How do we stay mindful in times of challenge and darkness? If you live in South Africa right now, you are facing twin threats of Covid and civil unrest. You may have been directly affected or you may be holding your breath, fearing that you might be next. What can you do in this situation?
Start by doing something symbolic
Light a candle for those affected by Covid
- For those who are ill
- For those who are caring for sick family and friends, which is both exhausting and worrying
- For those who have passed away which is shocking and sad
- And for everyone who has not had the virus and is worrying about getting it, worry is incredibly tiring
Please light another candle for our country and all who are affected, including you.
How to reduce your own fear and anxiety
Here are some practical ways to reduce your own fear and anxiety at this time:
- Divide a page in half and list all the threats on the left side of the page and on the right-hand side write down any practical action you can take at this time, where possible. Focus on what you can do, to give you more peace of mind and a sense of control.
- Journal and get all your fears onto the page – you diffuse some of their power by writing them down in longhand and full sentences.
- Create a community of friends or colleagues and meet regularly to download, this will likely be online at the moment. Give each other a limited time in which to speak about what is happening in your lives so that everyone gets a chance to share and be heard.
- Find a professional to talk to, a psychologist, counselor, or a coach, someone who is neutral.
- Limit watching the news to set times in the day as well as scrolling through social media. Feeding your mind fearful images 24/7 will keep you in a state of fear and panic and you will not be able to get on productively with your day. Of course, if you are in an affected area, you may need to keep your finger on the pulse, so that you can take emergency action which is quite understandable.
- Get into a regular meditation practice to reduce your stress. There are many meditation apps online.
- Practice 4:7:8 breathing a few times a day (we tend to hold our breath when we are in shock or fear):
- Breathe for the count of four
- Hold your breath for the count of seven
- Breathe out for the count of eight
- Put Rescue remedy into your bottle of water every day.
- Get your affairs in order and download my What If File Checklist using the coupon code: crisis2021. You have no idea how much energy you are leaking, worrying about whether you have your ducks in a row, so that someone can step in and take action should something happen to you.
How to win at work
- As a leader, you need to monitor your own fear and anxiety levels
- Take some of the above actions to get them in check, note I said some, not all. Do not overwhelm yourself with an unrealistic expectation of doing everything. Tap into yourself and pick the thing that resonates most for you and try that first.
- Your team needs clear, calm, decisive leadership at this time
- Please check in with your team on a regular basis, to see if they are okay
- Do share the above ideas with them
- As a check-in activity, it would be good to see which ideas team members are using. They can share the impact of what they are doing at the next team meeting
How to win at home and life
- If you have children, remember that parental anxiety is more infectious than anything, so you need to get your fear in check, as much as possible.
- Do the Threats and Action activity with children, from age 8 through to teens, to help them to verbalise their fears and help them come up with their own solutions.
- Do the Sweets & Sours Game every day at dinner time:
- Each person gets to share something negative and how it made them feel that day
- Each person then gets to share something positive and how that made them feel
- This is a way to help each family member be seen and heard each day, even the non-talkers in the family
- Put a few drops of Rescue remedy into your children’s water or juice bottles for the day
I hope these practical ideas will help you to diffuse some of your fear and anxiety at this time.
Human Potential and Parenting Expert helping you to win at work and life
Listen to the podcast of the Refiloe Mpakanyana, Weekend BreakfastShow on 702, where we discussed what to tell your children about the current unrest that is disrupting South Africa.
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