I’m pretty sure the current global situation was beyond most of our wildest imaginations. I mean sure, we’d all seen films about the world coming to a standstill, we may have even had those ‘imagine if’ conversations after watching Contagion. But, I’m pretty sure this isn’t the 2020 any of us had in mind when we were tanked up singing Auld Lang syne.
It’s pretty hard not to be consumed with the current COVID-19 Pandemic which has drastically changed life as we know it and shut down our versions of normal.
We have been told that the best thing we can do for humankind right now is just stay home and press the re-set button. It is helping the total heroes out there who don’t have the choice and it is absolutely the right thing to do. Now, I don’t know about you, but this sitch is definitely conjuring up some anxious feelings and I would go as far to say it is TOTALLY normal right now if you’re a bit of a panicky Paula and don’t quite know what to do with yourself.
After a week of coming to terms with the escalating situation I’m going to share some bits and bobs that have helped me stay calm and centred at a time when the world as we know it seems to have been flipped upside down.
1) WAKE UP (AND DON’T LOOK AT THE NEWS)
Sounds easy enough right?? Well actually its pretty hard! My routine last week began with me waking up, reading ALLLLLLL the news articles on Coronavirus I could humanly find. I would then check in with Instagram and the 2 million opinions uploaded on the current state of the world and then have an anxious cup of tea whilst I stared at my kitchen wall. NOT COOL.
This was not helpful for me. It wasn’t changing anything I was gonna do with my day and it was making me feel a whole lot more scared and out of control.
At a time where it seems like control is slipping away from us I would encourage everyone to take an hour of peaceful time in the morning where you DON’T look at your phone or the news.
Doing this has made a massive improvement to my happiness levels.
2) WORK OUT EARLY IN THE DAY
Most of us on house arrest have many more free hours in the day at the moment. My work has been suspended for the time being, so I reluctantly have extra time on my paws to play with.
After brekkie I do some Pilates stretches and exercises online – there are thousands on YouTube. Its a gentle way to get the blood pumping around my bod (which incidentally is good for helping to fight the virus). It also injects some much needed happy hormones into my brain to set me up for the rest of the day.
Pilates not your bag? Pretty much every Personal Trainer is being a legend and offering some sort of free online workout right now. Utilise them. Joe Wicks even has PE for the younger cherubs schooling from home out there- Mummas can join in :).
3) BE GRATEFUL
I start the day and end the day by writing down three things I’m grateful for on a post it note and putting it in a jar. Once you start to get into the habit of this you will find thousands and thousands of things that you can write down.
It may be as simple as your morning cup of coffee, which you used to take for granted. The fact you have access to drinking water. Whatever it is you’re feeling grateful for write it down. The more you write down the more grateful you’ll feel – again, another huge mood booster.
I’m mostly grateful right now for all of the amazing people putting their lives on the line to help everyone move through this crazy period in our lives. Hospital workers, supermarket staff and anyone helping the country/world function are absolute heroes.
4) WATCH WILDLIFE FOR A BIT
I really have the strong feeling that this time which many of us are finding extremely challenging is all about re-connecting with nature, the planet, and realising what is important in life. If you have a window or are lucky enough to have outside space try and observe nature more in the next few weeks.
Watch the birds, listen to the sound of the wind. Have a look at Spring popping up right in front of your eyes. It truly is a beautiful world we live in.
I stopped in my tracks yesterday and just watched some flowers for a few minutes. This is the kind of behaviour which would have been nutty a few weeks back. But I just couldn’t stop staring at the beautiful colours and appreciating the gorgeous scent coming from them. This plant has been there a while, but I only really noticed it on my walk yesterday. Have a look around (and get out for a solo walk if you still can) 🙂
I’m also noticing the sky more. I’m grateful for beautiful blue skies which fill my heart with joy, those dreamy sunsets which make you feel warm and safe and the morning sun streaming through my windows.
5) VOLUNTEER (IF YOU’RE ABLE TO AND WHEN YOU’RE READY)
It took me a good couple of weeks to come to terms with this new situation and the limitations which are being asked of us so that we can help slow down this new virus. But now that I am adjusting I feel it’s only right that I offer help to anyone that may be more in need than me.
