Panic. Pandemic. Two words that sound eerily similar, and the first which unfortunately, so often arises from the latter. I wonder if the similarity between the two words was intentional from an etymologically point of view, most likely not.
Now, panic does little to nothing to help us, individually nor collectively, to move forward from whatever situation, disastrous or mild, we find ourselves in. The same way you wouldn’t want to kick and scream if you found yourself in deep waters, just the same way it’s not recommended to give into fear and panic when something like the COVID-19 (Corona virus) knocks on our collective front doors.
This principle applies to almost any art, sport, discipline or endeavor, namely to perform a task or activity with focused relaxation is almost always better than to do it with frenzy and impatience.
So then what can you do when you start noticing people around you, friends, family and strangers alike, start giving into fear of “impending doom”? Here are my five tips:
1. Do What You Can and then Give Yourself a Break
Yep, simple as that. Do what you can and need to do, if that means to bulk up with food and sustenance to stay more at home than usual then do that. If it means avoiding certain places and faces, then well, go ahead and do that. But don’t over do it, at least in your mind and conduct. Follow the directives that the laws of your resident country set up but don’t view them as absolutes. Give yourself a break in other words, psychologically and physically, which brings us to:
2. Back to Nature
Take a walk through the forest, bathe in the greenery, or simply go sitting near a lake close to your home. We need detoxing from technology as well as the asphyxiating energy that collectively arises when people are running around scared and anxious, being preoccupied in their minds with the potential dangers associated with A or with B.
Nature heals, both body and mind. Spend more time near the trees, the waters, the ground. Know that everything is connected and time is cyclical as well as linear. People come and go, thoughts come and go, our desires come and go, our fears come and go, diseases like covid-19 come and go, but nature stays put, giving life to new possibilities and generations time after time. Behold the beauty within and around you. This will definitely give you some perspective and relax you.
3. Stay Updated
Similar to the first point, learn what you can about the cause of the panic, in the case of the Corona virus, learn the best practices, the history and nature of the disease (if you’re into that), the current state in your country and city. Stay updated but remember to keep an balanced mind. The numbers and statistics that are provided by the news or other agencies aren’t as clear cut and self-evident as they first seem. Suspend judgement, learn the context, dive deeper when you need to but most important of all, keep calm and carry on.
4. Stay Mindful
Mindfulness is yet another way of keeping your fear and anxiety submerged under soothing waters. Stay mindful, especially notice how you feel when certain things related to the panic happens, whether its a news anchor reporting the current state, good or bad, of the disease, or if you meet an acquaintance who flees from your presence just to save himself. (lol)
5. Do Some Sitting Meditation
Instead of exclusively bulking up with the sustenance that your body requires to survive, try investing into something that will keep your spirit strong and healthy as well. If you’re going to stay at home these coming weeks and months more than usual why not get a meditation cushion or a bench to kickstart a healthy meditation practice. Meditation, though you need not call it that, is to simply observe the contents of your mind and alleviate yourself from its implications. Nothing more, nothing less. As mentioned earlier, our collective hive mind in stressful times like these, amass certain energies which if not checked, can subtly sabotage your well-being both in the here and now and in the long run. Counter this build-up of depressive energies by sitting more in silence with yourself, get to know your meditative core and enjoy it.
There you have my spontaneous tips on how to relax during a time of widespread panic, especially in these crazy times of the Corona virus. I will most likely update this article if more ideas spring to mind or if I get any constructive comments from you guys! Peace and love to you all!
Daniel Seeker is a wandering dervish and lifelong student of the past, present and future. He realized deep relaxations of the psyche when meditating in his hermit cave on the island of Gotland. His writings are mostly a reflection of that realizaton. Daniel currently studies history and philosophy at Uppsala Universitet, as he is currently writing his B.A. thesis in history which explores how Buddhist and Hindu texts were first properly translated and introduced to the western world in the late 18th and 19th century.