April 16, 2020 5 min read
Scary as this virus is, it’s forced us to stop, to sit down and give good thought to really assess our priorities.
Was what your colleagues thought at work really that important? Did you really like the pace of things before? Did you like the pressure of scheduling every waking moment, still feeling like there wasn’t enough time, or that you weren’t even somewhat productive? Did you like feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed out - over now, what can only seem like insignificant things?
But now you can stop. You have to stop. For large parts of the day, there’s nothing else to do but slow down, and reflect. It took something truly enormous to awaken us all. We’ve been living a frantic life where multitasking is the new norm. We’re present, never. We exercise while listening to podcasts, walk our dogs while answering emails, and catch up with friends while quickly whipping something up for dinner. We’re fidgety when not connected, and near unable to sit with ourselves and our thoughts - alone.
However, if you’ve experienced something like I have, you’ve realized you can now conquer the stack of books you've been meaning to read, meditate without a timer, or just sit in complete stillness. Don’t get me wrong, there’s an adjustment period to slowing things down - usually accompanied by what feels like a mini breakdown or falling into madness (don’t worry, it only lasts a couple of days). But after, what you’re faced with is a sense of relief, like a weight being lifted off your shoulders.
You may still be struggling with what to do to fill your time. And by now, have probably exhausted all that Netflix has to offer. Here’s our picks of how to soak up all that this bizarre period has to offer, and how to make your quarantine the best it can be.
Sounds simple enough, but this is actually a developed skillset. We’re generally used to constant stimulation. And when the noise stops, we’re flooded with more thoughts than anticipated. This is natural, as we’re unused to spending so much time with the clutter in our heads. Or we’ve gone years avoiding long-repressed fears and insecurities. Apps such as Headspace or Calm are great tools to introduce you to meditation, and adjustable to make it as simple as possible. Another alternative are the books “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer and “How to Meditate” by Pema Chodron. Start with something manageable, like 3 minutes daily and work your way up.
Try that recipe you thought you’d never be capable of doing. Don't feel shy by starting small. A great way to look for tips and tricks is Youtube. Not in the mood to make a homemade meal? You can always support your local restauranteurs. Try utilizing Spotify for a playlist to amplify the mood, based on the type of cuisine you've chosen. For comfort food, try this. For French cuisine, instead try this. Or just healthy & feeling the feels, listen to this. Nothing beats some good music, candles, and a great dish to enjoy.
Ever considered writing a book? Maybe a few lines of a limerick? Now is your time. Get yourself situated into a routine and bring out that inner Hemingway.
Journaling as an outlet has shown to have a plethora of benefits. It’s an easy and concise way of organizing your thoughts, self-reflecting, and relieving stress. It's also been proven to increase your writing skills, inspire creativity, and boost your memory. Reading what you’ve written is not a necessity. As a tool to letting go, you may also try writing and burning what’s written.
Articles, poetry, or novels. Whatever has been of interest or on your list, and I’m sure you’ll find things that will inspire, teach, and move you along the way.
Being at home so much forces us to be confronted with all that’s in our space. Whether that be photos, junk drawers, or clothes. Use this time to go through your belongings decisively. Without outside opinions, go through your space slowly, room by room, and decide what you love. Find what you've chosen to keep a home, and give away the rest. Decluttering a space is like decluttering the mind. As you work through your home you’ll find that each room will become more calming and more enjoyable to be in.
Use the space that you have. Whether you're starting from scratch, adding plants to your existing indoor collection, creating a garden on your balcony, or in your backyard - using your green thumb is a great morale booster.
There’s something incredibly therapeutic about plants. Studies show that having indoor plants increases productivity and concentration by a minimum of 15%. During the first and second world war, growing your own garden was encouraged by the government in Canada, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany. They were called ‘Victory Gardens’. Included were flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Not only did it help take the pressure off the public food supply chain, but it also made those growing a garden feel empowered. Not only were they helping their country, they were helping themselves.
(Left, Fig tree. Right, outdoor plants decor)
People are incredibly resourceful and creative. For those of you who think you’re not, you’ve probably not challenged yourself to be so. Need something? Want something? Create it! Use what you have in your home to make an all natural face mask, a scented floor cleaner, or perhaps a new hair clip. Unsure how to start? Youtube and Pinterest have an excess of how to’s to assist you in your imaginative process.
I’m tired of working out inside, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. So forget the workout class. Pour yourself a glass of wine (helps with the internal embarrassment), and turn on a dance class. My current favourite platform is Steezy. There's a great offering of genres and the lessons are dummy-proof. A perfect plan for a date night, should you be a quarantined couple. Or turn on a great playlist and have a party at home! No one there to judge your moves, so shake it out.
Juvenile? Of course. And why not?! We’re all creating our own environment, so why not build the indoor fort of your 10-year-old-self’s dreams. And parents, a great activity to do with your kids - fun for the entire family.
Thankfully, we all generally have access to wifi. This is the perfect time to FaceTime, Zoom, or start a House Party convo with friends and family. Catch up with friends you haven’t spoken to in years, create a family reunion, or use it as an avenue to discuss and brainstorm what this new future could look like. Regardless, we’re all in the same boat and missing those around us, so spend some time each day to connect.
(Connecting online via smartphone)
None of this goes without saying that the uncertainty of the future is frightening. But in this moment, all you can do is choose how you react. We’re living through a moment which will be documented and dissected in history books. What will be the story you tell of the time the world shut down? Will you grow? Will you learn to slow down? Will you take up that skill or hobby you’ve always been interested in?
If you haven’t stopped and analyzed your life, how you spent your time, how you spent your money - I implore you. It’s an awakening worth having.