10 WAYS TO THRIVE IN LOCKDOWN
By guest blogger Willow Constantine
The world as we know it is swiftly changing in ways we cannot imagine – thank you Coronavirus. Many countries with high-risk populations have gone into complete lockdown, leaving residents with complex questions to consider. What is the balance between personal freedom and our obligation to the collective? How will we continue to feed our families when millions of people have lost their jobs globally? And how do we not only survive but thrive and reveal the best part of our characters in this catastrophe?
Here are ten interesting ways to not only survive but also thrive, in lockdown.
1. Start the day with quiet time or meditation
At the beginning of this chaos, I found myself constantly checking social media and the news, leaving me in an unsettled mental state. A big shift occurred when I committed to wake thirty minutes earlier than usual and do a meditation. I love the Hemi-Sync app and Binaural Beats on YouTube or Soundcloud. To anchor in the feeling of wellbeing, write a gratitude list or use an app such as Bliss, a positive psychology app, which helps guide the mind towards what is working, and positive in life.
2. Establish a routine
Elizabeth Gilbert gave great advice for working from home – “Get dressed. Make your bed. I repeat – get dressed and make your bed.” The same applies to life during lockdown. A routine helps create structure and motivation. Within that structure, we know what to expect and we gain a sense of safety. It can also help us stay productive, rather than reeling from everyone jostling for space and time between four walls. Write down the routine in a diary or on a phone app to refer to during the day.
3. Exercise every day
In a full lockdown, it is not allowed to walk or jog outside. Although this law was a big shock for our family, we have been enjoying the creativity required to come up with new ways to get moving. First, we created a running/kids biking lap track around the house. Then we set up our outdoor cross fit gym. And while the kids are racing around their bike track, we try to attend our yoga and dance classes via Zoom. Everyone is in this together, and people worldwide are offering the most incredible ways to stay fit and stay sane within this. We enjoy the daily, zany PE with Joe class, quirky fun for kids and even adults.
4. Allocate time for creativity
Children and adults thrive when creativity is nurtured. Throughout history, extraordinary inventions emerged from time spent in self-isolation. Creativity is a commitment. Put time aside (when structuring your routine as per point #2) to be alone and allow your right brain to flourish. Write without edits, paint without boundaries, dance without choreography, style and photograph your lounge – whatever your thing, now is the time to discover and nurture the creative brain. Kids adore Draw with Rob Biddulph and check out the inspirational Seawalls Project and join in the many that are starting this creative initiative within their very homes.
5. Create boundaries around work
For those still working, establish fixed working hours and allocate the ‘work’ space from which to work remotely. This helps the rest of the household understand when they can and cannot engage. Once the workday is over, place the laptop away and try to be totally present to your family members – particularly the children. Otherwise, the children act up because they haven’t seen you and want the attention, it gets irritating and becomes difficult to focus on work anyhow.
6. Do something enriching every day
Lockdown presents an ideal opportunity for self-discovery. Knowing what makes us “tick,” makes it easier to prioritize those actions and activities. Consider creating space in the day to do something (indoors) which really sets your heart on fire. Learn a new skill online, take a dance class, plant a veggie garden, cook amazing food, start writing that book – whatever you have been putting off, now is the time to do it. My greatest joy was getting involved in something bigger than me- a local Feed Our Valley community project completely stole my heart.
7. Put the cell phone away for a few hours every day
The world is in a dramatic state of chaos, and the unfolding events will change all of our lives forever. It is so easy to get caught up in the drama of it all and to feel the need to read all the latest news reports on COVID19. However, this onslaught of global news – conveniently delivered to your cell phone – causes an ongoing feeling of psychological distress. With a little bit of discipline, it is possible to put the phone away in a safe place and just be present to what is right here, right now.
8. Stay socially connected
Social isolation can easily lead to feelings of profound loneliness, particularly for those living on their own. We crave social outings, the easy flow of face-to-face conversations, and the warmth of touch. There is no real substitute for this yearning for personal interaction, but online platforms such as ZOOM and House Party at least offer a way to bring friends together from all over the world to have virtual conversations. I have connected with the most amazing people all over the globe during this time, and as a result, I’ve experienced lockdown as being incredibly inspiring.
9. Prioritize health and immunity
Let’s see a show of hands for everyone who drank too much in the first week of lockdown? I would have to put my hand up for that one, and I’m not even an enthusiastic drinker. It just became this bizarre coping mechanism at the end of a day dealing with the surreal dramas unfolding before me. After that first week, I realized the blessing in all of this is that we will all be forced to prioritize our health – physical, mental, and emotional. There are amazing resources for immune-boosting foods, and most shops are still open providing Vitamin C, Zinc, and Echinacea as well as probiotics for super powering immunity. Cook beautiful foods, grow a vegetable garden, light the candles, savour food with gratitude, and make health for yourself and your loved ones a top priority right now.
10. Have a COVID game plan in place, then let it go
There are so many things in this situation that we cannot control, yet there are practicalities we can put in place to keep ourselves safe. Program all the relevant emergency numbers into your phone. Follow the correct protocols should you get sick. Reach out to community members to ask if they can help you procure food in the event that you get sick and need to go into strict self-quarantine. If you are vulnerable to this type of illness, reach out and ask for help getting everything you need delivered to your home. Once your ‘action plan’ is in place, just let it go. You don’t need to ‘action’ that plan until you get sick but at least you will have peace of mind that a game plan is in place.
There is an inextricable link between our body, our mind, and our emotions. Such wellbeing is at the core of thriving during lockdown. This means taking ownership of your health, the positivity of your mind as well as your emotions. Well done for being that person!
Willow Constantine is a writer, yoga teacher, and founder of Bespoke Safari Co. Originally from Alaska, Willow came to South Africa with idealistic dreams of changing the world. She quickly discovered that we must be the change we seek….and a journey of self-discovery ensued. Recognizing the transformative power of simply standing on African soil, Willow took her spiritual toolkit and launched a travel agency. The vision of Bespoke Safari Co. is to curate slow travel to the wildest corners of the continent. After grafting for two years on the business and witnessing the beginning of its success trajectory, Coronavirus happened. And – just like that – no business. At that stage, Willow pulled her spiritual toolkit out of the closet and began writing reflections on the fascinating unfolding of this crazy story in our personal history – the good, the bad, and the ugly.