As the Coronavirus takes a grip on us all, we almost seem to be living in a different world to when I last wrote just a few short weeks ago. My husband now works from home, my youngest daughter no longer attends college, and I’m unable to visit my mother in her care home as it goes into lockdown to try and preserve the lives of those most vulnerable. And understandably most of us are worried and somewhat anxious about the future.
I think, on the whole, I’m quite a positive person. I like to keep busy and have a plan. Working out in my mind how to tackle things and what might be the best way forward. So during the day I have no time for my fears and am proactive at blocking them. But in the dead of night, when all the house is asleep my mind goes into overdrive with all the concerns that I’d been subconsciously avoiding. So nights can be long and restless. I try to not just sit there for hours letting my thoughts get away with me by listening to podcasts which generally soothe me and I usually drift back to sleep. But last night I dreamt so vividly that I was walking along a beach and this most powerful force of the wind, literally picked me up and just drove me through the air with such force, that I had no control, I could physically feel my legs being swept away and that dreadful weightlessness as I was lifted clear off the ground. A feeling of helplessness and no control over what was happening to me. I guess it wouldn’t take much to work out such a dream but it left me with a tight anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach.
But on the bright side, during this long night, I listened to one of my favourite podcasts “Happier with Gretchen Rubin”. Who had recently uploaded a podcast called 'How to stay happier and calmer in difficult times'. It’s well worth a listen and I took a lot from it that was positive. Many of us set goals each new year and some may have set 19 for 2019 and 20 for 2020 etc. So I loved the suggestion of setting 19 goals to help us survive Covid 19. Things that we can do when we may have more time on our hands than we used to as we practice social distancing and prolonged periods of isolation. As a lover of a good list, this appealed to my nature and led me to think of things I could achieve at this time, to somehow put a more positive spin on it.
The possibilities are endless. For me, I’d like to plant a garden, grow my own herbs, make cheese using a gift that I was given for Christmas, start sprouting, organise the shed and the attic, take this opportunity to learn something new online, write a diary and finally make a start on researching my family history. Anything to keep busy, active and productive!
It’s also going to be so important to keep physically fit in whatever way we can. I guess it would be beneficial right from the beginning to establish good routines and pack in as much physical activity as we can. Obviously, for those lucky enough to have any type of home gym equipment, we can dust them off and I’m sure they’ll come into their own. But there are also so many great YouTube channels that require no equipment at all. Two favourites of mine that I’ve been using daily for months are Lucy Wyndham-Read and Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone. And with the weather supposed to be improving over the weekend, some fresh air and much-needed sunshine ( even if it’s only in the garden ) will do much to cheer us up.
For me, limiting the amount of news I listen to will definitely benefit my mental health. If I listen just once a day to keep informed but not overly worried, I’m hoping to strike a good balance. And perhaps it’s not good to bottle things up, however inadvertently. It has been suggested that we allow ourselves a little time to worry during the day when we can reason and manage such thoughts so that they don’t come back to haunt us at night.
It’s going to be challenging to practise social distancing without becoming insular and trying to still be part of the bigger picture. Now more than ever we’ll need to reach out and make those connections, and still find a way to make a difference. I guess we’ll need to follow those thoughts, bits of inspiration, that will lead us to do good and continue to see good! Perhaps now would be the perfect time to keep a Gratitude Journal and focus our minds on the positive!
In future weeks we’ll have to find new ways of staying connected. Although keeping a safe distance is advisable for many, a smile can travel far.
Gretchen Rubin finished her podcast with a couple of really positive quotes. As quotes are the business of “Enough Already “ I thought they’d be good to share:
As Chris Evans is campaigning on his breakfast show: Can we as a nation become stronger and more united after this virus? And as individuals will we have the time to look inwardly at the depths we didn’t know we had?
As always we are ENOUGH!
Stay safe everybody x