The 22nd of March 2020 was one of the most nerve wracking days of my life and I had to take a minute to just sit and process this new reality. What caused this sort of reaction you may ask. Here goes. Well Sunday March 22nd 2020 was the day that Covid 19 finally got confirmed to be on our beautiful nature isle and the sudden drop of this new reality hit our citizens like a ton of bricks. While we knew that this was most likely inevitable we were still holding out hope that we would be spared. It felt almost like the day after hurricane Maria when we woke up and saw the horror of what transpired the night before. Seeing the news of how Covid 19 has caused so much devastation to 1st world countries whose medical systems appear way more equipped than our small island’s, it created a great anxiety and worry. Your mind is flooded with thoughts from ‘how do I keep me and my family safe’, to ‘how should we tell others that we can’t have them visit because we want to be safe, to can we really survive this dreadful virus? It is overwhelming to say the least.
Fast forward a few days in this self isolation/quarantine/curfew and I’ve survived not morphing into a complete ball of anxiety. Thank God!
After the initial shock of this news I decided that I needed to find ways to get on top of this situation and not allow it to kill me. Other than ensuring that my family and myself were kept safe and healthy I concluded that this downtime needed to be worth something, so I focused on finding positive ways to spend my time. Directing my energy toward positive activities would allow me to actually get through this very difficult period with less anxiety and worry and also allow me to make significant progress in several areas of my life.
Below I will share with you 10 tips I came up with to maneuver through this period of pandemic:
According to Joseph Addison, ‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.‘ Just like exercise brings renewed energy, rejuvenation and gets our unused muscles active, so does reading a good book energize our brain. In a period like this when you may be tempted to get lost in thought and your mind wander indulging in a good book or two will allow you to keep your mind steady and keep you grounded. You are more likely to be able to pull yourself back from thoughts of doom and gloom during this really stressful period as it is rather easy to feel down when it appears as if everything that we have known as normal just comes to a screeching halt. Reading can indeed give us a renewed sense of hope and a more positive outlook on life even in the face of crises. Some of my favorite reads include ‘I Am That Girl‘ by Alexis Jones, ‘You Are a Badass’ by Jen Sincero and ‘Girl Boss’ by Sophia Amoruso. There are several other benefits associated with reading but let’s just say today we will remind ourselves of its therapeutic benefit of helping to ease the mind.
By directing your focus and energy into creativity is another way to keep our minds active and prevent us from spending this period of isolation/quarantine worrying about all the unknowns associated with it. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or perfect, it just need to be an activity where you spend your time creating rather than allowing your mind to stray toward negative thoughts. One of the very simple ways you can create is through adult coloring. This activity is said to help reduce stress and anxiety, trains your brain to focus, allows you to be yourself, helps improve fine motor skills and can double as free interior decor. I have used adult coloring to make beautiful creations that I use as wall treatments or desk decor.
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. This is a practice of actively taking care of one’s happiness and overall well-being particularly during stressful periods. Here we are faced with this overwhelmingly difficult crises and many of us are stressed currently. Having to constantly focus on ensuring that we wash our hands, sanitize and disinfect surfaces by the minute is honestly extremely tiresome. It can turn out to be so much pressure. However, taking a moment to breathe, do some yoga, make at home super-food lattes, do some Pilates, give yourself an at home facial or even a pedicure are easy methods of self care that we can implement in our day to day routines which will help ease our minds. Whichever one you feel will help you lift your spirits and maintain a positive mindset is up to you. You can also incorporate healthy eating habits and incorporate healthy antioxidant rich foods like tumeric, ginger and cacao into your diet. Besides what better self care routine can you adopt than to glow from the inside out!
Quality Time with Loved Ones
Spending quality time with loved ones is one of the best ways to help keep your mind engaged and keep the blues away. Isolation can sometimes feel somewhat suffocating but we can all make the best of this period by spending quality time with your loved ones. Use this time to play indoor games such as scrabble or UNO, play games together on gadgets, get hands on together by doing some baking, do some backyard gardening or curl up and read a book together. Spending time with loved ones is a beautiful way to get through this period. Plus it doesn’t hurt to get to know the ones you share a home with a little better.
Work on Long Term Goals
Those goals you’ve been thinking about for the longest while. Those plans you’ve been putting off for years and years. Those ideas that never seem to leave your mind. Yes, those. It’s time to get to work on them. Let’s look at this as something the universe gave you in order to get your visions and goals into action. Whether you use this period to just jot down the a few short term sub-goals that will help you get a few steps closer to achieving your long term goals or put that final piece of the puzzle together this is a period you can take advantage of in order to seal the deal.
Do something that you think will help shift your mindset. Channel your thoughts toward more positive fulfilling ones that will elevate you toward being a more resilient, more progressive and more successful individual. Encourage yourself by incorporating positive self talk into your day to day routine. Positive self talk is extremely important in our quest to becoming better individuals and this is as good a time as any to build ourselves up and become better versions of ourselves.
Listen to Uplifting Music
I’ve found that turning on some good music is good at keeping the blues away and lifting my spirits. Maybe put on some calming music pop your headphones on and include some deep breathing or if you’d prefer turning on some of your best jams and putting your speakers on high volume while you dance. Whatever works for you to help boost your spirits and take your mind away from the doom and gloom of the current situation. As said by Martin Luther, “My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.”
Learn a new skill
Use this time to learn something new. It doesn’t even need to be something big, maybe the simplest thing that you are interested in. Using this time to work on acquiring a skill is one sure way of getting you through this period and keep you in a positive frame of mind. If you’ve ever wanted to do your own goddess braids you can use this time to learn how to do them. Youtube is a good medium for learning almost anything. Besides your new skill might turn into an avenue for a second income and a little more money can’t hurt.
Turn Off the News
One of the greatest mediums of anxiety and worry is the news. While we do need to know what is going on in the world around us we ought to know when it is time to unplug and disconnect from it all. Especially during this period. It is important that you understand how important it is to stay informed but not overwhelmed or over-saturated with negative information which the media spews. I believe that we could even categorize this as self care when we disconnect from the doom and gloom that we get from the media.
Meditate & Pray
In recent times it has become more apparent that prayer and meditation comes with a host health benefits. In tests, people who prayed (meditated) for a minimum of two weeks not only showed reduced stress but they also had a stronger immune system, better sleep, a better heart rate and lower blood pressure. According to Eva Gregory, prayer and meditation helps with stress reduction, improved health, happiness, and better concentration. She also notes that prayer and meditation gives you better control over your thoughts. By bringing prayer and meditation into your life, it’s possible to control your thoughts and stop negative thinking as soon as it happens. This helps keep your mind at peace. Try it yourself to see if you’re able to shift the experience you’re having now from a stressful negative one to an experience that is fulfilling and inspiring. Find a quiet place in your home indoors or outdoors, that will allow you to have some alone time to concentrate and direct your mind and energy toward positive fulfilling thoughts and ideas.
However, if what makes you get through this difficult period is just relaxing all day, then by all means do that and do not allow yourself to feel guilty. We are all dealing with this very unexpected and unfortunate crises. Remind yourself that this is not a competition, neither is it a period to prove anything to anyone. Maybe this is your time to just enjoy the slow pace with yourself and/or your family and just be. Have faith that things will get better because they will.
Love and light!