Focusing on what I can control and how it is helping me stay calm in this time of unrest.
WHAT IS KEEPING ME CALM DAY TO DAY RIGHT NOW
These are things I do at home and have been amping up more over the past weeks. Globally, we are at home and a lot of people are feeling anxious. But there are things we can do to stay calm, things we can control and focus on right now. At this stage, everyone in Australia should be at home unless they are needed for essential services. I hope that as many people are staying inside and practicing physical distancing from others to help reduce transference and infections. It’s so vital now to do our part to help flatten the curve. While we can’t control a lot of what is going on, we can control how we choose to react. It’s our time to lead by example and inspire others to do so too.
Some of my friends have joked that I’m very prepared to stay inside. It’s true. I already work from home and often go days at a time where my only outing is to visit the letterbox. There are days where I only see Mario, my boyfriend and that’s kinda normal for me. So, please consider some of these tips below that make me stay calm in the face of the pandemic and generally allow me to chill at the best of times. I should also say that I can tend to over-worry about little things unless I check myself. So, be sure, I put these into practice regularly to check myself.
GETTING GOOD SLEEP
These are all pretty basic things on my list, sleep being a major one. I’ve been making sure to go to bed earlier than I used to and waking up earlier. Despite my random nightmares (I always get them) I have been able to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep. There have been one or two nights where I’ve needed the extra sleep in the morning, so rather than a 6 am wakeup I sleep in till 8. Sleep builds immunity, helps to keep you focused and productive during the day and helps with recovery after workouts.
Before bed, I drink camomile and lavender tea and spritz a pillow mist with lavender oil to help me relax and nod off. Both have become part of a slow down ritual that tells my body it is time for sleep. If I’m ever feeling anxious, jotting down the thoughts on paper help, as does a little yoga flow or stretch for a few minutes.
Escape into a book and take a break from screen time. Our eyes need a break and so do our minds. I love to mix up fiction and non-fiction books so I have a real mixture of ‘worlds’ to escape into. Biographies allow me to appreciate someone else’s timeline and experiences. I can observe how they overcame low moments as well as celebrated the high.
Often a fiction novel allows me to let go of emotions I am holding in, rather than allow them to build. For example, if I am reading a sad part of a book, I let myself cry if I need to. That release gives me some way to let go of fear, sadness or stress that I have been feeling without breaking down at other times. Essentially, I can listen a lot more objectively and rationally take in the real-life news without getting emotionally upset if I’ve let some of that out already.
CONCENTRATE ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
Rather than work myself into a state crying over my worries for what is going on, what is to come, etc, I find I can take it on and feel more capable of channeling the news updates into a productive way of dealing with it. We can’t control everything right now, but we can control how we react to it.
Weeks ago when I was looking into the Covid-19 situation overseas escalating quickly, I was able to take action and prepare our household with food supplies (without going super crazy), run errands and tie up loose ends which I knew I wouldn’t be likely to do in the weeks to follow. At the moment, I am of course feeling scared, but as prepared as I can be and as such am putting the energy that I would normally waste freaking out to be as positive as possible.
TAKING A SHOWER
Use a nice scrub (I love the coffee scrubs from Frank Body), or uplifting shower gel to either wake you up or soothe you. It’s amazing how much a shower can calm me down. Also, I like to have cold showers or at least finish off a shower with a minute or so of cold water. It feels amazing once you get used to it.
Lately, I’ve been sharing more of my at-home workout warm-ups on my Instagram stories to maybe help encourage people to be motivated at home to workout. As I gave up my gym membership last year in favour of at home or at the local park workouts, I’m pretty used to this and have a solid routine. My mum even said she had never seen me move so much, in reference to those IG stories.
Going for an early or late run as long as you do so when there aren’t many people and you keep away from people is a safer way to get that cardio in. I can see a lot of people sharing on social media that this has helped them stay saner during social isolation. That’s a great way to get some fresh air too.
WHAT I DO TO STAY FIT AT-HOME
I start with a ten-minute cardio warm-up and continue with 45 minutes to 90-minute workouts each day. Yes, I know that is a lot and you can definitely get a lot out of short 28-minute workouts but this is what works for me. I do a lot of videos with youtube channels I love or my own workouts that I’ve jotted into my fitness journal. Personally, I love a mixture of core, cardio, HIIT, pilates, yoga, and boxing workouts.
At home, I have my yoga mat, a few weights, resistance bands, and a pull-up bar. You don’t really need anything other than yourself to show up and do a workout. Most of the exercises are bodyweight training but I also try to go for a run too. Unfortunately, I recently built up my endurance for running only to find my knee has been playing up. Last month my Chiro and remedial masseuse both told me to cool it with the running until it heals so I’ve been missing those. Possibly good timing.
MEDITATION, DEEP BREATHING AND GRATITUDE
Something I can often fall out of practice with is meditation, but I do see how much it gives back. I’ve been trying to commit even ten minutes a day to quiet time for reflection and gratitude and meditation. There are some great apps out there to help with this, Calm, Headspace, Smiling Mind are a few. I’ve just started using the Centr app for meals, workouts and was happy to find a lot of guided meditations on it too. Until the 31st of March, Centr are offering a free six weeks rather than just one, so I jumped on it to give it a try. Please let me know if you have used it and how you went.
Each day I also make sure I’m taking a bit of time out for deep breathing and to write out what I am grateful for. I’ve spoken a lot about my gratitude ritual on the blog before, with a post here on why I have a gratitude buddy and this post on writing out what you are grateful for regularly.
KEEPING ON TASK WITH TO-DO LISTS
Okay, this isn’t a super sexy tip but having a list of goals to achieve keeps me calm. Focusing my attention on getting things done each day has kept me busy. I have less time to just sit and wallow or fret. It may be work-related, home-related or friends and family-related. Having a mix of those tasks on my daily list has been a good distraction. I’ve managed to go through all of my drawers, cupboards, and storage and organise things. I’ve called family, prepped meals in advance and next I’m due to write my cousin’s daughters some letters. You might be like me and really enjoy organising things. Hehe, I love it!
FEEL GOOD THINGS
Whatever these are for you. I am currently loving watching an episode every night of Buffy. It’s so fun to look back over a show that ultimately is my all-time favourite. I am finding I can still quote despite having intentionally not watched it in over a decade.
Be it a show to watch, a movie, dancing to fun music, playing video games, gardening, baking, etc. Doing something fun that makes you feel good is essential to your mental health right now. Subscribe to a new playlist on Spotify or make your own. Follow an artist you love on Instagram (a lot of them are doing live specials at the moment). Link up and play a game online with friends, hold a FaceTime with friends virtual party night, etc. There are still so many options, even if we are all at-home.
Please share with me some of your ideas below. I want to make sure we are checking in with each other.
PLEASE KEEP IN TOUCH AND LET ME KNOW HOW YOU ARE GOING
In these uncertain times, I really want to keep providing you value. To be an inspiring escape from the grim news and keep our spirits high. I appreciate your every visit to Inspiring Wit and your ongoing support. Please let me know by commenting below how you are going. Or if you have any content requests or story ideas you would like me to explore. Let’s stay in touch with one another. If you want any more tips, see some of my recent posts below. Or click over to this one with 5 simple things to do to get yourself back on track and stay positive.