”Oh what to do, what to do?” a friend of mine would exclaim when things seemed hopeless. It really does hit home now during this time of the pandemic. Certainly most of us feel uncertain and sometimes even just plain scared about the situation in the world and wonder what the future holds. We face different challenges like staying at home with your family whom you rarely saw more than a couple of hours during the week before. Working from home, home-schooling, the uncertainty of your livelihood, doing your own chores along with not knowing if you have stocked up enough on what you might need during lock down. These are all situations that make us anxious.
Timber Hawkeye wrote
You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying.
What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.
So what does calm mean to you? Is it an emotional feeling, is it quietness, is it when things run smoothly or is it tranquility in the home? Whatever it is, here are some suggestions that could help bring calm to your home and your life.
1. Discipline and Routine
I believe it is important to be kind to ourselves during this uncertain time. It is OK, to set your alarm a little later since you won’t have to brave the traffic on your way to work and you can snuggle in bed a little while longer than normal. But when you get up, get dressed and be purposeful in what you want to achieve during the day, otherwise the day will just pass by.
I love Fly Lady’s lesson, “get dressed to shoes”. I truly believe that being dressed sets the tone for the day, gets you up and ready to face what the world may throw at you. Woolworths also has an ad that states, “What you wear has the power to boost your mood.” So no lounging around in your jammies if you want to get stuff done.
Routine gives a sense of normality and will let you slide back into your routine after lock-down more easily. Decide on you daily schedule, what your work hours will be, and your break times. Schedule time for exercise and to get out in the sun, be it in your garden or patio, and to get some much needed fresh air. It will take some discipline initially but everyone will ease into it soon enough. If things get stale – mix things up to change the routine.
If things didn’t’t work out the way you thought it should, it is also OK. Take a deep breath and let it go.
2. De-clutter and create the space that you would love to have Clutter is a constant attack on our senses. If you have too much to do, too much on your mind and too much physical stuff around you, you will need to address it to be able to focus on the things that you want to get done. De-cluttering will calm your mind and your space, leaving you to breathe easier, work more efficiently and be more at ease.
If you declutter physical items and are not able to donate them. Pack them into boxes and label them to get them out of your home as soon as the restrictions are lifted.
3. Working from home
Not all of us are so fortunate to have this time to ourselves. My heart goes out to those of you who still work from home or go to work and have to fit in all the other added responsibilities. It is essential that you create a work space where you can work in peace. Set realistic goals of what you can do and set boundaries for those who are, or may be around you. Communicate clearly when you will be available and what for. Now is the time to do what you can and be prepared to let some things go.
It is difficult to manage distractions. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s human to get distracted, especially if your baby waddles in and wants a cuddle. Take a short break and cherish the time you have with him.
Know your enemy, is it the constant notifications of emails and Whats app messages that come in? These are easy as you can turn off the notifications and check messages and emails when you take your coffee break, this however demands discipline.
4. Do something that you love
Rekindle an activity that you love, one that you always wanted to do, but never had the time to, be it music, painting, sewing, crafting, sorting your photos finishing a project, or whatever brings you joy to calm your day!
Just before lock down I was gifted a Baroque Recorder Anthology and CD with back tracks. I have started practicing with my Tenor Recorder and it has given me hours of joy getting back into it and my neighbours even enjoying my practice sessions.
5. Make memories and build relationships
It is up to you, if this time goes down as the best you ever had or the worst that you can remember. Be creative with family activities and do stuff together. Spend quality time with them. I’m so grateful for the amazing creative activities my children come up with to keep their toddlers happy and content. The different challenges that are on social media to keep people busy are exceptional, just showing how resilient some people are to make the best out of a difficult situation and to connect to other people.
I urge you to make that call that you have been putting off! Check on your elderly neighbour, remember however to keep your distance and wear that testy mask. Have a virtual cuppa or a glass of wine with your friends or family, build relationships. Be the rainbow in someone’s day!
Be kind to yourself and don’t plan too much for a day. Simplify when doing your chores, preparing meals and washing up. Involve the whole family to get the job done quickly.
Buy only the groceries that you really need and trust that the supply chain will remain intact and if you don’t find what you need, think out of the box to substitute with something else. Save and try to get by with less.
There will be times where things work others not. Do not obsess over things, life is just too short, enjoy the ride.
This is a time to discover how to make positive changes to your lifestyle, to do things differently, work more efficiently. Learn and find ways to do things that really matter and to find calm and balance despite all!
Keep your distance but keep connected. Stay safe.