We are all in an unprecedented situation. Jobs have been lost, natural disaster has struck in many areas, businesses are plummeting, people are falling ill and there is an air of fear and mistrust. And when the bad things pile up, naturally it can get quite overwhelming, regardless of how much we have been affected personally. The only good news is, we are not alone in our struggle. All of our lives, from different sectors of society, different walks of life are hindered in some way by the pandemic. Here are 7 things that help me when I feel overwhelmed by all the unpleasant news. Do comment on the things that lighten your mood, I’d love some new ideas.
Cook for yourself
I never really liked cooking, it was always a pain to chop veggies and dice chicken and toil for hours in the heat, when I could just order off the internet. However, I recently realised that cooking can be therapeutic. Putting on some Beatles and making your favourite dishes by hand is an enriching experience. Now, sadly I am not a born chef or a gastronomical genius. Thankfully, there are tons of recipes online that cater to newbies like me. One website that had a variety of easy, delicious recipes was https://littlespicejar.com/. I’ve made at least 5 different dishes from this site, and each one has been amazing. I have also been learning to make many Indian dishes, which are both tasty and fairly simple to make. Do let me know if you want the recipes!
Play some loud music
Music has for a long time been thought to have healing properties. Whether it is slow jazz or high powered metal, each one of us has a fix. Blasting music and just doing a little jig at the end of a long and tiring day spent slogging in front a screen, not only lifts your spirits but also gets the blood flowing through your body and prevents your muscles from cramping up. So, put on your favourite tunes and let the music brighten your day.
Nurture your form of self-expression
I find a certain catharsis in writing. For me, writing and journaling my thoughts and emotions really helps me process. So, at the end of a tiring day, or a day when I am feeling uninspired or maybe I just have some free time – I pick up my pen and write poetry or articles. I have written more in the last month than I have in the last four years. It really is liberating to put words to emotions and ideas, regardless of skill or language. There are countless forums to share thoughts ideas – WordPress (ofcourse!), Reddit, Pinterest and the list goes on. I share a lot of my poetry on WordPress and Reddit and it really motivates me to see positive feedback or even constructive criticism. Additionally, it’s even greater when someone relates and says you helped them understand their feelings. So, even if you aren’t fond of sharing your work, definitely, write for yourself. Also, I write – I’m sure many of you’ll paint, sing or dance. Whatever it is, make sure you nurture your chosen form of self expression.
Go for a run or a walk (with a mask!)
One of the hardest parts of this lock down is being stuck at home for so many months on end. The feeling of being caged and cooped is one that can overwhelm anyone. Hence, I recommend going for a walk or cycling (with a mask!) at least a few times a week. Those thirty minutes of fresh air can recharge you for the next few hours. We underestimate the healing power of nature and the outdoors until we actually experience it. So, do try it out if you haven’t already!
Try meditating, deep breathing or yoga
Despite knowing the benefits of meditation and breathing exercises and also telling others to do the same, I never really practised either. It is only in these months of emotional turmoil, that I have forced myself to take time to rejuvenate. It’s not always easy for someone as Type-A as me, even though we need it the most! But it works like magic. When we are stressed we breathe shallow, and less oxygen reaches our brain, thereby making us slow and lethargic. It is key to practise breathing long-deep breaths to allow our brains to receive the nourishment it needs. I have really been enjoying Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation. You can try any of these exercises that work for you, the important thing is to see it through.
Play a game with friends or family
Human beings are social animals, there is no denying it. We might think we can make it ‘on our own’, but evolution and experience have taught us that we need the sense of belonging and community to thrive. So, make time for your friends and family, even on those busy work-filled days. One of the most uplifting and enjoyable activities is to play a game. There are countless live and virtual games that seed healthy rivalry and camaraderie that we really need. Games like Catan, Scrabble, Monopoly and Uno are sure-fire ways to ensure a fun-filled evening. You can even switch it up and try playing some other games like, Never Have I ever or Cards Against Humanity. My favourite game this lockdown has been https://skribbl.io/. Do check it out, it’s a fun variant of Pictionary that guarantees some laughs!
Pick up a new skill
Learning something new leads to the development of new connections in our brain that can make us feel enthused and productive. Whether it is an instrument or a language, there is no better time to push your boundaries and explore new facets of yourself. I decided to learn ‘Spanish’ this lockdown using various mediums like Coursera, Udemy and Duolingo. But the true pleasure comes from being consistent and seeing results! It is an enriching experience and can really liven often dull days. So if you want to learn art, music or creative writing there is no better time than now to dive into it!
Take care of yourself
Most of all, take care of yourself. In the hurricane of things we do, we often forget to introspect and figure out what really gives us joy and peace. If you need a day off, take it. If you want to watch a movie instead of studying for a day, do it. It will probably help you more than a day of work. Stress reduces our cognitive ability and makes us ‘react’ as opposed to understanding, assimilating and responding. It really is important for us to recharge, especially with the melding of our work and home lives. It helps us be the best versions of our self.
Find the balance that works for you!
Do let me know how you all cope, we can help each other through these trying times.