In these uncertain times we are experiencing, many people have felt their lives be turned upside down. It can be easy to feel like you are living in a world you don’t recognize, so here are 5 things you can control when everything around you feels like chaos.
1. How you go to sleep - It can be difficult to sleep if you go to bed stressed, but giving yourself time to unwind can help. Set aside 20 minutes every night to do some light yoga, meditate, journal, read, or practice mindfulness. As a bonus, set this time aside in the morning as well so you can start your day on a positive note.
2. How you experience joy - It is easy to just coast through this time, one day blending into the next. Instead, challenge yourself to notice what parts of your daily routine you find joy in and be present for them. Is it the way your coffee beans smell as you grind them or the sound of the coffee dripping into the pot? Is it your midday walk after your dog was begging for attention for what feels like the 40th time today? The sound of the birds chirping in the morning? The frog calls at night? Notice what brings you joy and revel in these moments.
3. How you stay connected - Online platforms like Zoom and FaceTime have allowed us to stay connected as we stay apart, but these are not our only options. This is the perfect time to reach out to an old friend that you’ve lost contact with over the years and catch up. Write a handwritten letter to someone you care about (and thank your mail carrier too!). Another way to stay connected is by disconnecting from our digital devices and spending some time getting to know yourself again. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so take time to fill yours first.
4. How kind you are to yourself - Give yourself grace. People may try telling you how you are supposed to feel in this moment, but remember that every emotion is valid. Let yourself feel them and don’t get down on yourself for doing so. This is the perfect time to practice some self-love and self-care - put on a happy song and dance, sleep in a little, write a love letter to yourself, remind yourself that you are enough just as you are. Whatever it may be, take this time to celebrate yourself.
5. How kind you are to others - You never know what the people around you might be experiencing in their lives, but your actions can have a strong impact on them. Do you have access to the outdoors? Write a kind message on the ground for a stranger to see. Smile and wave to everyone you pass. We are all craving social interaction and this small gesture could seriously brighten someone’s day. Think about the things someone could do to brighten your day and try to do that for someone else.
My greatest hope is that we will emerge from this time a more caring society - one where people look out for their neighbors and continue to foster connections between one another. We’ll continue to get through this the best way we know how: together and one day at a time.