It’s all a bit nuts, really, isn’t it? Most of us have never lived through something this collectively crazy. Millions of angelic souls have to soldier on, heading out to work everyday as usual, just with a significant side of risk of bringing home this cryptic virus. Some (myself included) are home bound, heading into yet another week of self isolation. With financial fears gripping tens of millions of us, its no wonder things may seem a little tense.
But we at the Bright Side are as ever focused on just that-the bright side. Here are 5 tried and true ways to help you not just survive this time of fear and uncertainty, but to actually thrive through it:-
1. Plant Healthy Routines
It’s all too easy to slip into bad habits, especially if you don’t have work or school the next day to keep you accountable. Alcohol sales in the US have increased by 55% since the corona outbreak. This is staggering, considering in my natively dubbed ‘Binge-Britain’ that figure comes in at 22%.
So write down a skeletal routine for yourself during home time. Set your alarm if you’re morning person to maximize the most productive time of day, or write a list of a few must-do’s everyday that you know serve you. For instance, commit to some form of exercise, meditation, a creative pursuit, goal or journaling. Having a routine gives you purpose and will keep you accountable to that all important person, yourself.
2. Keep a Calm and Clean Environment
We can’t control what’s going on out there just now, but we can do our bit to help by staying home as much as possible. A messy, cluttered home produces a messy, cluttered mind. Although it might be challenging to keep your home clean with everybody in it, do the best you can. Make your bed, keep surfaces clear and ensure your home is somewhere that inspires you, not frustrates you. Better still, if you have the time, Spring Clean. All you’ll need to do is start cleaning out one drawer, and the feel-goods you’ll get from this one organized space will inspire you to move to the next drawer. Undergo some home projects too, sprucing up the garden or online shopping to redecorate a room. Channel your energy into your environment.
3. Be Mindful of What you Feed your Mind
I watched Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ too, after hearing the hype. After about one episode I knew it wasn’t my thing, but I was hooked. It left me, quite literally, with nightmares and a heavy feeling of sadness. I was reminded of a valuable lesson-be so careful about what you feed your mind. We are sentient beings and what we watch affects our thoughts, which in turn can either perfume of pollute our feelings. Our feelings are creative, they manifest our behaviors and reality.
Watch a diet of comedy, of shows that make your heart soar, read self-help books and audios as you clean your home, delve into the teaching of your favorite mentors and spiritual teachers. We are so incredibly blessed to have internet access and the ability to learn anything we want, largely for free. It’s an astounding luxury. Call or Facetime old friends too, reconnect with extended family; see this time of hibernation as an opportunity to reach out virtually to those loved-ones you’ve been meaning to for so long.
4. Practice Gratitude
“A hundred times a day
I remind myself
That my inner and outer life
Depend on the labors of other people,
Living and dead,
And that I must exert myself
In order to give
In the full measure I have received
And am still receiving.”
I find this quote one of the most powerful motivators to promote a gratitude practice. In times of darkness, finding things that you’re grateful for becomes even more vital for mental wellbeing. Remember, mental as well as physical wellbeing boosts your body’s immunity and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and your body’s ability to relax and reduce stress and tension.
You can create any kind of gratitude routine. Every morning I journal 10 things I’m grateful for and I really try and pick on simple pleasures and bring in gratitude for experiences that are non-tangible or materialistic. For example, you can thank the Universe for your breath, the sound of the birds chirping or the sun coming up everyday. Our family also has a dinnertime gratitude tradition. Each of us names 3 gifts the day has given us. We really try and enmesh in the feelings of thankfulness. It also keeps the energy around our food sacred and positive and I believe this in turn affects how our body interacts with the food we consume.
5. The D-word, Discipline
Discipline leads to freedom. This may seem like a dichotomy, but it’s true. I think our connotations of the word ‘discipline’ are often associated with our old schooldays or work or someone else asserting dominance over our life, despite our will. When we exert self-discipline, it’s a completely different flavor, with completely different results. To do or achieve anything of value, discipline has to be part of the formula. For many of us currently out of work or the structure of school, we are in danger of free-falling into an array of self-sabotaging habits unless we love ourselves enough to say ‘No! This doesn’t serve me, it may feel good in the moment, but I’ll regret it later.’ If you’re struggling to apply discipline around food or alcohol or sleep or whatever it might be, know that there are a myriad of services online to help you. Whatever you may be struggling with, you are not alone.
Stay safe, Bright Siders, stay present, stay connected to nature and to loved-ones. We’ll get through this. This too shall pass. And we will be better, stronger and healthier for it, both as individuals and as a collective. If you can see this as an opportunity, you will move into expansion and be open to see and receive the silver linings in this unique time in human history.
You’ve got this.
Photo credit: freestock.org from Pexel