I am accustomed to being at home for extended periods of time before the Covid lockdown. Over the past 18 months due to political and social unrest, there were many long periods of time when we were forced to stay home on lockdown. I have learned that being at home is not such a terrible thing and have found many ways to keep busy every day doing things which bring me great satisfaction. Undoubtedly there are days where there is a deep mourning for our lost freedom of movement and our lives prior to the pandemic. The fact of the matter is that we are confined for a period, whether we like it or not, therefore we must find ways to make our daily living agreeable and filled with purpose. Hopefully, the sacrifices of this period of confinement will ultimately yield a flattening of the Covid-19 curve and we can in due time resume our mobility and our lives beyond the home.
The key to getting through this time and maintaining our sanity is to find things to do everyday which will shift our mindset and create a headspace of calm and productivity. Often in times of crisis we can become too focused on social media and the news on the radio and television. Do not fall into this web! The constant media bombardment of numbers and reports are dizzying and fraught with fake news and half truths. Try to not let this dominate your time as it creates incredible anxiety and stress. Here are a few tips which I have found useful in getting through these times.
1 Listen to good music
I find that music is such an important part of my daily process. I love all kinds of styles so my playlists can range from Pop, Classical, Jazz, R & B, Caribbean & Latin. Music in the background adds color and positive vibes to your mood. The rhythms and sounds transform your mood and create a more positive state of mind. With so many music platforms out there like Spotify, Amazon, Tidal or Apple, there is no shortage of good music at your fingertips. Why not make a few playlists and put some of your favorite tunes old and new together. You will find that music is definitely a huge mood transformer and will make your days less stressful .
We all need to eat. Some of us may be more accustomed to everyday cooking than others. Now is the perfect time to fine tune your cooking skills and try new recipes. Why not challenge yourself to learn a few new techniques like bread making or tasty ways to use some of those canned goods and pasta or the veggies and fruit you may have stocked up. Make soups stocks with meat and vegetables, try new noodle dishes or whip up a fruit crumble with the apples or berries that are in your refrigerator. Banana or zucchini breads are great for snacks and you know that someone is always in the prowl for something to eat in your kitchen. Make a batch of cookies and freeze half of the dough to bake later on, so that they are fresh when you need them. It’s so satisfying to have a good homemade meal which you make so that you can control the sodium, fat and sugar content. You may even discover that inner chef you had no idea existed.
3 Be creative
Even if you don’t consider yourself creative or artistic, pick up pencils and paper and draw or journal. You might really surprise yourself that you are better than you think. Remember that practice makes perfect. If you like to paint or always wanted to try, get some art paper or canvas and watercolors or acrylics and do a still life. I love to use colored pencils and have been working on my watercolors as well. There are so many amazing YouTube tutorials which give great tips and guidelines. You can even sort out your photos on your phone or in albums and categorize them. I love quilting and sewing so I can never be bored. There’s always something I can work on from my stash of fabrics and scraps. It really is so satisfying to work on something where you are the author or the creative mind behind it all.
Once upon a time, reading was what a great deal of people did for pleasure and relaxation. As a child, I could hardly get my hands on enough reading material. I went to the library every week and borrowed lots of wonderful books which I went through at an incredible rate. There were no real distractions back then as there are today. Now our hand held devices and phones are the be all and end all of life. Try reading again. It really does make you relax and delve into the pages of another world. It is also wonderful to turn the pages of real books instead of just flipping through images on a screen. I am however thankful to digital books as I can download them instantly. Kindle is also a format where I have quite a big collection of books stored today. Whatever you prefer whether digital or hard copy; now is the perfect time to read novels again.
If you are lucky enough to be able to meditate then you have already found a great secret to living. Meditation is a huge stress reliever and can help reduce the high levels of anxiety caused by everyday life as well as mental and physical stress. Find a quiet place and sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes… breathe naturally… focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. You can practice mindfulness or concentration techniques which are meant to help reduce anxiety, lower your heart rate, help stress and promote deeper relaxation.
6 Appreciate and interact with nature
Your garden is a great place to focus some energy. Being among the trees and flowers can really be a positive mood changer. I spend some time everyday in my garden just watering plants, looking for new buds and absorbing positive energy. It’s the perfect time to clean up your pots or beds and even freshen up your plants a bit by trimming them down or repotting. If you live in an apartment or do not have a green space, try going to an outdoor space to breathe some fresh air and feel the sun’s rays everyday. Even a few potted indoor plants are wonderful to have at home and to keep us feeling the love and energy of nature.
7 Do some spring cleaning
There is no time like the present to do this. You are at home and have been putting off cleaning up those cupboards. Organize your pantry and dishes. Take a few hours to go through your clothing and shoes and organize them. Remove clothing that you haven’t worn in a couple of years. Sort out clothes and toys your kids no longer want. It’s just crazy how we can accumulate things which we will not use. It actually feels really good to tidy up our stuff and to remove the clutter of our lives. There are so many people and organizations who can channel these things to those who need them most.
8 Incorporate an exercise routine or work out:
Our bodies are accustomed to movement and regular activity. Now that we have been on lockdown for several weeks, we have most definitely reduced our movements and physical activity. Try maintaining a daily physical routine or workout. We don’t have to go to a gym for this and again there are so many cardio and exercise videos online which do not require equipment. Just 15 minutes of exercise will do our body some good.
9 Check in on loved ones via phone, skype or whatsapp:
This is a very important one as communication is such a life line in times of isolation. Reach out to family and friends to see how they are doing. It doesn’t have to be long conversations if you’d prefer to be brief, but it does show that you care. Let the grandkids chat with their grandparents. There is so much love shared simply by seeing what the kids are up to or hearing their voices. Check in on friends who are alone. Loneliness is such a depressive thing and going weeks without much human contact borders on deep sadness. Remember that no man is an island and we all need some human contact, even if it’s virtual these days.
10 Learn something new
Listen to a good podcast, catch up on some movies or teach yourself something new. There are so many great podcasts available. I listen to several different types as I sew or cook. There are so many topics to explore such as history, spiritualism, comedy, current affairs, science, wellness, TED talks to name a few. They definitely help pass the time and often are enlightening and thought provoking.
One great thing about the internet is that there are tutorials and lessons online for free. You can choose something which inspires you and give it a go. Learn a new language, do a free class from some universities or companies that are offering them now such as new management skills or even photography. There is a world of information out there at your fingertips.
Use this time to your advantage and enjoy spending these moments with your family; if you are lucky enough to have them with you. In addition to this, there are definitely many productive and fun things which we can do everyday at home. You may be surprised how much you can learn during this period as you adapt to a new normal and hone into your creativity and wellness while stuck at home. Make the moments count!
Stay safe and well.