How to find your inner calm in times of turmoil

“Love and peace of mind do protect us. They allow us to overcome the problems that life hands us. They teach us to survive… to live now… to have the courage to confront each day.” — Bernie Siegel

We are living in some weird times… Who would have thought only a few weeks ago that we had to face a pandemic crisis like the one brought by Covid-19? With half of the world in lockdown, we are all forced to re-think our everyday lives and adjust to spending most of our time at home and avoiding social contact.

What’s happening in the world now is unprecedented and just plain unsettling so everyone is feeling worried. While we don’t know when this situation is going to end – and we can all go back to normal life – a question that we are facing is ‘how can we be as calm and happy as we can be, under these circumstances?’

One of the first things we can do when attempting to navigate any bumpy crossroad in life is to build an inner place of peace. As (in normal times) we make efforts on cultivating relationships with our loved ones, now that we can’t do that (at least not in person), why don’t we concentrate on developing a healthy relationship with ourselves? Here are some of the things that are helping me during this lockdown.

Take care of your body

This is important for your health but also for your mood. Get enough sleep, wake up at a normal hour, eat healthy food, don’t drink too much, stick to a regular routine of personal hygiene and don’t spend all day, every day in your pyjamas!!

Practicing mindfulness

Taking time to cultivate a practice of quiet breathing and sitting still for long enough to feel a sense of sacred space within can offer significant benefit in times of turmoil and stress. This is because our subtle energies are just as essential to our wellbeing as activities such as eating, sleeping and exercising.

Keep moving

Figuring out how to keep active may be tough if your normal exercise routine is disrupted. It is amazing how much you can do even in a small space. Check whether your yoga teacher is organising any virtual classes (most do! Contact me to know my times), or you can use one of the many exercise apps/ videos available on the internet.

If you are working from home, remember to stand up and walk around frequently. A 5 min break every hour to get some fresh air in the garden (if you are lucky to have one) or opening a window, or doing some chores around the house may do the trick.

Beware of information overload

We all want to stay up-to-date with the latest news, but it is easy to get overwhelmed. Learn what you need to learn, but don’t get sucked in. Monitor your screen time so you have a solid sense of your habits. You might want to schedule time to check the news —perhaps twice a day—but don’t let this overtake you.

Tidy up

Yes, it may sound ridiculous—such a petty gesture in the face of an overwhelming challenge—but remember that outer order gives a sense of inner calm and inner focus. If nothing else, it is a concrete action that will lead to a visual improvement of the space around you. Even if it is not rational, it can be very helpful.

Connect with friends and family, and reach out to people who might feel isolated

This is a time when technology can really come to our aid! Call, text, do video calls, send funny videos of your kids, you, your pets… we all want to feel connected and cared for. Strong social relationships are a key to happiness, so find ways to help others—and yourself— to avoid feeling trapped and lonely.

Make good use of this opportunity

Being stuck at home is an opportunity that none of us wished for, but it is an opportunity nevertheless. Look for ways to use the time to get things done you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. Learn something new. Practice guitar. Start yoga or meditation. Cook some new recipes. When we will resume our normal lives, we will cherish these precious moments we had for ourselves.

Create comforting rituals

Find ways to have pleasant patterns through your day, something that makes you feel grounded and calm. It might be meditation, it might be a cup of your favourite tea, it might be a bedtime story with your children – repetition is a very powerful tool to create a sense of calm and inner peace as it helps us to feel grounded and in the moment.

Get on your yoga mat

Moving with your breath, through an asana (physical postures) practice is very powerful too, as again it takes you out of your head and your worries, anchoring you in the here-and-now. Try balancing poses like Tree Pose – it’s very hard to think about anything else when you’re standing on one leg.

It is so easy to feel disempowered by everything that is going on – any of the Warrior Poses will help you cultivate a sense of strength. Chest Openers will also open your lungs and side ribs and help keep things moving.

Know that we are in this together

This is happening right now, right here, to many people around the world. We are literally all in this crisis together. Not exactly the way we wanted to bond, true, but – when we pull through it – we will remember this time, which has brought humanity closer. And you will want to be there for that. So, hang on, do. We can all survive this and emerge on the other side stronger.

Are there any other strategies, tips or solutions that you’ve found helpful for staying as calm and happy as you can be, under the current circumstances? Please feel free to share.