We are living in strange times…and this is only the beginning. We still don’t know the exact magnitude of the pandemic that has suddenly taken away ‘life as we knew it’. In one fell swoop, many of us are working from home; and sometimes with not much to work on. Our recreational spaces are out of bounds, our interactions have reduced and any plan — short-term or long-term — has come to a grinding halt.
The stock market is volatile… Our wealth is dwindling, our health is held ransom by novel Corona virus and any idea of love and longing is a thing of the past— we cannot hug and kiss, privately or publicly.
COVID-19 has taken away not just our daily routines; it has taken away our very ability to dream…simply because we don’t know just how far ahead we should dream — Will we even make it to April 2020?!
Feeling happy and positive is a difficult task at such daunting times, but the human spirit always believes that ‘this too shall pass’… So we continue doing our bit everyday and hoping that the news the next day may change into something more cheerful.
But, the cheer, my dear readers, will not come from anywhere outside of you. It will only come from within…!
When self-help gurus said, ‘Happiness begins with you’, they probably anticipated such times, when we would be left to our own devices — literally and figuratively — to take it upon ourselves to bring more cheer and meaning into an otherwise gloomy atmosphere.
As you stay put and stay safe, wherever you are, with little control of the external situation, here are some ideas to help you lift your soul and stay resilient in the face of uncertainty, fear, anxiety and even boredom…!
Soak in the sunshine
The sun is a natural sanitiser. Get up early and look out of your window; or, step out of your house door for a few minutes to soak in the sun. While you’re doing this, thank the Lord that you were given another day to see the sunshine!
When you take in your daily dose of the sun, you also feel more positive and energetic. If you know yoga, do a few surya namaskars or sun salutations; a practice that strengthens your muscles, works on your organic health and builds immunity.
Clean up your home/office
Spring cleaning may as well start early. As you sit at home, unable to focus on much, take on some cleaning that you always wanted to do when you were busy working.
Moreover, cleaning is cathartic, as you now mindfully focus on one task and let go of all the non-essentials in your mind and home. Sort out what you need, don’t need and get rid of the excess… Less clutter will help you think more clearly and realise how little you actually need to live.
Take up a hobby
Self-quarantined ,with no work or emails to distract you, you can now give that hobby of yours the hours of practice it needs. From reading to singing or playing an instrument; from gardening to honing your culinary skills; from yoga to any home-based fitness routine; this is the ideal time to devote undivided attention to your hobby.
You could even pick up a new hobby by watching DIY videos on the internet. For those who are more career-oriented, you could up-skill yourself through various online courses… This will help you stay abreast of your career during the forced break.
Research a topic of interest
I’ve often wished I could get plenty of time to just read and research on my areas of interest — uninterrupted hours and days of study, without the stress of client deliverables or other work demands.
Trapped at home, this is the perfect time to pursue research in your subject of interest, rather than constantly look at your phone for Corona virus updates. Of course, you must stay informed about the issue, but have another subject to read about so that you don’t get more consumed and depressed by all the news around you.
Call on people
You can’t meet them personally, but you can definitely make those few phone calls, to ensure everyone still feels connected and less lonely. Do this more for people you haven’t been in touch with lately; like old school mates and ex-work colleagues; or distant relatives who you once spent time with in your growing years.
Send friends and family an email or inbox them on Facebook… Or, simply pick up the phone and call them; and revive those relationships, even if virtually for now.
Have virtual meetings
The internet has now made it easy for us to have face-to-face contact with people we work with remotely. Rather than just making a voice call, use the video conferencing facility and see how people are actually feeling and thinking.
As a leader or team worker, let your colleagues know you care. During these virtual meetings, let people express their concerns about the situation and listen to them patiently and with empathy. Also, as an organisation, be as honest as you can about any changes they should know of.
Regular exercise is the best way to lift your mood and stay healthy. Try a home-based fitness routine, like yoga, jogging on the spot, weight training (if you have some weights at home) or even planks and crunches.
If you don’t know what to do on your own, plenty of fitness websites and apps provide online tutorials. YouTube is filled with videos by fitness experts; follow one that suits you and boost your stamina and energy levels from home.
Eating fresh organic healthy food is the best way to build your immunity and health at such times. Moreover, you are assured hygiene as you are the one preparing the food and eating it.
With more time at home, you can opt for the organic option of anything you consume, like squeezing some oranges for fresh juice, rather than opening a can. For us Indians, it’s also a great time to go back to the way our grandmothers cooked; perhaps grind our own dough or masalas (spices).
Get enough rest
Use the time at home to recharge and get rested. Sleep is definitely restorative and prepares the body to work and fight better. And, the best way to sleep is when the sun is down… So don’t sit up too late looking at your devices or watching TV; instead, try to regulate sleep hours, and rise with the sun.
Also, learn to relax. When there is not much you can do besides rest, enjoy that time too. There is no point worrying about the future, when we need to focus on the present; and, the present is about ensuring our good health…everything else can wait!
Pray, Chant, Meditate
There is strength in prayer — it keeps us hopeful and reinstates our faith in a higher being. It also enables surrender, especially in times when we wonder how much really lies in human hands… (But, of course, those hands you pray with must be washed hundred times a day!)
You can also chant sacred hymns and mantras, or use any other form of meditation- like following your breath; or, focusing on a particular point within you or outside you… Meditation is a great way to calm your nerves; and, feel more strength and resilience to cope during times of crises.
At such times, more than ever, you realise how connected we are as a human race. And, while technology and diseases like COVID-19, often disconnect us and make us feel isolated, it is up to us to reconnect once again — both within ourselves, and with the rest of humankind…
The times of COVID-19 may just be our chance to reconnect with our true selves… To get back to living healthier, fuller and more complete lives; where we are self-sufficient, self-reliant and self-contained, with little need for constant entertainment and stimulation from the outside.
So, stay home, stay safe, stay healthy and stay peaceful!
This article was first published at PinkPinjara
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