How to feel more in control during a pandemic

by Melanie Chisnall

When everything feels out of control, what can we control?

We’re 18 months into a global pandemic; we don’t know when (or if) this virus will ever completely go away. And on top of that, the world feels like it’s in utter chaos. Protests, climate change, unemployment, and a rising mental health crisis.

It’s a lot, isn’t it?

Yes. We can turn off phone notifications, jump off Twitter before we find ourselves scrolling endless conspiracy theories, or consume bite-sized highlights over watching the news. But, we still feel it.

There’s a heaviness in the air and we’re overwhelmed with uncertainty.

Even if some of us don’t show it or talk about it, we’re exhausted.

Mentally and emotionally.

The stress and anxiety and bouts of depression spontaneously crop up as we go about our daily lives. Although, for the most part, you wouldn’t think that, given how so many of us appear to carry on as if nothing’s changed.

I suppose we have to in a way. We need our little bubbles to create a fragment of control amongst all this pandemonium.

But it’s not healthy to live there.

It’s not healthy to pretend that things are great when they’re not, or to beat ourselves up when we’re having a bad moment, day, or week.

We need to start giving ourselves a little more grace and compassion to feel the feels.

It’s okay to not have it altogether all the time. The key is to not stay there – it’s taking micro-steps and giving yourself permission to do more things that make you feel good every day.

Yes, we’re allowed that in a pandemic.

Especially in a pandemic.

How I’m creating more calm and control in my day-to-day life

I’m a huge advocate for managing stress and prioritising my mental health naturally.

I don’t believe in suppressing things in order to make other people feel more comfortable (I’ll never tell someone I’m fine when I’m not), or numbing pain in unhealthy ways.

I believe in getting to the root of why we feel the way we feel. I also believe in expressing how we feel in a way that’s not harmful to ourselves, or others.

This can look like journalling or kickboxing, singing in the shower, or screaming into a pillow.

That’s a type of control I like.

Expression.

And I’ll confess, I don’t always have it all together. I have my moments where things feel so overwhelming all I want to do is pack a bag and run off to the ends of the Earth. But I don’t let that feeling consume me. I feel it, acknowledge it and let it out.

Here’s what I’ve been doing lately to create a little more inner calm and feel a bit more in control:

3 Things to help you create a little more calm (and control) in your day-to-day life, even during the midst of a pandemic. #wellbeing Click To Tweet

1)  Respecting my home

This is going to sound bad, but I’ve been a lazy cleaner for a long time. It wasn’t until I had to do a deep clean that I realised how much I’d been neglecting some of the spaces I live and work in.

If you didn’t know this before, now you do: our environment plays a big role in our mental health.

So what does this have to do with expressing our feelings?

Have you ever done a deep clean?!

No, but seriously. Sweeping, scrubbing, wiping, polishing… doing any of those to a pumping Spotify playlist in your ears makes for one hell of a workout.

Speaking of workouts…

2)  Committing to 30 minutes of exercise a day

If it’s 15h30, you’ll find me in front of my laptop, doing a Daily Burn workout.

I look forward to this time every day. It’s a promise I’ve made to myself to show up, no matter what the day throws my way, for just 30 minutes.

Right now, kickboxing is my thing. I LOVE it!

It’s empowering, feeling yourself getting stronger – and it’s a really good way to express yourself (bye-bye frustrations!)

But you don’t need to do kickboxing to get those feel-good endorphins flowing. How about an indoor power walk session or a dance jam in your bedroom? Hot yoga, HIIT, Pilates, strength training, jogging… the list is endless.

Find what feels good to you and commit to a tiny window of self-care in your day.

3)  Achieving small wins with personal projects

My husband recently re-introduced me to Trello, an easy-to-use (and fun) list-making application.

If you’re anything like me, checking things off gives you an instant boost of satisfaction. I love using Trello to quickly check off personal tasks, like doing my income tax or updating my budget, or defrosting the fridge.

When I feel productive and proactive, I feel calmer and more in control.

(Intentionally productive, not non-stop busy).

Last year I went down a nasty rabbit hole of conspiracy theories because I wasn’t keeping busy enough. It happens. My advice is to create personal projects you’ll feel good about checking off.

Final thoughts

Things aren’t great right now. But that doesn’t mean we have to live under a permanent cloud of doom and gloom – or pretend that everything’s perfect because we see other people doing that.

Everyone is trying to cope in their own way.

Find some good in your day through healthier avenues. Express your feelings in a positive way and see if that helps you feel a little calmer or more in control (even just a tiny bit) while we’re navigating and adapting through this pandemic.

You’ve got this.

Let me know if you have any well-being tips that are working for you right now, I’d love to read them.

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