This is part 1 of a three part blog written by Dr Lize Wolfaardt
Connect with nature – even if nature at this point is limited to your garden. Be in the moment by becoming aware of what you are sensing. Smell the different fragrances of the flowers and greenery, feel the texture of the leaves and the bark of the trees, listen to the sounds of birds and insects, feel the sun on your body, or the light drizzle against your skin. Walk barefoot – become aware of the texture of the grass beneath your feet, – allow it to anchor you. This is a wonderful grounding experience and will move you towards peace and calmness.
Move – Exercise has shown to lift our mood faster than anti-depressants do (anti-depressants do catch up though and surpasses the effect of exercise in clinically depressed individuals). During exercise, our body secretes high amounts of endorphins, which are our natural anti-depressants. It lifts our spirits, make us feel calmer and enables us to gain perspective. If you have always wanted to do yoga, now is the time! Log on to Yoga with Adriene for wonderful every day online sessions. There are also many other online alternatives available.
Self-care – Set some time aside every day to do something that you really LOVE – and most importantly, do it MINDFULLY. The more this activity involves a sensory component, the better. Have that glass of special red wine from the bottle you have been hiding at the back of the cupboard. Enjoy savouring a piece (or more :)) of your favourite chocolate, soak yourself in a hot tub filled with epsom salts and fragrant lavender that you have picked from your garden, lie outside in your bathing suit and feel the sun gently kissing your body. Carefully prepare your favourite meal and take your time to really experience and enjoy each morsel of it. Listen mindfully to every note of your favourite piece of music. The list is endless.
Being cooped-up in the same limiting space with others, even though they are your significant others, is a cauldron waiting to boil over. Every person will have his/her day of feeling anxious, frustrated, irritable or overwhelmed. These feelings are contagious, and spread like a virus (ha-ha), or wildfire, if you prefer, from one family member to the next, culminating in conflict within the household. Or, one person takes their frustration or irritability out on the rest of the family, and leaves them feeling hurt, misunderstood and hard done by. During this lock-up period it is more important than ever for us to show grace and kindness towards each other, to practise the art of ‘letting go’. We need to realize that everybody is doing their best to survive the lockdown, and cannot always be at their best. So, don’t take anybody else’s mood personally, deflate arguments by not showing up to them, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Space to be alone –By this time, many of us have been cooped up in a shared space with others, even if they are our significant others, for much longer than we feel comfortable with, and, to make matters worse, this cooped-up situation is going to last for longer than we initially anticipated and prepared ourselves for. For us to mentally survive lockdown, we have to acknowledge the importance of alone time, not only for ourselves, but also for our significant others. Everybody needs alone time – some of us more than others. It is important for everybody in the household to have a place where they can retreat to, and just be on their own. In households where everyone doesn’t necessarily have their own room, or in the case of partners sharing a room, make sure to agree on which spaces will be utilized by whom for alone time, and that everyone’s alone time, is regarded with the utmost respect.Keep an eye out for Part two of this series coming soon!