The 5 Best Ways to Keep Your Sanity During a Pandemic
All dine-out options are closed and there’s seemingly no difference between a Friday and a Monday. The children are wreaking havoc in the lobby because no one would play a game of Ludo with them. Alternatively, you might be living with your dog and you haven’t seen a human being in a fortnight. Things are in chaos.
On the other side, look at Mother Nature – the air is clean again, the rivers, blue again, and in this standstill, Earth has had a chance to take a deep breath and heal.
In a similar fashion, this break could be the perfect time for you to rest and heal, both mentally and physically. After all, even Netflix gets boring after a while.
Number 1: Learn a new skill-set or re-pick a hobby you had left because you “didn’t have enough time”
A friend of mine used to do oil painting but stopped about 2-3 years ago. She’s using an hour a day for an entire month to paint another canvas and she tells me she is really enjoying it.
The most important thing about picking a hobby, I feel, is to not take it too seriously. There’s no pressure on your poetry to sell a thousand copies or on your dance to receive standing ovations.
Your hobby must please you, and for me that’s the only rule.
Take this free time as a blessing. You can now get into all of the things you previously didn’t because you made the excuse of not having enough time, like working out or learning a new skill.
Number 2: Use this time to extend help to the community
Your mom hasn’t had a break during the lockdown, has she? If she’s a homemaker, taking some of her workload will benefit both of you – plus, there’s no better feeling than helping your mom.
You can also help the elderly in any way you can. As they are the most vulnerable of the population, talking to them in a reassuring manner can be helpful, especially if you talk with the elderly in old-age homes over the phone.
You can do the highest service by helping the community in a vulnerable time.
Number 3: Only follow trusted sources; you do not have enough time for unnecessary drama
I understand that this is an unprecedented situation and it can feel important to follow every source giving any development, 24*7.
Take a deep breath. Understand that dipping into an endless stream of information can poison your mind with fear and stress. To keep up with recent developments, pick and follow trusted sources which present scientific information without an undertone of fear or panic, such as Voice of Health, WHO, CDC, etc.
Number 4: Practice Meditation, because you do have the time now
Here is the practice I use to detach and rise over emotions, such as sadness or loneliness:
Start to feel the emotions as sensations within the body… and this is it! You can do this with open eyes, while walking, while dancing, or even while singing.
Feel your emotions as sensations in your body and enjoy the sensations. It might seem entirely too simple, but the simple is what works the most in helping you to rise over your emotions.
Has anger controlled you at times? Do you eat when you are bored?
The goal of this practice is not to run from or to change your feeling. Cry if you want to and laugh if you want to. The goal of this practice is to face your emotions so head-on that you can stand strong and firm in the face of sadness, anger, loneliness, etc.
Number 5: Create a schedule to structure your time
Remember, as children we had boundless energy and no responsibilities – our parents had to fit our days into some form of structure. There was a fixed time to wake up, a fixed time the school bus would come, and a fixed time to finish the homework by if we were to go to the park that evening!
A lot of people have begun to sleep very late. I always stress that deep sleep is very important for the human body. Create a structure which helps you reach all your daily goals and still gives you enough time to rest properly at night. Having structure can give a much needed direction to your life when everything has come to a standstill.
Bonus Tip: Be social
All the family WhatsApp groups are suddenly so active and everyone is sending quizzes and jokes! The children are staying at home the whole day and eager to kick a ball with you in the backyard. Everyone has some free time on their hands and this can be the perfect opportunity to bond with your family and catch up on friends, virtually.
This is a unique time. The roads are so empty that, as a frontline healthcare worker, it takes me just 1/3rd of the normal time to reach work. You need to realize that you will not get this important time back. The most important thing, of all, is to enjoy it as deeply as possible with your loved ones.