I posted notes through my neighbours doors, and I’ve emailed my local area neighbourhood group to see if there’s anything I can do to help. And you know what?? It felt so nice. So maybe try it, when you’re ready. We are all in this together (well, actually we always have been, it’s just a shame that it takes events like this to make us fully realise that).
6) TAKE UP A NEW HOBBY (OR GO BACK TO YOUR OLD ONES).
I’m pretty sure that now is a time which we will look back on and reflect on for many years to come. Perhaps push yourself out of your comfort zone learn something new or go back to something you used to love and never got a chance to do as an adult.
I read somewhere that thinking back to your 8 year old self, and what made you happy at that time should give you some clues as to what you really love in life.
For me it was painting, dancing and playing musical instruments. So, I bought some acrylic paints, my plan is to paint a canvas which I can keep forever, to remind me of this time when we had to slow right down. I also dug out my keyboard, I want to try and learn a few songs whilst I have this extra time at my fingertips.
FYI creating something (a painting, a dinner from scratch) is actually very good for your mental health. So do a little something, even if you think its teeny it may help. We have a wealth of information at our finger tips on the internet. Get creative, and try and use it if you can 🙂
7) FACE TIME YOUR FAVES
I would go as far to say that FaceTime wine dates with your friends and family should be considered mandatory at this time. If you’re like me and you’re lucky enough to have the most positive beautiful friends on the planet, now is the time to lean into each other and make stupid jokes together.
We can’t control the situation around us, but we can control who we chat to and how they make us feel. Now is probably the best time to limit contact with naysayers or dramatic Debbies. Get back in touch with Chirpy Caroline and Positive Penny, and never lose touch again.
8) TAKE A BUBBLE BATH
Taking a bath is a good way to relax and let your troubles melt away. In fact I read once that a bubble bath is the equivalent in happy hormones to an intense HIIT workout.
Put something to watch on Netflix, make the bath extra bubbly and soak in the goodness of the tub. Wine and candles optional/availability dependant.
9) LISTEN TO CALMING MUSIC (OR MUSIC THAT CALMS YOU)
I’ve started really appreciating classical music more and more the last few years, but right now it’s my music of choice in the house.
It is so amazing that most of the big composers were alive in the 17-18th centuries. Yet their music speaks to me hundreds of years later at a time when things are changing very rapidly.
Music seems to have more meaning now somehow. I can honestly say I fully appreciate the skill in that now more than ever. So whack up whichever tunes make you feel happy and calm.
NB A little bit of Destiny’s Child whilst dancing around the kitchen is always a good idea too.
10) BUY SOME PLANTS
If you’re not lucky enough to have some already consider filling your home with some plants.
They are an instant mood booster and they require a little attention, a great thing to focus on right now.
I’m considering ordering a couple more to make my home even more green if I can.
11) DON’T COMPARE
Now more than ever it is important that we DON’T compare ourselves to others online and we go easier on ourselves.
People will be going through this transition at different phases, people will also be feeling better on days when you are not an vice versa.
Try and step on social media for the goodness (workouts, people who uplift you and keeping up to date with good news and funny memes). Don’t let it consume you at a time like this.
And if you fancy that Mint Aero or whole Terrys Chocolate Orange eat it!! You were probably lucky enough to find it in the shops in the first place!
12) DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE
If anxiety is creeping in one day or you just feel that the situation is too much don’t forget to breathe slowly. In through the nose for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and breathe out for 7 seconds.
There are also some good meditations on YouTube that you can find. Try some out on days when you feel you need it and even on days when you feel you don’t.
FINALLY, REALISE THAT SITUATIONS ARE TEMPORARY
Nothing remains the same forever, and that is often the beauty in life. This time is a new challenge, and we are facing things that we never imagined would happen.
However, I truly believe that so much good will come from this. We are having to re-learn how we live life. It may be the universes way of intervening at a time when we just didn’t know how to fix everything.
Try and relax as much as you can, realise we can’t control lots of things in life. Look after those immediately around you, give your family and friends multiple virtual hugs and TRUST THE UNIVERSE.
Big Love to every single one of you,
P.s Wash your hands 🙂
N.B I am not a mental health expert, if you feel like your anxiety is overwhelming speak to your GP or a mental health professional.