We all know the importance of staying home and protecting ourselves and our community from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s equally important to feel productive and calm despite our circumstances.
I suggest a protocol for turning your stay into an opportunity for a life reset. This is your chance to look at how you’ve been living your life, and making any changes that you’ve never had time to get around to doing.
With what may be an extended stay at home, you have the chance to establish new patterns of behaviour that reflect the changes you’ve been meaning to make someday. That someday has finally come!
Here are my suggestions for a protocol that can make your experience truly transformative:
- Establish a morning routine. I get up each morning and shower, do yoga, pranayamic breathing, and meditation. It puts me in a calm and clear mindset to start my day.
- Have a goal. Whether it’s a project you’ve meant to get to, books you’ve always intended to read, or home renos that you’ve put by the wayside, this is the time to tackle them.
- Get outside. If you can avoid close proximity to others, go for a walk each day. Fresh air offers a fresh perspective and shifts our mindset. As you walk, look around you and be grateful for your surroundings, and appreciate how well you feel. That is something to be grateful for!
- Call a friend or two or three. Make a practice of checking in on people each day, especially those who live alone. Some may not reach out when they’re feeling low, and prolonged isolation can be particularly hard on those living in solitude.
- Practice slow living. Take more time to cook your meals. Slow down over dinner and really talk to your loved ones. If you’re alone, take this time to meditate on the pleasure of eating. Really experience the taste and texture of your food. (This is also a great way to lose weight, because you’ll feel full sooner.) Check in with your feelings, and take time to breathe and relax. Take time to converse with your loved ones, and forget about the passage of time.
- Stay present. It’s really easy in this scenario to project a fearful future or to wonder how long this situation will continue. Stop and look around you in this moment. Appreciate what you actually have in terms of comforts, resources, time, and support. If you stop to think about it, you probably have more help than you realize (you might just have to stop being so independent and ask for it in the coming days).
- Let go. The COVID-19 virus is an excellent teacher in surrender. We cannot control our current situation. What better opportunity do we have to trust our path and respond with open curiosity to the conditions we find ourselves in? We can use this time to ask ourselves what fears are being brought to the surface. What are we clinging to (besides toilet paper) that we could relax about? (Remember, washcloths existed before toilet paper was invented. We can deal if we find ourselves lacking in tree products.)
- Create a new pattern. Consider an area of your life where you’ve been meaning to make a change, but haven’t gotten around to it. You now have time to establish a new pattern that works for you. By the time you return to your regularly scheduled program, it will show up differently because you will have integrated this new pattern into your thinking and your life. You’ve got the time. Go for it!