By Kay Hutchison
For many of us it seems that we are actually now in more uncertain times than we were a few weeks ago. Lockdown may have come upon us all relatively quickly, but its realities were easily understood – we were told we can’t go out, meet that person, visit that store. Unlocking our lives once again is much more complex. It’s all a question of judgement. What should change? By how much? How fast, What milestones? Who decides and on what advice? Who’s checking? Who’s most at risk and, just as importantly, to who’s gain?
It’s all much more divisive, open to all sorts of concerns and agendas and makes us all question who should we trust?
We don’t really know exactly how things will happen – the moods, the shades, the layers of this pandemic environment seem to change with the wind. It’s different in every state and every country – and it’s unlikely to be over very quickly.
So what can you do? Well perhaps one of the practical things we can all do is to at least take responsibility for ourselves and our well-being. In doing so we will not only be helping keep ourselves and our loved ones safe but we will also be helping our community, easing pressure on our first responders and carers, and helping ease our communities back to some sense of normal.
Here are a few things you can – and, for once some good news, they are all positive things…
Keep everything slow and gentle – it’s amazing how quickly this change of gear will change your mood. Eating and drinking mindfully – whatever you eat, whatever you drink (and you know the best is water with some drops of lemon juice, and healthy fruit and vegetables) try to slow it all down. Savor the whole experience, the look of the food on the plate or pouring the liquid into your glass. Note the smell, the taste, the feeling as you begin to chew the food or swirl the liquid around in your mouth. Eat or drink small amounts at a time so that you can enjoy the whole process and really appreciate what you are consuming.
There are great courses to help you do things more mindfully. Try https://www.mndflmeditation.com
Release tension in your body, soften the features of your face, release tension in your jaw, your tongue, your eyes and back of the neck. When anxiety grips us mentally, notice how it makes us tense up physically too. Where are you holding tension in your body? Find it, breathe slowly and deeply into that area and consciously release that tension as you breathe out.
Seek out humour in your life. it’s important to find moments of release and fun, as laughter can be one of the best pick-me-ups, an antidote to the endless parade of scary headlines. A good way to do this is to listen to one of the most profound thinkers of our time who laughs heartily at the human condition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3XYlhymjvA
Keep movingYou need to move as much as you can at this time to keep healthy. It’s not really about exercise, it’s about moving and not staying still in one position for hours at a time. There are even wonderful yoga classes with simple movements – yoga doesn’t need to be overly energetic at this time, it can be slow and quite basic with the focus being on correct alignment of the joints and limbs. There are lots of great on-line courses – one to try is the wonderful relaxed style of ‘Yoga with Adriene’. She even has a beginner 30 day course for at home practice and yoga for any kind of tension release you could imagine. https://youtu.be/aKsu112bzHE
Have a calm and open mind. At this time, feel free to switch off from social media. Everyone is on a heightened level of alertness and not in a good way. There are arguments and disagreements and very strong opinions, even anger being expressed on social media at this time – even between friends. It’s understandable but not helpful. All it does is raise everyone’s temperature and makes us all feel down. So, give yourself a break – feel free to quietly block, unfriend, unfollow or mute notifications. It will lessen the load on your mind and shut out all the noise so that you can think rationally and keep your own quiet views on things that are happening out in the world.
It really does just start with taking a few moments each day to focus on yourself. You really will be grateful that you did.
Kay Hutchison is the author of My Life in 37 Therapies (Red Door publishers). She had a crisis in her life, followed by a period of several years in which she had to make a fresh start to reset both her personal and working life as well as improving her mental and physical wellbeing. She documented this time and her experiences with 37 different therapies in her memoir (out now as an audiobook from Belle Media on Audible or Spotify).