THIS morning I woke to the sun streaming through the window and for a while all was well … until that jittery, anxious feeling welled up – the one that has been bubbling under ever since the word coronavirus entered our vocabulary – and that little demon voice inside your head is telling you, ‘what if…?’

With the virus’s rapid spread, grounded flights, economic fallout, and most importantly for those of us with family overseas – are they OK, when will I see them again and of course the big one, when will normality return – the helplessness that many of us feel is understandable.

So how can we keep ourselves on an even emotional keel in these unpredictable times? 

Jill Hannam has been a Life Coach for many years, originally working with Blue Chip companies in the UK, before moving into private practice. Based near San Pedro, she offers one to one consultations and a Skype service to clients along the Costa del Sol and in the UK. 

Jill Hannam
COACH: Jill Hannam

“All our feelings come from thoughts, if we can identify the thought we can change it, rebrand it, crush it with facts and ultimately feel better,” she says.

“It’s natural to worry, feel anxious and panicky. But worrying pushes you into the future and that is beyond our control. It’s important to be in the here and now.

“During these uncertain times it’s important to look after yourself both physically and mentally, to put yourself first so you are in the best possible state to help others.”

Jill’s five-point plan to stay calm:

Don’t worry – be happy

All of us like a degree of control and in troubled times it’s what we crave and need. Understanding what’s in your control and focussing on that is empowering, comforting and essential. 

If you find yourself worrying about something, the first question you should ask is ‘Is this within my control?’ If it isn’t, then worrying is like putting yourself through it twice, like hitting yourself with a big stick.Worrying will not stop you from getting sick. If anything it will weaken your immune system. 

Follow the advice from the experts in terms of protecting yourself, cleanliness and isolation. Do what is within your control. If someone gets sick, trust your instinct in terms of the severity, seek and follow professional advice like you normally would. Again, look at the facts. The likelihood of getting the disease is still low and the chances of survival are high. Whilst I appreciate the threat of this particular disease is unprecedented, worrying won’t protect you.

Fill the void

Focusing your mind on something that brings you joy leaves less room for overthinking and unhelpful thoughts. 

Work it out

It’s the perfect time to take on a personal keep fit challenge.. Exercise makes us feel good, and you’ll never regret a workout (once it’s done!), it makes us healthy and strong! All good things and all within our control! 

Interact socially

How on earth did people like Anne Frank survive a ‘lockdown’ without technology? Most of us are so lucky to have access to amazing tools to help us communicate with people all over the world! We’ve signed up for an app called ‘Houseparty’ and last night my husband did a ‘pub quiz’ with his mates whilst I caught up with some of my pals in the UK. FaceTime, Whatsapp, Skype… a good old fashioned phone call! Reach out to people who are vulnerable and alone. 

Practice gratitude 

Sit quietly and list the things you are grateful for… the things that make you happy, the people you love. What is it about them that makes you happy? Spend five minutes a day on this.  I promise you that when you are doing this, it is impossible to feel anything other than happiness, joy, optimism and thankfulness. What’s not to love about all those feelings! Sit and do this every time any unhelpful feelings come knocking at your door! For more advice on this, read Jill’s blogs                                                                                              

At this current moment, most of us are healthy; our loved ones are well, and life is fine. So, be grateful for the things that are going well in your life right now and focus on the present – it is a powerful antidote to worrying about the future. 

And let’s remember we are not alone in this.  We are dealing with this as a community, as a country and as one world. Draw strength from your loved ones, and in turn, try to be strong and stay positive for them.

And breathe….

When all is chaos, connect to calm

Headspace – This app is brimming with relaxation and meditation programmes with courses for beginners to more advanced. Download is free and there are plenty of free sessions or you can upgrade to Headspace Plus to unlock more content, priced £4.99 a month with the first 14 days free. Try the Basic course, ten sessions of between 3-10 minutes which are a great introduction to meditation, mindfulness and ‘being in the moment’.There are also programmes for better sleep and stress release workouts.

Finding Hope in Uncertain Times – Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey

A free 21-day meditation course by one of the world’s most respected mind body advocates in collaboration with American media star Oprah. It promises to help you feel less overwhelmed with the world at the moment.Oprah has a velvety voice that’s easy to listen to, while Deepak is calm and reassuring. There’s an app to download or access through your browser.


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