Rational vs Irrational Fear

This seems especially apt at the moment given the madness we are seeing with Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the general public response.

Fear is a natural response to a real or perceived threat. It has kept humans alive for centuries and it’s hardwired into us.

At the time of writing we’re about a month or so into dealing with an outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). It is a real threat and absolutely there is a need to be concerned, but how concerned should you be?

If you are over 50 or immunocompromised (have an underlying health condition that means your immune system is weaker) then you are at the highest risk of serious illness or death if you catch it but even then the death rate currently is sitting around 2% (high for sure but not so astronomical that it’s a guaranteed death sentence even if you are in the highest risk group).

One of the biggest and best things you can be doing right now if you are concerned about Coronavirus or another threat in your life is practice mindfulness and owning what is and is not an actual threat to you.

Sounds odd but with all the mass hysteria and stockpiling that is taking place it is fundamental to your own mental and physical health to know what you should and should not worry about.

  1. Are you taking care of your basic hygiene? Washing hands regularly, regular bathing/showering, taking a decent multivitamin.
  2. Do you have enough basic supplies to last for 2-3 weeks if your local government mandates social distancing or isolation – store cupboard food items, frozen food, fresh food, basic medication (painkillers, cold and flu capsules), any perscription medication, basic household cleaning supplies? That does not mean 50 rolls of toilet paper unless you have 100 people living at your house in which case you might want to split up a bit anyway.
  3. Do you have any plans that will involve large crowds of people or being exposed to people currently sick? If yes, what can you do to minimize that? Cancel attending the event or visiting sick people, be extra vigilant about personal hygiene, get plenty of fresh air.
  4. Do you have any planned non-essential travel? If so, take a look at the airline or travel operators website. Many are offering free re-booking of travel or full refunds/vouchers for future travel.

How do you control panic and cope with social isolation?

  • Deep breathing – breathing cannot be underestimated and we are often horrible at doing it because we get lazy. Breathe in through the nose and expand your belly, then breathe out sucking in your belly to fully expel the air. It is great exercise for your abdominal muscles and great at clearing your lungs.
  • Cold showers – perhaps an odd suggestion but cold showers snap you right back into the here and now and they certainly get you breathing – check out Wim Hof otherwise known at the Iceman who made cold showers and ice baths more mainstream.
  • Drink plenty of water, preferably warm water. Warm water helps kill bacteria. Water is essential to keep us healthy. Food we can go without for days, water we absolutely cannot and flushing through any toxins in our system is vital to avoiding getting sick.
  • Go for a walk – fresh air is excellent for clearing your head and giving you much needed daylight. Good thing about this time of year is the weather is improving so it is easy to get out and about for a walk. Just make sure to avoid large crowds of people.
  • Speak to someone – There are many coaches (me included) and therapists who work over the phone or online. Connect with us. We live in world of supporting people with all manner of issues and concerns, particularly during times when people are stressed. I know I am going to be answering emails and doing coaching sessions especially during this time – I work internationally so wherever you are based if you have internet, which you do if you are reading this, then contact me to find out more or book a 30 minute discovery session.
  • Do something that you have been putting off for so long like an online course you’ve been too busy or wrapped up in work to do. You can do it from home and benefit from some social distancing while things calm down a bit. Social distancing has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of Coronavirus and other coughs and colds. This is not the time to be a ‘hero’ and go into work sick.
  • Have FaceTime or Skype parties and connect with people you have not spoken to in a long time. Speaking to friends or family can be great to stop you overthinking. We all need to be supporting each other.
  • Stay off of social media – Social media is toxic at the moment with all the negative news stories especially during a time of panic. Read government websites and research properly. Mass media has reported so much fake news recently it’s hard to determine what is fake and what is real. Places for good information are the World Health Organization, local government (in Canada that is the Center for Disease Control by province, e.g. BC).

Wishing you all a safe and well time. Get in touch if you want additional support.

Get in touch:

Hold Me

There are a lot of formulas out there for the ‘Perfect Relationship’, however, many never even touch on building connection by asking for the most simple thing, to be held.

The request “hold me” asks permission to be allowed to completely surrender to the other person and be utterly vulnerable. It asks permission to take off any armour and melt into the arms of another person.

Can you remember the last time you were just held without words or movement?

Being held taps into all of our fears about being seen, being accepted and being wanted. You can’t rely on skills and techniques you have learned, you just have to be and receive.

That connection is so vital to our mental and physical health. Studies show that hugs provide a stress-buffer and regular hugs help with conflict management in relationships. Some studies also say that hugs cause an increase in oxytocin, which is the bodies feel-good hormone.

I know one thing for sure, I love all hugs – hugs from women, men, girls and boys. It’s good for me and good for them. Let me know if you need a hug sending your direction, I have an unlimited supply.

We all need hugs from time to time!

Anniversaries after Trauma

Whether it is the end of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or the end of a career, loss can mar the day that it happened for a lifetime.

The anniversaries come annually and the pain feels as raw as it did the day it happened; the guilt kicks in and the desire to hide under the covers couldn’t be more palpable.

How do you create a new relationship with that day, especially when those days can be celebrations like holidays or Christmas?

The short answer is, you have got to grieve for the loss. Cry, scream, shout, hurt, feel hopeless, feel guilt and let it all come out. And that’s for all loss, not just the death of a loved one.

The patterns with a career loss and end of a relationship can be very similar to the loss of a life. Sounds almost easy, except it isn’t because we put everything on a comparison stick and beat ourselves over the head with it for hurting when ‘they had it so much worse’ or ‘it could have been worse’. We shame ourselves into trying not to hurt.

The fact is that it sucks whichever way you look at it and your pain is still pain even if someone else has experienced comparatively more.

When you really process the loss it gives space to bring new meaning into the day other than sadness. It doesn’t mean you forget the person, the job or the relationship, it just means there is an opportunity to experience something new and exciting on that day.

My Journey with Grief

For 28 years that day has been Valentine’s Day. The day my Dad was killed. Ever since he was killed (I was 3), each year Valentine’s has been sad and I have not wanted to celebrate it. I would celebrate either before Valentine’s Day or after but never on the day. 

Yesterday, was the first time I wanted to celebrate it on the day, to be all mushy, to be held and be loved up. It felt great and while I know it’s still the anniversary of my dad’s death, it wasn’t my only focus of the day.

You can have the same experience of being able to enjoy the day that you experienced loss again because being able to feel love and happiness on a day that for so long was tainted by loss and hurt is life-changing and gives back breath where you feel suffocated.

Are you ready to experience happiness on an anniversary day instead of sadness?

To book a free 30 minutes discovery session with me, fill out the form here.

or drop me an email at philiphickscoaching@outlook.com