As we struggle to adjust to our “new normal”, here are a few strategies that might help us continue to thrive, emotionally and mentally.
By Pamposh Dhar
- Accept what Is.
Life has changed. Acceptance of this reality is the starting point to thriving during these difficult times. A lack of acceptance will not change what is, it will only add a layer of frustration and unhappiness to your life. But if you accept life as it is today, you can find ways to be well under the new circumstances.
- Adapt to a changed and changing world.
Adapt as best as possible and make use of what’s available to you. We live in a very difficult world, but it is still a very beautiful one. Connect to nature in any way you can. Wake up early to experience the sunrise, or gaze up at the moon at night. Nurture your plants or spend time in your garden or balcony. Connect to nature in some way and let it heal you.
- Stay connected.
Human beings are social animals–we need connections. If you are in lockdown with your family, spend time with them. Play board games with your partner, listen to old stories from elderly family members, have pillow fights with your kids. If you are on your own, connect to family and friends via Zoom calls (or if you prefer the old-fashioned way, via phone calls). Form online groups of like-minded people.
- Use your time well.
Join an online course or practice a skill you have not had the time for in recent years. Read. Watch movies and serials if you like, but do other things too. Be mindful of how much screen time you are getting.
- Eat mindfully.
Most of us eat for nutrition and for taste. Find a good balance between the two. And, no, don’t eat out of stress or boredom.
- Manage your stress.
Some stress may sneak through all the wellness strategies–so much is beyond our control right now, so much is unfamiliar and scary. Do a regular de-stress practice like yoga or meditation.
- Move your body.
Exercise, but also just be mindful about standing up and stepping away from your desk and screen every once in a while. Walk, even if you are just walking around the furniture in your living room. This is not about exercise, but just movement. Don’t let your joints get stiff!!
I am serious! If you spend long hours staring at a screen, blink your eyes every few minutes. Between the added screen times and the masks, our eyes are going through a rough time. If you want to give your eyes some extra love, rest up once in a while with a nice lavender pack over your eyes, or used teabags, or cucumber slices.
- Expand your heart
Use empathy. Think bigger than yourself and much of your stress will melt away. Offer your own special expertise to others at this time of global crisis. Extend a helping hand to those you know, or to strangers because we are all in this together. Do a big or small act of kindness every day. Phone people who are alone or unwell, just listen to them, allowing them to get things off their chest. Cook simple meals for frontline workers or people who are in isolation.
- Help is a two-way street.
If someone is extending a helping hand towards you, please do accept. Because, as I said, we are all in this together. Also, a balanced life demands both giving and receiving.
- Take the time to grieve.
If you lose someone, take your time and grieve. Look for at least a little bit of comfort by joining an online memorial for them, or do your own private ceremony at home.
If possible, also remind yourself that our essence is soul, not body.
(Pamposh Dhar is a meditation teacher, reiki master and wellness counsellor in Singapore.)