Personal growth

How to keep a cool head under quarantine — seven tips

The coronavirus has had a significant impact on all our lives. The gyms, saunas, cinemas and restaurants are all closed, and the lack of contact with those closest to us outside our family can frustrate a lot of people. We now have the first two weeks successfully behind us, but as time goes by things might still get worse. If the unpleasant feelings build up and we do nothing about them, they may catch up with us.  In this article I shall be presenting a few pieces of advice on how not to go crazy and how to survive the current restrictions in maximum comfort.  

Jakub Trpiš
Author of The Choice

1. It's not your fault

This might sound odd, but a lot of people start to blame themselves. At home they argue with their spouse, because they have a small apartment where both of them have to spend most of their time. They cannot handle the home schooling for their children, because they aren't teachers, or they don't have enough money and take that to be a failure. It's not your fault. You aren't to blame for this pandemic. There are already enough problems — no need to add any more.

2. A healthy soul in a healthy body

Even though our sporting options are now limited, there are still things to be done. At least you can go for a walk in the park or in the woods. The same goes for jogging, cycling or roller skating. I am now running practically every day, because it helps me to put my thoughts in order and  above all to be on my own for a while. Even in a small apartment you can do body building. The social networks are now full of programmes for exercising  unaided at home. If you don't want to try anything new then do press-ups, knee-bends or anything else you remember from P.E. lessons. Your body will thank you for it and you'll feel a lot better.

3. Self-development

We ought to be helping others, but we ought not to forget ourselves. Spend at least an hour a day on yourself. You now have the ideal opportunity to make a start on anything you've been putting off for a long time. Do you want to read all those books on the Second World War, start a jigsaw puzzle, learn a foreign language or play the guitar? Go on then! When we're in a bad mood we don't want to get into anything new, but that vicious circle has to be broken eventually.  Make yourself a cup of coffee and take that first step. Order what you need online, read the first page or do an exercise on paper and start checking tasks off one by one. Every task accomplished will fill you with that pleasant feeling that you've achieved something.

4. Be flexible

Nobody likes such changes, but unfortunately our everyday life has changed radically over the last two weeks. No need to swear — it's much better to adapt. You'll find that you can deal with a lot of things from the comfort of your home, even though you used to be sure you had to do everything in person.  Keep an eye on these changes, don't resist them and take them as an opportunity, because every change opens up new horizons for us, though we sometimes do not want to see them.

5. If you can't go outside, go inside

Although at first sight quarantine can look bad, we can easily turn it to our advantage. If you can’t go outside, go inside. Read books, meditate or just chat with those close to you and try to get to know each other better. Even if you have the feeling you already know each other, there’s a lot that we don’t know, particularly deep down. I am convinced that it is communication at this deep level that makes us truly happy. As for those who are close to you who are physically separated, you can see them  online.

6. It's all in your head

Every thought that you focus attention on augments and then literally defines your entire day. If you're not yet able to, learn to think constructively. Lots of people think they're able to, but they're not. I have spent years and years learning to control my thoughts, and I'm still unable to do so half as well as I'd like to. But that is not the issue. it is only human to err. If you start focusing on your thoughts from now on, you'll see the first results within two weeks. I was greatly helped, for example, by Don Miguel Ruiz's  - The Four Agreements . The main thing is don't be angry with yourself when you don't succeed despite all your efforts. What's important is not the number of times you fall down, but the fact that you always get back up on your feet. One basic exercise might be to stop checking on the coronavirus news every five minutes.  All the important news will get through to you, don't worry.

7. Finally the most important thing

Anti-coronavirus measures are basically about isolation. It is totally right and proper to protect yourself and those close to you by limiting contact with those around us, but that does not mean withdrawing into yourself. More than any other time we now have to be open and aware. You may be helped in this by various affirmations. My favourite is this: "I am open and willing to accept all the goodness and love of the universe."  

With all my heart I wish you sound health and a quiet mind in these disquieting times.

The Choice hardcover (English version)

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