As days turn into months; this pandemic is leaving a trail of fear, anxiety and helplessness in its path.
The TV screen and remote control are representations of our lives. The buttons on the remote control represent some of our experiences on the screen of our lives. This pandemic stopped (stop button) us in our tracks, we are at home (home button) and our lives have been put on pause (pause button). We were going through life on auto-pilot; really fast (forward button) worried about the future and rehashing the past (backward button).
Some of us are feeling out of control with the many unknowns, anxiety and fear that has taken control of our lives. We need to use our time on pause to take back the remote control of our lives and keep the fear at bay. We have no control over this virus, financial instability, school and business closures, travel bans or other peoples’ responses.
What we do have control over is our emotions, responses, the amount of news and social media we intake daily, staying connected to people and our own physical and mental well-being. Let’s do our part to strengthen the things that we can control. In doing so we can minimize the impact of this pandemic on our lives when we are ready to hit reset and play (play button) on our lives again.
Our personal and work lives have meshed together and some of us have taken on extra responsibilities. These daily reminders will keep us strong and resilient as we navigate through this unprecedented time. We need to take a holistic approach to our wellness and take care of both our physical and mental well-being.
· Eating mindfully and staying hydrated. In the beginning, we had more toilet paper than food. Now we are spending more time in the kitchen and it’s important to remember that since we’re not as active as before we don’t need the excess calories. We need to be conscious of what we eat and also ensure that we stay hydrated. Water helps flush out toxins and provide other essential benefits to our overall function. Fill a water bottle up in the morning and keep it beside you throughout the day.
· Staying active. If you are now working from home, remember to get up and stretch from your chairs regularly. Sitting is now referred to as the new smoking; ensure you take mini-breaks throughout your day. We might not be able to go to the gym but we can make the most of what we have at home. A French restaurant manager who was furloughed from his job took the opportunity to train for his marathon on his 23-foot balcony; get creative.
· Sunshine. We were inside all winter and just when the sun started to come out, we were told to go home and stay inside. Ensure that you’re stepping outside of your home for some sunshine and fresh air; take a walk around the block or sit in your backyard.
· Routine. It feels like Groundhog Day for many; its important to keep routine for yourself and also for children at home. Wake up at a set time, take a shower and get dressed. A simple thing as setting the bed will ensure a productive start to your day.
· Gratitude and prayer. Start the day and end the day with at least one thing you are grateful for. If you can’t think of anything, be thankful that you’re still breathing. Many find it challenging in these moments to be grateful; be grateful for the healthcare and essential services workers that have been keeping our world running for us. Prayer happens in many forms and it’s important that we keep the faith.
· Practice kindness. Be kind to yourself and others. Everyone is dealing with this time differently; be patient and compassionate. Smile and greet someone from a distance; the smallest gesture can make a difference at this time.
· Finding moments of joy. Doing something you enjoy in the form of a hobby or passion is very important right now. Remember when you used to say “if only I had time”; now is that time. Ensure you take time out for yourself to do something that brings you joy.
· Breathing, mindfulness and meditation. When you find yourself anxious; just breathe. Take a deep breath from your abdomen and continue to take these deep breaths to ground yourself. Be mindful by learning to move through each present moment without thoughts of the past or future and without judgement. Our lives have been so busy and now we are struggling because we don’t know how to be alone with ourselves. Dedicate time to sit in silence by disconnecting from the outside and recharge by connecting within.
Recognize that we are all in this together and that we will get through this together. This virus has brought out the realization that we all share the same common denominator; our humanity and interconnectedness. We each experience life differently; let’s make the most of our situation by staying resilient.
Story written by Romila Jeevithan, BA, MBA, RYT.