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Stop wondering “What If?” and do this instead

We’re all aware of current situation with coronavirus and having chatted a lot with my friends about this, it dawned on me that I feel differently to some. And I want to share why.

Essentially, I feel calm.

However, this made me question why others were not feeling the same way.

Why were they rushing out to buy 100 rolls of toilet paper every day? Why were they fighting in the aisles at the grocery store? Why were they canceling their travel plans and considering keeping their kids at home?

Why were they taking the measures that I wasn’t moved to take myself?

And it hit me – that the reason they were reacting differently is because they’re scared. They’re fearful.

And who am I to question their feelings?

We’re all dealing with today’s situation in our own personal way – as we, quite rightly, deal with every situation on any given day.

What If? on chalkboard

So, what does staying ‘calm’ mean for me?

Well, it means two things – firstly, I’m ignoring 99% of the internet talk. So much of it isn’t helpful, it’s scare-mongering and much of it is simply rehashing stories over and over to drum up a level of fear that is harmful for society.

Secondly, I don’t go down the “what if?” rabbit-hole.

I just do not see the point in wasting my time and energy on the things that are not in my control. And all those things that the “what if?” questions bring up – well, none of them are in my control. And most might never even happen.

So, I’m just not going there.

How am I staying calm?

Instead, I’m choosing to be peaceful, resourceful and generous. I’m focusing on inner calm and how I can support my community (family, friends, neighbours, others).

When a thought comes into my mind about how this situation might affect me or my family, I ask myself “what then?”.

Then I drill down to a level where I’m comfortable with the outcome.

Let me give you an example – and it may as well be the talking point on everyone’s lips – toilet paper.

We’re all wondering what will happen if we run out of TP – I’ve wondered this too.

Well, “what then?”.

Then – I go to the shops to get more.

What if the shelves are empty – what then?

Then I find somewhere to order it online?

What if there is none? Or what if it’s an astronomical price? What then?

When I can either ask my friends and family if they can help us out – or we can go old school. I have a bag of old sheets and towels I was going to discard – that would be my next step.

What then?

Well, if needs be, we’ll hop into the shower after every trip to the loo.

So, now I don’t need to ask myself “what if?” about the TP situ – because I know the simple steps to deal with that.

I’ve been applying the “what then?” method to any other questions and concerns and in a few minutes, I’m calmly leading myself to any answers and resources that I need.

It’s a simple technique that might not apply to every fear that crosses your mind but it will help with many, as it’s helping me.

I’m choosing to take each day as it comes and face the challenges as I come across them. IF I come across them.

It doesn’t hurt though to have a few solutions up my sleeve, as being organised keeps me calm.

For example:

  • If the schools close – I now know how my kids will be cared for and occupied. I can also lend a hand to other parents who need to go out to work. I work from home and can take in a few kids.
  • We’ve warned people we were due to travel to see next month that we may have to call off those plans. No more guilt or worry, everyone is informed.
  • I’ve audited our pantry, fridge and freezer to see what we already have, before we rush out and overbuy more.
  • I’ve made a list of meals I can make in batches and freeze. So, if we’re isolated at home at any point, we have a stocked pantry and pre-prepared meals.
  • And you now know our emergency TP plan!

No-one holds all of the answers right now but I know scrolling google and social media isn’t going to lead me to any more peace and calm than I can choose to give to myself.

How are you feeling?

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I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.