First of all, let’s just admit that this situation…well…kinda… just sucks. There, we said it. Now that we got that out of the way, we can talk about our reality, the new one where we stand outside of our grocery store for 20-30 minutes waiting just to get in. This is the dreaded line where you watch the person in front of you and behind you, checking to see if they’re sneezing in your direction or have a mask on, or cough.

This, this is when we can choose to give in to our anxiety (yes, it is a choice…wait a minute before you decide to exit out of this read…a point will be made) or calm ourselves down and remain present.

So before I really jump into these solutions, I think it’s important to establish that I’m not just some random lady with extra time on her hands who thought she’d take a stab at writing an article for a paper. I am rather someone who taught herself how to overcome her two brothers’ suicides, yes two, when I was 16 and 17 years old and then went on to finish high school early, put myself through university (shout-out to my McGill alumni), work in corporate and then start my own Keynote Speaking and Management Consulting company, In Her Blazer podcast and the Jeboah Miranda Foundation.

Being hit in the face by two suicides has a way of teaching you how to get up in the morning and achieve what others are achieving while simultaneously forcing you to learn how to manage your anxiety, stress and prevent depression and suicide.

So, while you are standing in that line, the line where social distancing seems to not be working all that well, I urge you to try the following to help yourself cope:

  1. Choose to become present, and when I say present, I mean hyper-aware of what your mind and body are doing. Pay attention to the sounds that you are hearing, the smells that are in the air (hopefully it’s the smell of Spring), how your body is behaving (is your heart racing, are you fidgety, are you becoming hot, etc.);
  1. Choose to practice some deep belly breathing. Allow the oxygen to fill your belly up (instead of your lungs), breathing in fully, and breathing out fully. You can practice this for a couple of minutes or until you feel calmer;
  1. Choose to practice some positive self-talk. Now, hear me out; this isn’t the “I am so beautiful…I am a radiant goddess full of sunshine and flowers” talk, this is real self-talk. This is one of the few chances we get throughout our day to shower ourselves with some self-love and self-acceptance. Choose to lean into this time and either tell yourself what you want to be true, what is currently true, or what will simply make you feel safe.

You can say things like “I am safe, I am in control, I am okay,” etc. Whatever it is, repeat this sequence and spend the precious time you have in that grocery store line or in your home, practicing the words you want to be true, to actually have them become true.

By implementing these 3 things, you will become calmer, feel more in control, and start to enjoy the little things in your life, even from your temporarily confined space. This will pass, you are safe, and you will be okay. Now enjoy that grocery shopping experience and your soon-to-be home cooked meal!

Jeboah Miranda is Keynote Speaker on Mental Toughness (evidence-based coping skills), SMB Branding and SMB Digital Marketing. She runs the Jeboah Miranda Foundation, focused on helping women affected by suicide to get a university education and to learn how to manage their stress and anxiety, and she hosts In Her Blazer podcast for women looking to discuss all things female and all things business – in a very vulnerable way.
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