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Rest. Relax. Recharge.

5 Apr

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If we want to live a wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating rest and play, and we must work to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self worth. – Brene Brown.

Rest is when we shift from deliberate and effort filled thinking, to a more effortless, playful, peaceful, aimless wandering and daydreaming state.

Rest lowers our heart rate, stress and shoulders.

One of the most interesting things about rest is that it’s usually about carving out a wee chunk of solitary time, versus relaxing, which is able to be done in the company of others. Relaxing with someone else just needs a common agreement, that it’s unwinding time, it’s not about achieving, planning, or accomplishing anything in particular. What we believe is restful and relaxing, will be, and both are restorative.

  • Have it be ok to slow things down and give yourself permission to meander and potter around.
  • Unplug from the worries and what-ifs for a portion of every day.
  • Move from doing to being.
  • Let go of “I have to” and replace them with “I get to.”
  • Let nature lull you.
  • Look for slivers of simplicity that speak to your soul.

When you don’t know what to do, do nothing. – Oprah.

 

 

More Kindness. Less Judgement.

3 Apr

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Do right. Do your best. Treat others as you want to be treated – Lou Holtz.

Wobbly times can bring out the worst in people.

Hoarders and xenophobes is how the worst broke through, followed closely by profit motivated price hikers and reckless rule breakers. As the days pass and lockdown has many of us glued to our computers, unkind keyboard warriors are now bordering on being boringly predictable.

Whilst it’s easy to want to throw up our hands or fight back, from a compassionate viewpoint, if they knew better, they would do better. Their quick automatic behaviours often come from

  • not taking the time to get to know or consider the situation of another
  • overly looking out for oneself
  • bad experiences and conditioning
  • being scared, suspicious and self-centred.

If you’re on the receiving end, just avoid and delete or report to admin.

Don’t blurt what might hurt. We are all in this together. Let’s express the best of ourselves.

Imagination Can Take You Anywhere.

2 Apr

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Join them in their world when they’re little, so you’ll be welcome in their world when they get big. – L. R. Knost.

Thanks to Libby Clews for her “paper bag head child” inspiration, and my beloved Wolfie for making my day by day images x

Create Calm.

1 Apr

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It’s one of our basic needs, the need for security, which is triggering fear in many people. Although many things are out of our control, we need to keep working at reducing and releasing fear, panic and anxiety because it over activates our flight-or-fight mode. When we are in what I call Meerkat Mode, our body wants to take constant action. Because present circumstances make that a bit restrictive, it’s possible that the tension that builds as a result of being ready to pounce on problems begins to physically hurt a little. It could also be the reason that people are getting ants in their pants and pushing the boundaries of their bubbles. 

Calming our mind and soothing our system is not a luxury thing to do, it’s vital. It will help us through this long haul experience.

Parents, be sure to grab a small moment each day, just for yourself. Today I found this super cool kids meditation, that is 15 minutes long, which I also adored. It’s free. Why not lie down together and listen, and make it a shared part of your day?

https://insighttimer.com/discoveringmypurpose/guided-meditations/boosting-immunity-and-feeling-calm-in-this-time-of-coronavirus

Grown-ups, below is my most favoured way of reducing stress, that I learnt when I trained in Mindfulness.  Jon Kabat-Zinn is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

 

 

 

 

Ignite Hope.

31 Mar

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Hope and fear cannot occupy the same spaceMaya Angelou

Hope is allowing ourselves a peek into a positive future. It’s about expecting and desiring that this will work out. It’s about believing that good things really do happen. It’s about remembering that magic exists, beauty surrounds us, and miracles are possible.

Hope lends us slivers of happiness which uplift us and make difficult situations easier to bear. Hope grows into optimism which encourages a positive belief that we really do have the inner power and strength to step into the unknown.

All the things we do for ourselves or with our children that are prevention measures,  show we’re in control and can solve problems. When we’re proud of washing hands and wiping things down, when we celebrate covering our nose and mouth with a tissue or elbow when we cough or sneeze, when we follow the rules, we shoo away feelings of helplessness. 

If we seek to make the best of a situation we’re in by seeing new experiences more as a challenge and we laugh and share our failures and successes, we role model hope.

Keep activating logic and facts which are reassuring because reassurance offers hope. Our immune systems are incredible and fight off germs all day every day like a super hero. Keep quoting hopeful facts. Most people who do get the virus recover 100%. 

Answers do exist and the more we cheer on the great people helping others and put our trust in the experts out there working around the clock, using their incredible brains to discover breakthroughs, advances in medicine and solutions for all the problems, the more we keep hope alive.

People are amazing and helpful and resilient. Let’s keep using heartfelt encouraging words to ignite hope in ourselves and others, and once we ignite it, keep it alight so it illuminates the way forward. We’ve got this.

 

Inhale Courage. Exhale Fear.

30 Mar

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If posts about people cleaning cupboards, doing yoga, crafting, making preserves and cookies is causing you to worry or panic that you’re not in that “positive” space, breathe low and slow, and know that you are not alone. This isn’t a sprint to a predetermined finish line, it’s a marathon and we are all in it together.

Covid-19 has changed how the world works. It’s ok to pause and it’s more than ok to be experiencing grief (whether we recognize it or not) because the new reality is that there are people all over the globe that are sick or afraid of becoming sick. They have lost loved ones, jobs, clients, incomes, autonomy, roles, identity and hopes and dreams. Fear and anxiety comes with the territory.

Shallow, upper chest breathing is part of a typical stress response but if your ribs are a bit sore, your chest feels tight, or you feel more light headed, a bit dizzy and feel tingly in your face or hands, chances are you are over-breathing, which can prolong feelings of anxiety.

The good news is, it’s not too late to notice it and fix it. We breathe effectively when our lower belly rises when we fill our lungs with air.  Slow it down. Breathe in and out slowly through the nose and extend the exhale so that it’s longer than the inhale.

Don’t

  • overthink
  • catastrophize
  • hyperfocus on the future, and get caught up in what-ifs
  • drown in negative, doom-filled thoughts. 

Do

  • meditate and relax
  • do things that truly soothe you
  • face fear and feel it and if you find it hard talk to a trusted professional
  • remind yourself that you are resilient and resourceful, and full of courage.

 

When we are afraid, we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger.  –Mark Rutherford.

Tend and Befriend. Why Being Kind to Yourself Matters.

29 Mar

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Think of the last time someone criticized you, put you down, expressed disapproval or treated you poorly. Don’t linger on it though, because chances are it wasn’t very motivational or uplifting. Why? Because it’s demoralizing, elevates stress hormones, increases emotional reactivity, robs us of peace of mind and greatly reduces the quality of our day.

How dare they right? Well, how dare we do it to ourselves either! It’s like choosing a punishment over a reward.

In this unprecedented time we may have a lot more time by ourselves and there is so much more room to think, so when we make a mistake, fail at something, compare ourselves to others, get rejected or we don’t live up to our own expectations, it’s important we don’t employ negative self-talk or beat ourselves up for it. Instead, we need to be kind to ourselves.

Being kind to ourselves means

  • letting go of perfection
  • releasing judgement
  • replacing negative thoughts with positive, or at least neutral ones
  • talking to ourselves more gently and balanced, just like we would to a kid, pet, or best friend
  • continuing to do the things that make us feel good
  • nurturing our mind, body and spirit in joyful ways

Have a good day and let’s

  • remember all the things that are going right
  • remind ourselves kindly, that we are all vulnerable, worthy, perfectly imperfect creatures.