Irish, UK, US and international news have different angles but wherever you’re based, you’re likely worried / angry / relieved about amped up restrictions around minimising the spread of Covid_19.
As we move into autumn (in this hemisphere), a lot of people are anticipating lower mood and anxiety as the daylight hours get shorter.
So many controversies. So many opinions. A friend today said that none of us know for sure but she’d rather err on the side of caution.
That’s the approach I’m aiming for: Follow the public health guidelines, take as good care of ourselves as we can (including eating nourishing food, rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that help us support our immune systems).
I don’t understand the false oppositions – the more we do everything we have control over, the less we get upset about people minimising the risk they pose to others.
Yes, if we ALL wore masks and kept our distances, we’d, THIS THING WOULD HAVE BEEN SORTED MONTHS AGO AND BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS WOULDN’T BE SUFFERING IN THE WAY THEY ARE but we can only control our own choices.
Some examples include:
- wearing a mask when needed AND washing hands and social distancing
- making that doctor’s appointment when needed AND booking a complementary therapy session (if possible – if not, there are loads of free resources online including on this site)
- living as full lives as possible (and enjoying the mental and physical health benefits of connecting with loved ones) AND taking the tiny little precautions that add up (like hand sanitiser when not able to access soap and water)
- thinking about ways in which we can prepare our homes for visitors while also minimising the risk of infection (using the largest room available when too cold outside, having windows open when possible)
- getting organised so face masks, visors etc are easily accessible – For months, I’ve had hand sanitiser easily accessible at the front door but I know I much prefer actual WATER. I’ve been wracking my brain to think of a solution to the usual guest hand towel since someone said they don’t ever use other people’s towels now. I don’t either but thought I was being overly cautious so their comment got me thinking about ways in which guests can dry their hands and feel that the towel is just for them. And then I remembered the magical invention that is the face towel! So instead of keeping these just to cover my face in the bath, I’ll get some more to have in a little basket by the wash basin. Sustainable and effective! This to me doesn’t feel punitive or limiting in anyway, but like a simple way in which to show guests I am delighted they’ve visited AND I’m taking it seriously.
Do as much of what feels good and what helps you feel better afterwards
Much as I appreciate online video conferencing for my work and for staying in touch with loved ones I haven’t seen for the best part of a year or longer, it can sometimes get too much.
We might not be spending as much time travelling to get to see people face to face (I can count on my hands the people who’ve been into my home since March) but screen time can feel more draining.
Normally, this time of year, the magazines would be filled with articles prepping people for managing their energy levels during the holiday season. Even if we’re mostly staying home, we can STILL pay close attention to what feels good and energising and what is draining us.
Many of these things (prepping good food, being active, making time for loved ones, making time for your SELF) might feel exhausting to think about (when we leave it too late) but simple routines make it that bit easier.
Let your anxieties and worries help you put supports in place
As I stood out in the rain, putting on my gloves to go on my little bike ride earlier, I wondered if my hope of sea swims throughout winter is delusional.
I felt a pang that I won’t be able to swim for MONTHS (not been in a pool since before lockdown) and noticed my energy levels plummet at the very idea. And then I reminded myself to take things – changing public health guidelines, other issues and the temperature of the sea) day by day.
I would LOVE to continue my at least once a week sea swims and I’ve bought myself a DryRobe (giant changing towel/coat) and rash vest to wear over my swimsuit in hopes that this is possible.
I’ve also stopped beating myself up over being so ‘lazy’ that I’m only cycling in and out of town every couple of weeks by thinking about what has been stopping me.
It’s TIME as well as energy.
Radical idea – I could cycle a longer distance as a daily or almost daily country lane bike ride! This sounds ridiculously simple (and it is) but I’ve lived here for over a year and have wasted I don’t know HOW much time beating myself up over accepting ‘too many’ lifts into town.
But when I cycle in, by the time I’ve cycled the 20 minutes, walked to the Quay, swum, met up with people, run errands etc etc, it takes HOURS.
I’m already in the habit of an hour a day strolling – by making it a 30 minute bike ride, it’s quicker AND more of a workout.
Having just done 5km today (the whole lane is 5.4km so now I know the points, thanks to my activity tracker), my third bike ride since Saturday, I’ve already cycled way more than I had been and I felt a little fitter today than I had on Sunday.
When I lived in Essex (I didn’t have a bike when I lived in London, Cardiff and Bangor), distances were shorter or else I got the train or bus (or a lift – yes, I really MUST learn to drive) so I was always back and forth on my bike, clocking 20 miles most weeks without even thinking about it.
I’m not an endurance kind of person. Several of my neighbours do what they call ‘the Loop’ and having done just part of it once and feeling like it took 3 hours (my watch said it only took 15 minutes). Even one of the 6 year olds (allegedly). Each time they ask me if I do it, I’m like, ‘Nope.’
But by going back and forth up the lane (which Google Maps classes as Mostly Flat but which I get off my (one gear) bike a couple of times to push briefly), I imagine that I’ll soon be doing the Loop myself. Maybe… (Still not entirely sure of the directions.)
I’m certainly no longer concerned about going from every couple of weeks to every day when I start cycling into town to get the train for Jury Service soon! It’s ALREADY built my confidence.
And because of the swimming supports (I really hope this rash vest and DryRobe is as revolutionary as I’m imagining), as my jeans got soaked through (totally normal for me. I usually carry a spare pair to change into) this afternoon, it occurred to me that waterproof trousers to pull over my trousers would be an amazing invention.
Which, of course, already exists.
This is an exceptionally long winded way of asking you to ponder a simple block in your own life (getting on your bike / into the water / whatever you KNOW you feel better for afterwards but which feels challenging):
How can you make it that bit easier?
How can you make it that much more enjoyable?
What additional supports can YOU put in place?
Access free resources
I hope you find the mind body practices and other free resources to help you manage the coronacoaster helpful. You can access them HERE