As many of us are ‘staying in’ with the constant threat of Corona Virus, this is a time for checking in with ourselves and others. ‘Social distancing’ doesn’t have to mean social isolation or loneliness. It can be a time for re-connecting, to reflect and take stock, and for being kind to others — and ourselves. As you drop your usual frantic To-Do list, consider checking off these tips for self care and consideration for others…
▢ STOCK UP ON SUNSHINE — BOOST YOUR
The power of the sun is amazing for body and soul and just like juicy vitamin C, this natural superpower can strengthen immune systems. Eg: here.
If you can, get outside and charge up with a big dose of sunny Vitamin D.
Notice at what time and where the sun starts to shine brightest from the heavens, even if it’s through your window.
Another byproduct… you might just feel a ray of hope.
▢ MOVE YOUR BODY
Take a walk in a park, woods, countryside or beach — keep your body strong. (but keep your distance from others).
Stretch. Make a time to exercise together with friends online (eg. a google hangout).
Take a pilates or yoga class online. Cycle. Dance. Get your endorphins flowing. Have a workout with that overdue housework and supercharge your spring cleaning!
▢ STOCK UP ON SELF CARE
Self care is where it all starts.
Caring for our own health is instrumental in caring and looking out for others. Even some ‘me time’ is doing your bit to help. Do all you can to calm yourself, be gentle and kind to yourself. See health as holistic.
Build up your reserves of positive energy. Strengthen your mindset. Be mindful that self isolation can lead to anxiety and victim mode. (And remember stress is not good for the immune system). So build mental muscle. Turn fear into action. See this as an opportunity to build self worth, self discipline & self restraint. Rise to the challenge — you can do it!
Foster faith. Empower yourself. Think Wonder Woman warrior (or your favorite superhero). At the same time, learn to surrender trying to control everything. Let go of what needs to be released.
Nurture your body. Evaluate your diet — do you need to start making healthier choices? Get creative, research new and old recipes (like Grandma’s best). Hold a ‘cook along’ together with friends online.
Listen to positive speakers. Read positive books. Enlighten Yourself. Research history — learn how other societies and individuals got though challenging times.
Try soothing APPS. Listen to uplifting music. Watch heroic films. Journal. Quiet your mind. Meditate. Find stillness. Get into the ’gratitude’ groove. Explore your inner world. Tune into your intuition.
If you feel cabin fever, or home is a lonely place, use your imagination and mind’s eye to transport yourself to your ‘happy place’/ healing place.
(Or search for videos and livestreams like this couple taking a virtual cruise: https://bit.ly/2xG72o2 ).
This is a chance to get reacquainted with yourself. Get to know yourself from the inside out. Tune into your heart. Listen to your own heartbeat. Listen to your inner voice.
Slowing down is good for your soul. Here’s how one over-worked business man and artist learned to flip the script and start taking his time. The benefits included: feeling younger!…[VIDEO]:The Fountain of Youth
▢ HAVE A HUG FROM MOTHER NATURE
Breathe. Keep your lungs strong, sturdy and clean.
Breathe in the fresh morning air. Purify and protect your airways.
Hug a tree.
Sit down and let your back and spine feel supported by a strong tree trunk. Feel held and enlightened by a wise old oak tree, or whatever grows near you.
(Whilst going through a big break up and some serious uncertainty, I used to lean against the old Oak Tree above. This tree literally ‘had my back’ when no one else was around. It was something solid I could rely on every morning. It worked wonders and was the ultimate ‘back up’ when I was literally down on my knees).
Lay on the grass. Get grounded. Draw on the strength of Mother Nature. Make this outing a daily routine — something to look forward to.
Lean on Mother Nature whenever and where ever you can. Let her soothe your soul. Let her support you as a back up system.
▢ HUG YOUR FAMILY (or pet)
If you’re at home with family, aim to use this time to reconnect with your loved ones.
Have deep meaningful conversations. Work on your listening skills. And if things get tricky in close quarters, find light relief in humor. Pull out a funny meme or movie to change the energy in the room.
In between extra hugs, stick to a routine for the kids — come up with a creative schedule together. Have group hugs — and create your own pep rally.
If living on your own, give and receive virtual hugs. Consider fostering a companion pet from a shelter.
▢ USE THIS TIME TO REFLECT & PLAN
If or when alone, see this retreat as some ‘Enlighten Me — Time’.
This is your chance to stop and reflect, and see the big picture. Take stock of your values, priorities and choices.
Think about what you might do differently in future. What do you really need? What really matters?
Use this time to think about climate change and lifestyle. How might you cut your carbon footprint?
How might you become more self sufficient? Consider growing your own food. If you don’t have a garden, then look for your nearest community garden, or ask a neighbor if you can use a patch of their soil. Make a plan to share and swap produce. (Bartering also saves money!).
Plant seeds now.
Where can you cut back? Research where the products you normally buy originate from. How might you start to buy more locally produced goods? Could you or someone you know set up a business to become a domestic manufacturer or producer and help cut down on imports? How can you support more local businesses?
How might you think global and act local in other ways?
How might you collaborate and share resources with friends, family and neighbors?
What would you like to change? What’s working ? What isn’t really working? Are you living in the right place? Do you need to nurture relationships to foster more support, community and real connection? Research and discover amazing new people in your community.
Look for the silver lining — how might this ‘down time’ be a positive turning point?
Think about how you can step up and be a part of the solution, now and in the future.
▢ REACH OUT … SPREAD KINDNESS
We might not be able to touch one another right now,
but we can still touch each others’ hearts.
Stay connected. Don’t let distance come between you.
Lend a hand. (Even if that’s making online orders for others).
Lend an ear. (Practice empathy).
Join or start a ‘meet up group’ that holds remote gatherings.
Instant message, pick up the phone or video conference to stay in touch with friends and family. Don’t put it off. Don’t just think about it, take action. Everyone will feel better for it.
If you need help, say so. Check in on others. Share feelings and daily life.
Remind others they’re not alone in their experience. Gain a sense of purpose from looking out for others.
This is the time to use our head and our heart. Look after yourself and the world around you. The two go hand in hand.
‘Social distancing’, which is purely physical, doesn’t need to become social isolation or loneliness.
After all, we’re all in this together. You’re not alone. And we’re only human.
If you’re able, lift others up in a positive, loving and practical way,
Look for solutions to help reduce other people’s worries.
Be a light in the darkness. Share your wisdom, laughter and warmth.
We all have a role to play. We all have different strengths. And we can all hold on to HOPE.
Recognize when-and-how to put the ‘WE’ before the ‘Me’ …(and the ‘Me’ into the ‘We’). To take some responsibility for others, and for our part.
At this time of being mindful of what we’re transmitting (including ‘social contagion’), commit to SPREADING LOVE. Be a carrier of kindness. Be a carrier of compassion. Spread courtesy and respect for others. Spread Hope. And watch the ripple effects. We have the power to change the trajectory of our path. Whatever catches on, is down to us. The outcome lies in our hands. Literally.
Consider how you can be kind to others and kind to the earth, but don’t forget to be kind to yourself — and check in.
Just a few ideas and tips I’ve found useful during a lot of time in solitude in the English countryside, and as a global traveler; surviving at great distances from friends and family!
n.b For informational and inspirational purposes only. Not medical advice.
All photos except “hug your family” © Myfanwy Marshall-Blackwell