These are uncertain times.
In this coronavirus world, work patterns are changing.
There is lots of sensible advice out there:
avoid unnecessary travel;
meet virtually rather than face-to-face;
and work from home as much as possible.
But this is the practical side of it.
The coronavirus situation can have an impact on your mindset - especially if you have underlying anxiety issues.
(And an unhealthy mindset can exacerbate your chances of illness.)
There are actions you can take to foster a positive mindset, to help you achieve as much as possible in this difficult context.
1. Avoid catastrophic thinking
This is the type of thinking where, every time you step in a boat, you think you’re going to drown: your brain skips to the worst possible outcome and assumes that’s going to happen to you.
I’m no medical expert, but it is evidently true (on the basis of current data) that not everyone that catches coronavirus will die, or even have severe symptoms. And that's if you catch it at all.
So don’t let your brain go there!
Instead, focus on thoughts and feelings of gratitude that you have your health NOW.
You have no idea what’s going to happen next, so keep focussed on the present.
If necessary, use a mantra, “I am grateful that I am healthy now.”
As the saying goes, “worry casts a long shadow”.
Don’t let your brain focus on the worry and actually create a problem for yourself in stress and anxiety.
2. Avoid news overload
It is understandable to want to know the facts - but remember the news industry is primarily interested in selling its product, news.
This means it is (often) in their interests to produce sensationalist or scare-mongering news items - and to produce updates frequently.
So the best approach is to ration yourself.
Yes, you need to know what’s going on.
But you don’t need to refresh 15 news website every 15 minutes.
So maybe choose one source you consider authoritative, and choose to update yourself once or twice a day.
And apart from that, focus on all the other exciting and wonderful things you have in your life, whether, work, family or even just some quality rubbish TV (without any mention of the coronavirus).
You can choose to balance the input into your brain, so that it is not 100% worrying news.
And that will have a positive impact on your mindset.
3. Support your immune system through positive visualisations
There is evidence from studies of cancer patients that the ones that combined positive visualisation with medical interventions had better outcomes than the ones that just had the medical interventions.
The visualisations were of a healthy immune system fighting off the cancer cells, in whatever way worked for that person:
piranha fish nibbling at the cells,
soldiers fighting them,
or sheep nibbling at overgrown cells (because cancer is when cells reproduce too much).
You could do something similar, but visualising a healthy immune system working powerfully and effectively, ready to serve you should you need it.
Using these positive visualisations could not only have a beneficial impact on your immune system, but will also give your brain something constructive to focus on, instead of nebulous worry.
The thing that makes the biggest difference to my mindset is getting enough sleep.
So don’t stay away late at night reading the latest developments around the world!
Instead, support your mindset and wellbeing by sticking to a healthy sleep routine, reducing unnecessary stress, and feeding yourself nutritious food.
It’s all the usual stuff, but it works!
Finally, don’t forget the power of deep breathing: it not only calms you but brings oxygen around the body, helping it function optimally.
Box breathing is my favourite: breathe in for four, hold for four, out for four, hold for four. And repeat a few times.
It is instantly calming, activating your parasympathetic nervous system to bring your body to a neutral, calm, resting state.
Maybe it's time for a (relevant) reapplication of the overused WW2 saying: keep calm and carry on.
Good luck, and stay healthy!
p.s. as I am lucky enough to work online, my coaching will continue.