At a time of both international and personal crisis, it is likely that your emotional challenges will also be heightened. Anxiety around wellbeing, health, childcare, financials and loved ones will be more acute than ever before, and many of your usual coping mechanisms – time, space, sleep, exercise – won’t be available to you. From meditation and mindful walking to breathing techniques and managing your social media, we share some of the best ways to still that panicked feeling, and get back to calm and rational.


The benefits of meditation have been extolled from everyone from World Leaders and CEOs to the Dalai Lama, and with the world in crisis now is an excellent time to start, think of it as giving your mind a short holiday from the noise and anxiety. If you’re new to meditation there are a lot of apps to help you get started (we love Headspace), or simply try the following steps:

  • Sit comfortably on a chair or on a cushion on the floor in a quiet room.
  • Set a timer for 5 minutes (no longer to begin with), and gradually increase this to 10 minutes, then 20.
  • Close your eyes and breath through your nose with your mouth closed and follow your breath as it moves in, then out, focusing on the rise and the fall of your belly.
  • When you notice your mind wandering – and it will – simply bring it gently back to the breath and the movement of your belly. Don’t judge yourself or your thoughts, just keep bringing it back to the breath.

Go for a long walk
If you can, take a long walk outside – the more green the environment, the better – being surrounded by nature is has been proven to have a calming effect on the brain, breaking negative thought patterns, while reducing blood pressure, heart rate, stress hormones and muscle tension.

Box breath
When we’re stressed, our breath can go shallow, spiking our cortisol levels and putting us into fight or flight response without us realising. To calm yourself down, try the box-breath technique – stand still or sit comfortably and breath in for a slow count of 4 seconds, then hold it for 4 seconds, then breath out for a slow count of 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds, then repeat.

If you have a garden or some plants then now is the time to spend some time with them. Gardening reminds us of our connection to nature, and helps us focus on the bigger picture, which can alleviate symptoms of depression and provide a moment of calm focus for your busy mind. Gardening decreases cortisol levels, taking stress levels down. Meanwhile, indoor plants have been proven to reduce dust and improve air quality by up to 20% while the sight of fresh flowers and plants can lift your mood – and your families – immeasurably.

Find the joy in smaller things
Painting with your child, cleaning out your bookshelves, finally getting to the end of that series you’ve been meaning to watch. As our worlds shrink to just our immediate homes, there is joy to be found in smaller things that we are usually too busy to take in.

Call a friend for a catch up
If you’re someone for whom time is a luxury (and that’s all of us at Kintsugi), then consider yourself rich beyond your wildest dreams at the moment. Use the time to speak with all those old schoolfriends and people you’ve been meaning to catch up with – maintaining human connection is vital for our wellbeing and you might just make their day too!

Do something for someone else
Helping others is a great way to increase feelings of positivity and calm anxious thoughts.  Can you go to the shops for an elderly neighbour, write a long letter to a relative you don’t see very often or can you phone a friend who lives alone to check in?

Keep things in proportion
With alarming headlines at every turn, it can be hard to keep a clear head so do reassure yourself with hard facts rather than opinions. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of people who catch the Covid-19 virus will recover fully and quickly, of course it is serious and there are vulnerable people who need to be protected, but the facts are not as frightening as they might first appear.

Limit social media
A double edged sword at the best of times, we will need to be exceptionally careful with how we consume social media during this time. Follow trusted sources of information and avoid getting drawn into debates or arguments, it will only add to feelings of frustration. Instead spend time checking in with friends, looking at positive accounts and things that make you happy, unfollow anything that leaves you feeling anxious, angry or is simply not serving you well. Self-care is key right now.

Focus on the positives
While this may seem glib, there are actually some silver linings to come out of this crisis. With air and car travel diminished, pollution levels have fallen all over the world with one Stanford University expert, Marshall Burke, arguing that between 50,000 and 75,000 premature deaths have been prevented already, simply due to cleaner air across the US alone, while China has seen a huge drop in greenhouse emissions. Time, usually so precious, is now freely available to spend with the people we love the most – use it to connect with your family and friends, near and far. Perhaps we can all hope to come out of this enforced period of rest with a new set of priorities, realising just how much we really need, and more importantly, what we can live without.

Give yourself a break
Don’t panic if you panic, it’s normal and everyone is simply trying to find their way through. Give yourself a break if it all starts to feel a bit much, go outside and take some long deep box breaths. We’re all in this together.



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