Change is known to trigger resistance, especially when it happens suddenly or is imposed by external factors. This pandemic has shaken the bearings, comfort levels, habits and wired behaviours of many people. But the good news is this is a totally normal reaction.

Leila Atbi, mind and personal growth coach, author and blogger, lists a few challenges that have caused people stress during this confinement and self-isolation period, and offers six ways to combat increased anxiety.

1. Avoid resistance

Accept what you cannot change and adapt your daily routine to the new reality. It is the best and fastest way to make the best of this situation.

2. Make space

Office work, sports, leisure activities and schoolwork are now happening within the limited indoor space. This is a good time to declutter and let go of unnecessary items. Luckily, the weather is beautiful these days and opening the windows is still possible. Make sure to keep the rooms well ventilated to get fresh air and sunlight as much as possible.

3. Focus

If you find it challenging to reach the same focus and productivity while working or studying from home, find the sequence of the steps you usually follow from the very moment you wake up until the moment you are about to step outside your home, and replicate the exact same steps. That will switch on your “work” mode.

Laugh often, says mind coach Leila Atbi, and create a happy atmosphere at home
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Create a dedicated workspace at home, ideally a spare room, as an office. Inform your family about your working hours. Put a warning sign on the door if necessary, to minimise distractions.

For parents with school children, maintain the same sequence of morning routine to get ready for school and dedicate a space at home that simulates a classroom space.

Remember to stay hydrated for better focus and include breaks at regular times – every 30-45 minutes for primary and middle school levels and every 60-90 minutes for senior students. It is recommended to reduce or eliminate any source of refined sugar in your children’s diet for them to stay healthy and focused.

4. Fitness

It’s easy to fall into a cycle of procrastination and lose focus of your fitness programme. Keep up with your previous fitness schedule. Involve your fitness buddies on live calls. Include family members willing to participate. Many fitness trainers are offering free fitness sessions on social media platforms during this time.

Staying fit is mission critical. Conscious movement releases the happiness hormones, boosts your immune system, helps oxygenate your body and eliminates toxins.

5. Don’t panic

Keeping a calm attitude and positive mindset can be challenging especially if you stay caught up in the negative whirlpool of bad news. While staying informed is important, carefully choose the sources of information.

Make sure to rest well, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, stay hydrated and maintain a positive outlook on life. Laugh often, create a happy atmosphere at home, listen to your favourite music, sing along, dance and play with your loved ones.

Practice deep and slow breathing first thing in the morning, last thing before sleeping at night and as many times as needed in between. It will calm the body and signal to the mind that the outer environment is safe.

The (5-5-5) x 5 breathing exercise

  • Breathe in to the count of 5
  • Hold your breath in to the count of 5
  • Breathe out to the count of 5
  • Repeat 5 times

6. Daily gratitude

Practicing daily gratitude is a very powerful exercise which helps raise the frequency of the body’s bio-energy, boosts the immune system and erases any negative thoughts and emotions. Keep a notepad on your bedside table and just before going to bed every night write down at least five highlights of your day: things, people, situations you are grateful for etc. It will improve the quality of your sleep, put your challenges into perspective and help you build up resilience in the face of adversity.

More expert health tips to deal with the pandemic