The world as we know it is swiftly changing in ways we cannot imagine – thank you Coronavirus. Many countries with high risk populations have gone into complete lockdown, leaving residents with complex questions to consider. What is the balance between personal freedom and our obligation to the collective? How will we continue to feed our families when billons of people have lost their jobs globally? And how do we not only survive, but thrive and reveal the best part of our characters in this catastrophe?
Here are ten interesting ways to not only survive, but also thrive, in lockdown.
1.Start the day with quiet time or meditation
At the beginning of this chaos, I found myself constantly checking social media and the news, leaving me in an unsettled mental state.A big shift occurred when I committed to wake thirty minutes earlier than usual and do a meditation.I love the Hemi-Sync app and Binaural Beats on You Tube or Soundcloud.To anchor in the feeling of wellbeing, write a gratitude list or use an app such as Bliss which helps guide the mind towards what is working, and positive in life.
2.Establish a routine
Elizabeth Gilbert gave great advice for working from home – “Get dressed.Make your bed.I repeat – get dressed and make your bed.”The same applies for living in lockdown.A routine helps create structure and motivation.Within that structure, we know what to expect and we gain a sense of safety.It can also help us stay productive, rather than reeling from everyone jostling for space and time between four walls.Write down the routine in a paper diary or on a phone calendar app and refer to it during the day.
3.Exercise every day
In full lockdown, it is not allowed to walk or jog outside.Although this law was a big shock for our family, we have been enjoying the creativity required to come up with new ways to get moving.We created a running/kids biking lap track around the house.We set up an outdoor cross fit gym.We are attending yoga and dance classes via Zoom.Everyone is in this together, and people worldwide are offering the most incredible ways to stay fit online.
4.Allocate time for creativity
Children and adults thrive when creativity is nurtured.Throughout history, extraordinary inventions emerged from time spent in self-isolation.Creativity is a commitment.Put time aside (when structuring your routine as per point #2) to be alone and allow your right brain to flourish.Write without edits, paint without boundaries, dance without choreography, style and photograph your lounge – whatever your thing, now is the time to discover and nurture the creative brain.
5. Create boundaries around work
For those still working, it is very helpful to establish fixed hours and a fixed space within which to work remotely. This helps the rest of the household understand when they can and cannot engage. Once the workday is over, put the laptop away and try to be totally present to your family members – particularly the children. Otherwise, the children act up because they haven’t seen you and want the attention, it gets irritating, and becomes difficult to focus on work anyhow.
6. Do something enriching every day
Lockdown presents an ideal opportunity for self-discovery. If we know what makes us “tick,” it’s easier to prioritize those actions and activities. Rather than simply marking time until lockdown is over, maybe consider creating space in the day to do something (indoors) which really sets your heart on fire. Learn a new skill online, take a dance class, plant a veggie garden, cook amazing food, start writing that book – whatever you have been putting off, now is the time to do it.
7. Put the cell phone away for a few hours every day
The world is in a dramatic state of chaos, and the unfolding events will change all of our lives forever. It is so easy to get caught up in the drama of it all, and to feel the need to read all the latest news reports on COVID19. However, this onslaught of global news – conveniently delivered to your cell phone – causes an ongoing feeling of psychological distress. With a little bit of discipline, it is possible to put the phone away in a safe place and just be present to what is right here, right now.
8. Connect with friends
Social isolation can easily lead to feelings of profound loneliness, particularly for those living on their own. We crave social outings, the easy flow of face-to-face conversations, and the warmth of touch. There is no real substitute for this yearning for personal interaction, but online platforms such as ZOOM and House Party at least offer a way to bring friends together from all over the world to have virtual conversations. I have connected with the most amazing people all over the globe during this time, and as a result I’ve experienced lockdown as being incredibly inspiring.
9. Prioritize health and immunity
Let’s see a show of hands for everyone who drank too much in the first week of lockdown? I would have to put my hand up for that one, and I’m not even an enthusiastic drinker. It just became this bizarre coping mechanism at the end of a day dealing with the surreal dramas unfolding before me. After that first week, I realized the blessing in all of this is that we will all be forced to prioritize our health – physical, mental, and emotional. There are amazing resources for immune boosting foods, and most shops are still open providing Vitamin C, Zinc, and Echinacea as well as probiotics for super powering immunity. Cook beautiful foods, light the candles, savour food with gratitude, and make health a top priority right now.
10. Have a COVID game plan in place, then let it go
There are so many things in this situation that we cannot control, yet there are practicalities we can put in place to keep ourselves safe. It would be a good idea to program all the emergency numbers into your phone. Make sure you know the protocols to follow if you do get a flu, and when you are advised to get tested for COVID19. Reach out to community members to ask if they can help you procure food in the event that you get sick and need to go into strict self-quarantine. If you are vulnerable to this type of illness, reach out and ask for help getting everything you need delivered to your home. Once your ‘action plan’ is in place, just let it go. You don’t need to action that plan until you get sick.
There is an inextricable link between the body, the mind, and the emotions. In the process of learning to thrive in lockdown, you take your power back. You take responsibility for your own health and wellbeing (on all levels) as well as your role in containing the virus. Well done for being that person!