Well guys, there’s no other way to describe the current state of affairs other than by saying it’s a pretty weird time. I’m speaking personally but am also fairly confident in knowing these feelings are shared by many when I say that I’m a bit scared, apprehensive and anxious in these uncertain times. But the thing is, history has shown that in these precarious and scary times, the only right thing to do really is to come together (even if we do that apart at home right now), stay positive and do what we can with what we have to keep moving forward.
I don’t want to diminish the severity of what’s happening right now by only focusing on the light, but I don’t think I’m the right person to be consistently sharing the hard-hitting news about COVID-19 right now – there are a lot of experts you can source and follow right now to stay informed about that. What I can do though is to continue to share content that hopefully uplifts, informs and empowers. I once said to one of my best friends (who’s a doctor) that sometimes I feel like my work is a bit pointless when I look at what she’s doing (literally saving lives, delivering babies, etc) and she reminded me that people need the light stuff, the travel guides, the style tips, etc too. While I’ve never had more appreciation for the bravery and skill that health care providers like her have, I’m trying to remind myself to still do what I do and contribute in the way that I know best moving forward, so please know that my stories in the coming weeks have the intention of hopefully being a positive read, if it’s travel-related it’s to allow for fantasizing and planning of future travels, etc.
I wanted to quickly share some ways to not only stay positive, but to maybe actually have a really productive period of self-quarantine (which hopefully we’re all doing) during the next little while. It might seem a bit flippant to be talking about positivity or productivity in the face of a pandemic that’s affecting people’s health, the economy, our healthcare system and at its worst, ending too many people’s lives too soon, so again, please know I’m sharing this with a lot of respect for this current situation while also trying to uplift because there is no sense in surrendering to negativity either. I hope this helps, and if it does, please feel free to share it with someone who might need to read it right now!
Not only with your usual crew, but with people you haven’t connected with in awhile. Your grandparents, your aunts/uncles, your cousins, your old school friends who you haven’t chatted with in forever, a previous work colleague who you miss, an old mentor or boss, etc. My WhatsApp group with my best friends has never been more lit and I’m in constant contact with my family. I gave my nana a ring (she usually doesn’t like talking on the phone that much because she’s pretty deaf) just to check in on her because she’s at a care facility getting really rocked right now by COVID-19 – it was really good to talk to her, albeit briefly. This is actually a wonderful time to expand your usual network of daily check-ins and particularly if you have a friend or family member who you know has a history with anxiety or depression, please check in and let them know they have someone to lean on.
This one’s a bit dependent on where you are in the world and what the current advisories/restrictions are, but if you can and can do so without coming in contact with anyone, get outside, get some sunshine, get fresh air in your lungs. I’ve stopped going to our gym for the time being (even though they’re really great about cleaning, just not a risk I want to take right now) and my little brother and I spent all weekend dragging some weights and resistance bands outside and getting a good workout in. If it’s safe, a walk will do you a world of good right now. Matt and I try to get two big walks in a day – has been a mental health game changer for me. Again, I know this might not be an option for everyone right now, but if you can it’ll help!
I’m not actually a neat freak by nature but while I don’t come by it naturally, I’ve really tried over the years to get our place in order and eliminate a lot of what we don’t need. We’ve made such huge improvements already over the last couple of years (this post shows one project!) but want to keep tackling everything room by room. There’s something extremely meditative about cleaning, particularly when it’s this kind of grand clearing of a space. I find when I’m anxious and my mind is going 24/7 (as it is for so many of us right now) the physical act of cleaning, organizing and tidying can be incredibly therapeutic.
To quote Elle Woods: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” It’s really as simple as that. MOVE!!! It’ll make you feel better and calmer mentally, it’ll bolster your immune system, it’ll help you work out any little kinks or aches you might have from hanging around home more. There are so many amazing apps that offer free trials (which hopefully is all we need, though if you love it you can continue on if this intense period of quarantining persists), and of course YouTube and IG is a treasure trove of free workouts. I love Lauren Gores for her workouts (and she shared some free trials in this post too for different apps), Yoga by Adriene is a go-to for yoga, etc. I work with a trainer so have a bunch of programs she’s done for me that I just modify to do without weights right now – have been going outside or to the park mostly but all doable from home too!
Take Care of Yourself
A pretty broad recommendation I know but seriously, do whatever you can to take care of yourself right now. Drink a lot of water, meditate, focus on gratitude with whatever practice works for you (simply reflecting on it or journalling), talk to loved ones about your anxieties/worries (or a healthcare provider if you can connect virtually), give yourself facials, take a bath, stretch, reframe negative thoughts, if you’re home with your partner take time to put the phones away and connect, etc. Write out what self-care looks like to you (because it’s really going to be nuanced and personal for each of us) and try to incorporate at least one element every day. If you can manage it with your work and other responsibilities, let yourself indulge in a nap a day if that’s something you don’t normally do! Seriously, just identify and then incorporate the things that make you feel good right now. They’ll inevitably not only brighten your mood, but keep you healthier too. Finally, if you haven’t tried loving-kindness meditation, I feel like this would be the time to do it – it’s a really powerful practice, especially right now.
If you have neighbours or loved ones who can’t grocery shop right now and you’re able to, offer to help. If you can, donate both physical goods and funds to those in need who are struggling right now. Share something positive with your friends or social network. People need the good right now and not only does it feel good to be able to consume these moments of lightness or to be the benefactor of a good deed, but it feels good to give them too. Support your favourite small businesses. If you’re watching spending right now (which isn’t a bad idea) and don’t want to shop too much, at least like and share their social postings and show support from afar. Just try to be a vehicle for good right now in whatever way you can.
You know that financial tips book you got 50 pages into and then deserted? That knitting project you really wanted to commit to? Those yellowing house plants that are just about at the point-of-no-return? Whether it’s something creative, something admin oriented that you’ve been putting off, something challenging (like finishing a huge ass classic you’ve never gotten through – my suggestion would be my personal fave East of Eden!) this is a great time to challenge yourself to something new, something exciting, something that can benefit you, etc! My personal project is to become more financially literate – I have a few books I’ve been meaning to read and I really want to grow over this next little period and feel more empowered in this area of my life.
I hope you guys stay safe & healthy, and also stay positive through this. If you’re newly working from home right now, please check out last week’s tips on working from home happily & productively!