With the world seemingly thrown on its head, many of our lives have changed in mere weeks. Worries about job losses and incomes coupled with vast amounts of change (working from home, lack of connectivity to family and colleagues perhaps home-schooling children too?) there are few people who haven’t been touched by the whirlwind that is COVID-19.

It’s perfectly normal to feel unsettled – as Professionals, we like to maintain control over situations and understand the confines of the problem we’re dealing with. Covid19 offers no such security or assurance. It’s also a challenge which impacts deeply on work and personal lives, making it that much harder to remain calm and focused. It’s at times like these, that we need to practice care for others, but most importantly care for ourselves before anxiety or concern reaches a tipping point beyond which, it’s much harder to easily recover.

When we’re stressed, our bodies go into a ‘fight or flight’ response which renders us unable to make rational or clear decisions. The longer our bodies fight against this response, the greater the downward spiral of negativity and ability to be highly productive at work, and at home. If we start taking proactive positive action to protect against the early signs of stress and overwhelm, we can break this cycle and enjoy powerful positive effects at work and home. Signs (which others may pick up on before you) you may be feeling overwhelmed can be overreacting, or being more argumentative than normal, as well as constantly being busy or hyper-vigilant. If this is you, or someone you care about, it’s time to quietly take a step back and practice some self-care in these early days of COVID19.

Keep it simple, five minutes is enough to practice any of these tips for immediate calm:

1. Reset your breathing. Box Breathing has been used in the Military as a simple technique to help clear the mind, relax the body and improve breathing. Try it, it’s easy and can be practiced anywhere. Take a deep breath in and hold it for 4 seconds, then exhale for 4 and hold your breath for 4 counts before repeating the cycle.

2. Go for a walk or a run– get moving! You can still practice safe social distancing but being out in nature and forcing your body to move will really help. Notice the beautiful flowers in the gardens you pass, the bright blue sky, appreciate the honeybees flying around. Slow your thinking to just the stimulus you are seeing.

3. Time for yourself. Half an hour spent taking a relaxing bath, playing with a pet, reading a good book allows your body to drop the fight or flight response and recover.

4. Download an app – Insight Timer is excellent; I have guided short meditations on there for you to enjoy https://insighttimer.com/sabina
Take it easy on yourself and those around you in these uncertain times. One thing is for sure – more conscious behaviour and thoughts will assist in keeping you on track professionally and personally.