For the past couple of months, we’ve had a lot to get our heads around. In addition to the fear of the virus, the confusion about the lockdown rules and the exhaustion of trying to balance working at home with childcare and housework, there’s been one other thing we've been involuntarily thrown into: living in the immediate now.
For those of us who previously thrived on organising social engagements, weekend’s away and constantly researching future travel destinations, this part has been especially tough. We still don’t really know when, or if, our lives will return to the way they were pre-CV and making any real future plans just seems totally impossible.
Whereas it is completely normal to be feeling flat at this time, and like you are living out a real-life version of Groundhog Day, there are things you can do to make yourself feel a bit more positive about living in the here and now….
Try to make each day a little different
Do you feel like every day is pretty identical at the moment? Wake up, home-school your kids, sit at your laptop, make food, eat food, clear away, shower, bed? Well, try to incorporate something a little different into each day to distinguish one day from the other.
For example: on Monday start the day with an early morning bike ride with the kids, on Tuesday make your favourite lunch and eat it outside, on Wednesday Facetime a friend who lives far away, on Thursday learn a new fact about the world and write it down in a notebook, on Friday sign up to an online morning yoga session to begin your day the right way.
These simple activities will feel like small pleasures to break up your routine and will help to stop the days all blurring into one.
Do something nice for your body each day
No matter what your responsibilities are at this time, you need to make time for yourself and do something that really feels good and nurturing for your body and mind - every day! Just ten or fifteen minutes is long enough, and it can be morning, mid-day or evening: whatever works best for you.
Take a warm bath with natural salts, give yourself a hand massage, paint your nails a new colour, put on a home-made face treatment, stretch out your legs in Downward Dog, do some neck and shoulder exercises or light an aromatherapy candle and enjoy some quiet time.
Just make sure you plan this time in – letting the rest of your family or housemates know that you are unavailable. Turn your phone on silent and find a place where you are unlikely to be disturbed. Perhaps plan it for when your kids are allowed their allocation of screen time, or before you turn your laptop back on after lunch.
Practice daily mindfulness and meditation
If you find it hard to not look back at the past or forward to the future, then try adding some daily mindfulness into your everyday life to better appreciate the moment you are living right now.
Eat your food slower – take the time to appreciate the smells and the different tastes and textures and ponder them in your mind as you eat.
Observe your breath – count the length of the inhales and the exhales of each breath and try to make them longer each time. This will help to guide your mind into a sense of temporary meditation, and free your mind of ruminating thoughts or fears.
Really listen – whether it’s your friend on your next Zoom call telling you about her new Rye bread recipe, your Dad on FaceTime boasting about his new fencing skills or your child excitedly explaining just how they created their latest new Batman Lego model in record time – really listen to each word they are saying without allowing your mind to drift off and think about other things. Never interrupt and enjoy the fact that they are proud to be telling you their news with your full attention.
Even though the current climate is worrying and unsettled, we encourage you to use it to pause for a moment, take a deep breath in and out, realise what is important to you and begin good habits that will benefit you form here on…even when we are on the other side of this…..