I'm there, and I barely left my house before this pandemic. Not that I'm a recluse, although my husband might say otherwise. I am a writer, however, which means long hours in front of a laptop in my home office.
Still, before Corona I was able to leave when I needed. It doesn't matter where to—doctors, grocery store, meeting friends, getting my hair done, getting Botox. Gah! When can I get more Botox!?!
Likewise, my college student son could live his life instead of being stuck at home. My high school student son could hang out with his friends at their houses.
Now, we're in each other's faces day in and day out—not that it’s a bad thing. I remember wishing to see them more just before this all started. Wish granted!
The first couple of weeks weren’t so bad. Lots of pool time, movies, cooking, and games together. Now, we all want to return to our old lives. Now, more than ever, we need coping skills to help us get through.
On a personal note, I have medical issues that have me under strict house arrest. Two of my illnesses are an auto immune disease, and severe allergies, which knock my immune system down even more. My allergist found me quite extraordinary.
"I've never seen this before," she said. "You're allergic to everything except for shellfish and peanuts."
Yes, it's fun being me. But back to coping. If you are struggling as I am and most of the world, I'm sure, I have some helpful tips.
You had to know I would say that.
While there are many benefits to reading: improve memory, general knowledge, expands vocabulary, improves focus and concentration, boosts sleep, etc. The most important ones right now would be reduces stress and promotes mental health.
My favorite thing about reading is it removes you from the present and puts you in a different world. Choose what world you want to visit and enjoy the magic that comes with reading!
Breathing is powerful and FREE! You all know how I love free! You can choose from multiple techniques. Breathing slowly. Inhaling three deep breaths. Closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing for a certain amount of time. Practicing yoga breathing. Setting an alarm and reminding yourself to breathe deeply throughout the day.
Try it now. Take three deep breathes.
Do you cringe at the word? Here's a thought. Instead of thinking about strenuous or high-impact exercise, consider a simpler approach. Going for a walk.
The outing might turn into a longer walk than anticipated, as is often the case with me. You're still getting in steps. You're still burning calories. And, your body is still releasing endorphins.
If you walk outside, you get the added benefits of nature. If you can't walk outside, consider lapping your house or going up and down the stairs a few times. If you get bored with walking invoke your inner child and skip. When was the last time you did that?
There are other ways to get exercise, too. Cleaning, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, laundry. What better time to catch up on these calorie burning activities?
Dancing is a great workout! Crank up your favorite song and dance like nobody is watching. Or if you're like me, do it when everyone is watching. #noshame. Be silly, laugh, and have fun!
Exercise doesn't have to be overwhelming. Plus, the more you do it, no matter how small you start out, the more likely you are to continue. You'll also get better at it—meaning in the future, you might want to try that high-impact YouTube workout, run, or bike ride.
This can be as simple as lighting a favorite candle, melting scented wax, or using essential oils.
Aromatherapy can help in many ways. Boost immunity, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and promote digestion depending on the oil.
A favorite scent can promote relaxation and deep breathing. So light that favorite candle, heat up a baking sheet sprinkled with cinnamon for a homemade pie effect, melt that scented wax, or diffuse some peppermint, lemon, and lavender oil, and BREATHE it in.
Watch a funny movie. Read a funny book. Search funny videos, memes, or stories on your phone. Remember a funny time, or tell a funny story. Whatever makes you laugh, do it!
Laugh until your stomach hurts and you can't breathe. Laugh with all your body and soul. Laugh so hard and loud you snort. Bonus—laughing burns calories. It's a win, win.
Listen to music
Soothing music will relax you, obviously. But your favorite music or song can help ease your worries by occupying your mind and placing you in the moment. It might even provoke you to dance.
Practicing mindfulness and being in the moment.
My favorite way to do this is by focusing on my breathing and focusing on the five basic senses. I inhale a deep breath and say or think what I hear, see, smell, taste, and touch.
Ex. I smell the lavender and gelato candle on my desk. I feel the furry seat of my chair. I see sunlight outside my window and my husband bringing in the trashcans. lol. I hear the rolling of the wheels as he drags them up the driveway and the humming of the fan from the air conditioning unit. I taste the mint gum I'm chewing.
*A study showed people who chew gum have a greater sense of well-being and lower stress.*
You may have to stop and place yourself in the moment by using your senses several times a day. The important thing is that you try to and reap the benefits. Five minutes of peace throughout the day would be worth the effort, wouldn't you agree?
The alternative is living in the past, which you cannot change, or worrying about the future, which can steal all your energy and keep you from the very peace of living in the present.
Peace of mind is a choice.
This post was long. Sorry about that. My goal is to help in any way, if only by distracting you from the present for a few minutes. Take care. Be safe. Find a coping skill that works for you. Pass your tips along. You never know who they might help.
Better days are to come!