The coronavirus, the exchange rate, the suspension of the activities of a number of organizations due to quarantine are news that are unlikely to calm and give a good mood. In this article we’ll discuss – How not to panic and regain a sense of support in difficult times? What can you do to feel more confident?
Dr. Denis, career consultant, coach and manager of career development projects for a reputed business schools, shared his three-step recommendations on how to stay calm in a world of instability and panic.
Step 1: Detox and Breathe Fresh Air
If possible, it is better to disconnect from the influence that infects you with anxiety and panic. Typically, during times of negative global or national events, media reports quickly trigger a rise in general anxiety, to which emotionally unstable people are immediately connected. Panic rages in corporate and personal chats, in social networking groups, in personal communication with colleagues. At such moments, our destructors emerge, which can destroy careers and relationships, because under the influence of panic, we make the worst decisions.
The faster you can get out of the panic context, the better. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, meditate, exercise – in short, do something to reboot, distract yourself. During detoxification and reboot, the brain is “restarted” in a healthy manner and clarity of mind comes. Professional negotiators-conflictologists have such a concept – “go to the balcony.” It means just a switch of attention, a pause to reboot.
Step 2: Finding External Supports
Think of the calmest, friendliest and most positive people in your environment. Chat with them to “catch” their calm and optimism.
The point is not to completely avoid negative news, but to not focus only on them and continue to notice the good and the bright as well. All this is also still present in our life along with the difficulties and trials that have come. Communication with positive-minded people helps not to slip into fixation on the bad and scary.
The light atmosphere of kind and positive films, TV series, books also helps. Don’t panic by watching or reading dark and apocalyptic stories.
Step 3: Finding Internal Supports
Inner support is a personal mission, a philosophy, a set of values and meanings for which a person works, builds a career and life, and performs current duties. Recharge your main life meanings, look at them as your inner source of strength.
If it seems to you that you don’t have any personal meanings and mission, then it’s time to create them. This is the best support in life in any turbulent period. With her, any resistance is easier to overcome and any panic is experienced.
More About “Detoxification”
Ekaterina, a practicing psychologist and specialist in personal and professional development, explains in more detail that we are now in a situation of emphasized uncertainty.
“I say – underlined, because in fact we are always in a state of uncertainty. Usually our defense mechanisms help us not to notice it, we create the illusion of certainty and stability. And it works well”, she explains. “But now it is no longer possible to create the illusion of certainty – there are too many signs and evidence of its absence, and besides, many distracting opportunities have been lost.”
In a situation of uncertainty, a person’s anxiety increases, this is natural.
“Anxiety is important, it helps a person to navigate, in fact, this is the energy for orientation. The difficulty is that it is very difficult to navigate now. The information received is very contradictory, uncertain and goes in excessive flows”, says Ekaterina.
It is better to limit sources of information – to clean the feed, not to read news from dubious sources, and generally to pick up a phone or open a laptop in one out of ten cases when a hand reaches for it. The hand reaches out to check the news to get certainty and calm down, but instead we get even more uncertainty.
Stopping yourself is difficult, it takes mindfulness, but this is what can really help reduce stress a little now. Ekaterina’s recommendation: you can set yourself a rule: “I watch the news only once every N hours on such and such a channel or portal”. And to agree with each other about mutual assistance at such a stop is to tactfully remind the other that he is now going to watch the news “once more”.
Challenge: Prepare for Further Change
Another way to deal with internal panic is to shift your focus from the present to the future. It is worthwhile to engage in training and development of those skills that are not enough for success in the profession.
In difficult times, investing in yourself, your education is the best investment.
And now, when many online educational platforms have opened access to their courses for free, it is a sin not to take advantage of this opportunity.
Every professional has gaps in areas that should be basic to him, and that’s where he should start. For some HR manager, this may be, for example, an HR analyst, for some lawyer – recent changes in legislation, which there was no time to carefully study everything, for a programmer – deep knowledge of a certain programming language, and so on. And it would also be good to study what will be useful in the profession not now, but in the future.
Be one step ahead, study the market demands, think about what knowledge and skills from your professional field are in short supply now, but will soon be in demand. Learn to do this and give yourself an edge in the competition for jobs. No idea what exactly to start learning? In this case, there is always a universal option: in any incomprehensible situation, it is worth improving English and other foreign languages.
It is also worth purposefully developing networking (connections) and building a personal brand. In the segment of top-level vacancies, there is clearly an employer market, there is high competition between candidates. This means that companies will choose not just from excellent professionals, but from excellent professionals with a name. Without investment (not only financial – temporary) in oneself, it will be extremely difficult to overtake competitors in the conditions of the beginning of turbulence.
Opinion of Peter, Career Consultant
If you have a job, the best position right now is to wait and see. Try to keep track of the situation in your professional industry, even if you are not going to change jobs in times of instability. Is the number of vacancies decreasing or increasing, not changing? This is an indicator of economic health.
Let’s say your company is doing worse and worse, but you see that there are still many vacancies in your field. It means that there is no point in holding on to the current job – apply for vacancies. But keep in mind that finding a job takes a lot of time. Therefore, it is better to start it in advance, do not delay until you are out of work. Is everything quite pessimistic both in the company and in your professional area as a whole? You should not make sudden movements, but you should think about additional sources of income and “plan B” for the worst-case scenario.
What happens to the offered salary level in vacancies? If your income is cut under the pretext of difficult times, and the vacancies of competitors are the same, this is a reason to think.
What about the requirements that employers place on candidates for vacancies? Maybe there are more skills that you do not have? This is a signal that it is time to learn them. This will prepare yourself for the new reality in case you lose your job.
And look for options for additional income. One-off projects or permanent part-time work – all this is important not only as a source of additional income, but also as a “alternate airfield”. Much calmer when he is.
Most importantly, remember that difficult times will definitely end. I wish your health and a balanced attitude to the situation.