. Step away from all electronic devices. No, this isn’t nap time. Mindfulness is simply the act of noticing the moment.
Notice how it feels to breathe, to sit, to smell, to taste. If you have children, you may have to teach them how to do this. Parents.com tells you why and how to do this.
If that sounds to woo-woo for you, take 15 minutes to connect with yourself or your spiritual beliefs. Reflect on how you feel at the moment. If it’s not how you want to feel, practice releasing that feeling and recovering the you you want to be.
Not to the internet. To each other. Spend time talking to each other. Reach out to others. Use text or Face Time or chat or simply telephone a friend or family member. Chat, complain, make each other laugh. Have a Google Hangout party.
Maybe you can’t be physically close, but you can stay connected.
If you, or a loved one, or a friend is overwhelmed, get help. Call the national suicide prevention line at 1-800-273-8255. They can provide resources even if you don’t feel suicidal.
Your Calm in the Middle of the Storm
It’s not always easy to be calm in the middle of the storm. And it’s not a one and done activity. Especially when loved ones inadvertently (or purposefully) bring fear and chaos to you. You can’t make others be calm. But you can find your calm in the middle of the storm. How do you find your calm in these turbulent times?