Hello everybody! Welcome to my blog.
Here in Sydney we happen to be still in lockdown, and it’ll probably go for another couple of weeks.
Last week, I shared a post related to the lockdown and I wanted to keep going with this
Today, I’ll give you some ideas to cope with this situation.
First, a disclaimer: As you know, I am not a psychologist. If you have serious problems because of the pandemic, the best you can do is visiting a specialist.
- Stop ruminating. We are all worried about the situation, and we will be worried and there’s probably nothing we can do to change that, but we can learn how to cope with these worries. Don’t let them govern your life.
Meditation and mindfulness may help with this. It’s not easy, and it requires a lot of practice, but it’s key to set the worries aside and get busy with your life. Not only in times of COVID, but in general.
You can use apps like Headspace or watch the series on Netflix “Guide to Meditation” that this same company created. You can get some tips or even use the episodes. At the end of each episode, there is a 5-10’ guided meditation. They also created “Unwind your mind”, you can find it on Netflix as well. It’s an interactive series that provides you with a good meditation depending on how you feel that day.
The benefits of meditation have been studied scientifically for the last couple of decades, but for thousands of years, it has been used as a way to cure and prevent certain illnesses.
Nonetheless, you don’t need to stay on the lotus position for one hour to meditate. When you do your everyday activities (cleaning the house, doing the laundry, cooking, watering the plants or eating) you can practice mindfulness by simply focusing your attention on what you are doing. Instead of start thinking about what’s next or all the things you want to do in your day, just focus on the action you are making: the colour and smell of the ingredients you’re using, the texture of the clothes you’re hanging, the sound of the water.
- Get a routine. This will give you a little bit of structure and a purpose.
Starting from waking up and going to sleep at the same time and having the same lunchtimes.
For some people, their only purpose is work. And when we’re in a lockdown, some people stop working, or work from home. All of a sudden, the whole routine they’re used to follow falls apart.
I am a very big fan of lists, diaries, schedules and everything that has something to do with organisation. These are very useful tolls to survive our busy lives. I learnt how to organise my days when I was 8, and it became very useful later when I was in high school and I wanted to study, do athletics, go swimming and go to my piano and dance lessons. As a young adult, I had to cope with work, studies and training. I still had time to socialise, and all thanks to the power of organisation.
You don’t need to be an organisation nerd like me. All you need is a pen and a schedule, diary, notebook or whatever you want to use. Make a list of all the things you want to get done that day. Every single person will have a different list of things, there’s no one size fits everyone here.
Now, you have to highlight those that are urgent and important, in order to prioritise them. Sometimes, you’ll need help, especially when there are kids on the mix. This is a problematic situation. We women tend to take responsibility of the children, and sometimes there’s no other option (single mums, parents in different countries because of COVID) but most of the time we have someone else. Dads of the world, you need to take responsibility. Your careers are not more important than your wives’ and your kids are as much yours as hers. The same happens when it comes to look after the house. There has to be a compromise between the household. Everyone has to take responsibility, always according to their age if there are kids implicated. But this is a subject for another post.
Once you know your priorities (and you must include time for yourself), find a moment in your schedule for each of them. Again, this schedule will look very different from one person to another. Here is my “COVID/surgery recovery” schedule for any other Monday.
Don’t feel bad if one day you don’t get to finish all the things you planned to. Simply move them to the next day.
- Find time for you. Remember that you are the only person you’ll be with for ever.
It can be reading a book, drawing, playing an instrument, going for a walk, exercise, cooking, gardening, having a spa time. It can be anything you enjoy doing.
Nowadays, people don’t look after themselves. Some would even say that finding time for oneself is selfish. I have heard mums saying that they don’t spend any time in the morning looking after their skin because it’s time they’re not looking after the kids, the house or their partners. This is shocking.
I was raised in a pretty traditional context. My dad would go to work and my mum would take care of the house and the three kids. I never saw her looking after herself, finding time to do whatever she wanted. She was so dedicated to us that she lost the purpose of selfcare. She was told that she needed to do everything and more for her kids.
Now, she’s divorced, and her kids are all grownups. One of them is living in the other side of the planet. She doesn’t even remember what she liked before she got married and had kids. This has shown me that no matter how much you love and want to look after your kids, one day they will grow and leave, and you’ll be with yourself again.
I don’t have kids, but hopefully I will one day, and I really want to take this lesson with me.
If you find it really hard to find time for you, start with 10’ every day. Following number 2 and having your schedule, it’ll be much easier to find those moments. Just to give you an idea, 20’ reading your favourite book or going for a walk are more important than finishing the laundry.
- Do some sort of physical activity. If you’re used to do exercise, don’t give up on it, and if you have never done exercise, this is the perfect moment to start. On my post “13 reasons why you should do exercise”, you can find some benefits of doing exercise:
In this other post, I shared a little routine that you can do at home with very cheap material you can get in any sports warehouse:
It’s important to stay active always, but it can play a key role during lockdown and these times of uncertainty. When exercising, we release certain hormones that keeps us positive, happy and with a feeling of wellbeing. It can also be a getaway from your worries, a good practice of mindfulness.
- Socialise. Even though we can’t visit, we still can socialise. If you live with someone, it’s time to bond with them. COVID can drive families insane or make them realise how important it is to have a family. It depends on you how you want to take it. Share stories from when you were a little kid, learn something together, find things in common, organise the days in a way that everyone has time for themselves and time with the rest of the household.
If you live by yourself, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, number 3 is going to be very easy for you. Call your beloveds and friends, stay in touch, and call for help if you really need to. We humans are social creatures, we need the community one way or another.
However, the overuse of the phone can become unhealthy. The more time we spend scrolling down on social media, the bigger the feeling of loneliness. To avoid spending too long on social media, set a timer for the different apps. Your phone will send you an alert when you pass the time. If you have followed number 2, you’ll have some time sorted for social media or phone usage. Make sure you don’t overuse your phone, especially before going to sleep. In this post, I gave you some ideas to stay away from the phone before going to sleep:
That’s all for today. I hope these ideas help you to cope with the current situation. Take the lockdown as an opportunity to start some good new habits and bring them with you once it’s finished!
See you next week!