Life is getting pretty tiring for many people right now. There is no doubt plenty of people feel they are in the midst of some pretty crappy times. Particularly those from Australia who have been subjected to long lockdowns, remote learning, working from home and the disappointments of another year crippled by ongong restrictions (special shoutout to Melbournians who have the dubious honour of recently surpassing 200 days in lockdowns since March 2019).
The greatest tool in my toolkit, for myself and my family, is to try and focus on “controlling the controllables”. Because I have no say in the trajectory of this strain of Covid-19. I have no say over the decisions of my governments. I am unable to send my kids to school even though I would very much like to. I would love to be watching my kids run around on foobtall ovals and basketball courts and watch as they feel all the emotions of winning, losing and being with their mates. And I would love to be sitting at the MCG on a Saturday afternoon with a meat pie, the sun in my eyes and listen to the bellowing roar of crowds….even those from the opposition team. But alas, those things are out of my control right now. So instead we have no choice but to focus on the things we can do every day, or at least attempt to do everyday, in order to make my life and the lives of my family members, a little less crappy.
At risk of sounding like a Nike commercial I have added the word “just” in front of these as the premise is not that you have to do all of things perfectly every day. It is about just doing what serves you right now. What you can manage in that moment and recognise that just a little action, just a few consious thoughts and just allowing yourself some movement in the right direction, is going to serve you well.
Just Connect with someone: we have plenty of close connections going on within the 4 walls of our households…but we may also like to reach out for other connections too. A phone call, a message, a video call or an online group chat where you share the good, the bad and the ugly can often be all the tonic we need.
Just move the body: do something physical. Be that a walk, a morning stretch, an online fitness session or even just a dance in the kitchen with your favourite tunes. Our bodies were made to move and not be sitting at our desks all day.
Just get something done: I am a big ‘list doer’ and ‘crosser offerer’ so no matter how big or small a task, if you accomplish something it always makes you feel better. The other day my to do list included cleaning the dogs bowl. No it wasnt massive, but I’d been putting it off for a while. I felt a lot more satisfaction on completion of that task than was probably warranted….but the satisfaction was there all the same and those minutes had some purpose.
Just ask for help: this is no time to be too proud (well no time is)….but especially now. So get rid of that help seeking stigma and cut yourself some slack. Plenty of people may well be reaching out for help right now, but plenty of people are also really ready willing and able to be that help.
Just eat something nourishing: And if you splurge out, binge out or wallow in a pack of chicken twisties that’s ok…just make sure there is some nourishing, wholesome stuff in there too.
Just laugh: whether its a funny show, a laugh at yourself or the sharing of copious amounts of covid memes that really do get you through the day. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
Just sleep: We know everything feels better after some decent shut eye, and whilst it can be easy to slip into a lazy routine feeling as though there is nowhere you actually have to be…sticking with good sleeping routines (trying not to all asleep with a phone on your forehead) really does put you in the best position to allow that brain and body to rest, reset and tackle whatever the new day brings.
Just chill: there is a time for work, there is a time to battle with home learning and a time to just chill out and leave the noise behind. Turn off the news, close done the social media, ignore the press conferences and just spend some time forgetting about stuff that really isnt going to go away and really isnt going to serve you well in that moment.
Just help someone: If you are in a position to help soemone there is nothing that can give you a better pick me up than doing good for someone else. Whether its baking some cookies for a neighbor, donating to a charity that is feeding those in need or offering to do someones shopping. Are there any ways your kids can help others? There is no motivator in life like that of feeling as if you have a purpose and you are somehow fulfilling someones need.
Just breathe: when all else fails nothing calms the nervous system and settles the panic, the anxiety and the overwhelm like some big deep breaths. Take some good love and light into your lungs and expend the rubbishy thoughts and the stuff that isn’t serving you. Even if its just sitting for 3 quiet deep breaths, even if your day is simply about moving one foot in front of the other…..just keep breathing.
All of theses things sound pretty much like stuff you’ve probably heard before. There’s a reason for that. By doing these things you are engaging in strategies that have had multitudes of scientific evidence and research to back up the physical, cognitive, emotional and social benefits they have on your overall health and wellbeing. They are also very much practises that have been espoused by the most knowing of philosphers and practised by the healthiest and longest living members of civilisatons over many centuries.
You can call this stuff self care, self preservation, self discipline, giving your vagus nerve a workout or just plain dealing with the crappy stuff with the best tools you have at hand.
It’s just yourself, your mindset and your consious effort to do what you, and I, and a good portion of the world, knows will work wonders to make each day a little less crappy.