Our lives were changed in an instant when the pandemic COVID-19 hit the world. Young or old, single or married, working or jobless – nobody was spared. Without a cure or vaccine yet in sight and the weeks of isolation in our homes stretching longer than we ever imagined, it is only natural that so many are experiencing feelings of fear and unease.
The idea of “home” has changed for us in varying degrees, from being a safe place or refuge for some to a prison for others. Our normal routines have shifted and work is no longer at the core of our day to day lives. Instead, there is a focus on fear – fears of a shortage of food, of financial resources, of our jobs, of our safety, and most importantly, our health. But is there anything we can truly do? How can we make things better and make life less fearful and anxious?
Below are some simple ways to do just that.
1. Know that THIS IS NOT PERMANENT. It will pass in time.
Don’t count down the days to the end of lockdown. Instead, count the days that have passed – each day that you have had with a healthy mind, body, and soul. By focusing on this, you fill your mind and heart with gratitude. Gratitude in knowing that every day is a blessing and an opportunity to enjoy life.
Limit your time watching the news and thinking of facts that may be upsetting. Listen to the radio, cut down screen time. This is also a great time for family bonding. Take this opportunity to enjoy time together with your family. Use it to reconnect and develop a deeper relationship with one another. Remember that this time of togetherness will come to an end eventually.
2. Challenge yourself. Do something you always wanted to do.
Think of an activity that you always wanted to do or learn, but never had the time to do so. In lockdown you finally do. Cook, get fit, enhance your creativity, develop new skills, study a new language or instrument….the choices are endless.
Exercise has many benefits at this time. According to research conducted by David Linden of John Hopkins University, “Exercise has a dramatic anti-anxiety effect to human mind & feelings”. Start with light body movements, and develop a comfortable exercise routine. Through regular exercise the body and mind benefit as stress levels decrease, lowering levels of anxiety and feelings of isolation.
Physical activity also increases the release of endorphins, releasing other chemicals that stimulate a positive mood, in addition to dopamine, adrenaline, and serotonin. Incorporate yoga or dancing to your exercise routine if you can. These are some of the best stress relievers. They develop breathing and mindfulness, resulting in good sleeping habits.
3. Develop a routine that will give you the feeling of fulfillment at the end of the day.
Pre-lockdown, our bodies were used to work, our minds full of duties and challenges at the workplace or at school. At the end of a full day, although maybe tired, we had a feeling that we had contributed something worthwhile.
During this quarantine, it is important to develop tasks or projects that will enhance your sense of worth at the end of each day. Some simple tasks, for example, could be organizing important documents, re-arranging your home workspace, or just tidying your home.
Creating a daily routine that works for you is a good investment in yourself. Monitoring small accomplishments can help each day go by with a feeling of achievement. This strategy helps you keep going when you feel like giving up.
Tynan, author of Super Human by Habit said, “Habits are actions that you take on a repeated basis with little or no required effort or thought.” This daily routine develops a discipline on building priorities, removes the attitude of delaying tactics, allows you to monitor goals, and trains your mind to have this feeling of self-worth.
4. Use technology and social media to connect with friends & family.
This is the best time to reach out to family members and friends, who no doubt are in the same boat as us wherever they are in the world. Our hectic lives have all slowed down and re-connecting with our loved ones gives us the opportunity to share this unusual experience with those we trust and love, which will, in turn, will decrease our own anxieties.
This post was written by Romi Roque, FOM of The Farm at San Benito, a top health and wellness resort in the Philippines.