Updated: Jan 18
It does not matter how old you are, where you live or your job title. It does not matter (at least not as much as we think) whether you are alone or with your family, surrounded by nature or in a city, working or job hunting, spending your day in your PJs or dressed for success.
The truth is, we are all going through difficult times. Is like we were forced into a Vipassana Meditation retreat or have enrolled in Self-development Master, even if we've never considered ourselves as spiritual. Welcome to Corona times, the era of mass-production content, virtual wellbeing gurus and where online dating and working from home along with 'how to make your own sourdough starter' are the most trending words on the planet.
Who has never felt the pressure to attend a Yoga class just because 'it is great for you'? Who has never done this or that diet, in the hopes of feeling a new person? Who has never read that self-aid book that was going to change life forever? These realities were always here.
[ Are you still with me? Good. For those who do not know me, I am the 'spiritual person' that does loads of self-care rituals and practises daily - think of Yoga, meditation, journaling, positive affirmations, cooking. And yet, I am still struggling to make any sense out of all this madness. ]
These are difficult times for everyone. So today I would love to share with you what I've learnt in the past two months, during the lockdown here in Lisbon. Even if you are new to the Wellbeing and Mental Health industries, I am sure you are aware of the importance of keeping our minds as healthy as our bodies during these times. However, and with so much content being produced - I mean, how many Zoom meditation classes can you?, it is easy to get wrapped up in the FOMO loop and get disconnected of our own selves, to what we really need.
Who has never felt the pressure to attend a Yoga class just because 'it is great for you'? Who has never done this or that diet, in the hopes of feeling a new person? Who has never read that self-aid book that was going to change a life forever? The truth is, these realities were always there. The danger is, they are now magnified by the lock-down, isolation, fear and boredom. We've all been there. Being locked-down is not easy so here are my top tips to lift yourself when struggle hits the day.
1.I am bored. What do I do now?
Eat more chocolate? Watch another series on Netflix? Clean the house for the 11th time this week? Maybe going for a walk or, wait, I'll just scroll down on Social Media one more time. Whichever is your reaction, try to identify the trigger for boredom. Is that you need a break from your desk? Maybe you're pushing yourself too much? Maybe you are frustrated about something? Once you've identified it, write it down. At the end of a couple of weeks, you will have a list of boredom triggers. Then you can start addressing them. Eg: I need ta break from work so, instead of refreshing Instagram one more time, I will stand up, stretch myself and drink a glass of water.
2. I feel lost, need experts help - even though I don't know this person and this person does not know me.
Another common emotion is feeling lost. Some of us may have lost our jobs, had to cancel our plans, or spend to much time in isolation. With some extra time left, this is certainly the best time to re-visit our old-patterns, thoughts and believes, even when not invited to the party. Let me explain it. Fear from the past may be triggered, impostor syndrome may be boosted, having the extra need for external validation. It is great to read an article on how to support yourself, however, we should be mindful of sources. There were never this many gurus out there, but what do they know about you? In case of doubt, always speak with a qualified expert.
3. Be conscious of whom you reach out to
This leads us to tip 3. Different needs require different people to meet. For instance, if you are feeling sad, who is your go-to person? That person you can express your soul out with, without judgment? We all have different friends, acquaintances and even family members that will do the purpose better than others. Personally, I have my girl gang to reach out when I feel too emotional, my family when I need some structured thinking, or even my dog when nothing is making that much sense.
Top tip: Whatever you do, avoid dismissive and emotionally unavailable people, as they are very unlikely to make you feel better. Trust me.
4. Social media validation and Digital crap binge
Repeat it after me. Scrolling your Instagram feed one more time, refreshing to check how many likes you had on your post or watching Stories as a documentary, won't make you feel loved or worthy. However, and after being deprived of external stimulus for so long, this a natural mechanism we've developed. Is like when we are starving and we start eating. Rarely it does not end with a food binge. And that is okay, simply try to be mindful, and work out your dose daily.
5. News vs Nature
We all have more empty spaces during the day. What do you do to replace your commute time, the chat with the barista or that stroll to browse for trainers? It is very tempting to go online to read the news, but maybe that won't lift your mood or soothe you down. The day that someone says 'Oh I really retreat myself by reading the Guardian latest news on Corona' is yet to happen. So next time you want to occupy some time, try to go outside and look at something green. It may be the grass, trees, flowers, whatever you have available. There is nothing as healing as nature.
Now time to put these into practice. And today is the perfect day for it.