When a couple of weeks ago our life was at the edge of turning upside down, it dawned on me that many things would change in a drastic way.
Lockdowns and physical distancing regulations literally changed the way we live our lives in order to fight a virus that is second to none.
Over the course of these past weeks, I have developed a few routines that have helped me stay focused, productive and positive. I’m sure many of you have done the same, so why don’t we share them and help each other lift our spirits up?
- Daily meditation. If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that I am a big proponent of meditation of all forms. Therefore, I don’t tire highlighting the importance of regular meditation, especially during hard times. Meditation has been linked to so many health benefits, physically and mentally alike. I love using the app Insight Timer, where you can choose from hundreds of different meditations or simply set an alarm with your desired background sound. My boyfriend is a big fan of the app Waking Up by Sam Harris and I have heard good things about the app Calm. Either choice is a great starting point, the only important thing is to get started.
- Fill up on fresh air. In times of long periods spent indoors, such as prolonged home office times, it’s important to escape the cozy apartment daily for a pause filled with fresh air. Sometimes it doesn’t directly feel like we are missing fresh air, but during these restricted times, since most of us are missing our daily commute to work along with lunch meetings or after work dates, we are in fact missing a lot of time outside. Friends of mine have reported of whole days spent in front of their laptops without going outdoors even once. Filling up on fresh air has always been a routine of mine, but is now even more so. It’s the easiest way to up my vitamin D intake, oxygenate my body and brain, move and enjoy this pretty season with all its enticing smells and beautiful views.
- Exercise and move. Now more than ever, when gyms, pools and yoga studios are closed, it’s time to get creative and move our bodies in order to stay strong, vital and healthy. There are a million videos online and free apps available with great workouts. I love the app Downdog for my Yoga practice, which I can highly recommend. Many apps even offer free prolonged trials for those who can’t afford a subscription. Additionally, check your local gym’s website, since many studios now offer free workout videos, so you might even come across familiar faces.
- Nourish your body. As a foodie, I am naturally a huge fan of getting creative in the kitchen, trying out new recipes and enjoying good quality food with gusto. Nourishing our body with healthy foods helps us to feel active and fit instead of sluggish, tired and lazy. You can find plenty of delicious and easy recipes on this blog (just scroll through my recipe section), but don’t stop there. I very often try out recipes from my favorite and likewise inspiring fellow food bloggers: Green Kitchen Stories, My New Roots, Deliciously Ella, The Doctor’s Kitchen, Food Matters, Hemsley & Hemsley. During these times it’s important to share great resources where we can find inspiration and I am happy to share these amazing blogs with you.
- Journal. How will the world look like after this crisis is over? Will I lose my job? Will I ever see my grandparents or other relatives again? What if my relationship doesn’t withstand the challenges of the stay-at-home-policies? There are many worries and unanswered questions running through our minds day by day. Some worries are easier to share with friends and family and therefore lessened, while others are much harder to get off our chest. A method that has proven very helpful for many, myself included, when suffering from a rollercoaster of sorrows, is to cultivate a journal or gratitude diary. It’s a wonderful way to get troubling thoughts off your chest, set worries in perspective and find a way of accepting them or even realize that they are not that bad. Learn more about the benefits of journaling in my blog post An Ode to My Diary. When things keep nagging my mind I always remind myself of something Jamie Foxx once said in an interview: “What is behind fear?” In my case, most often nothing, just the wall of fear I built bigger than it should be.
- Reinvent your career. For many people, who are struggling with career perspectives, now is a good time to consider reinventing their career. I’m well aware that a career change requires a lot of hard work, courage and faith, which is why I’m only suggesting considering it if it’s feasible and realistic in your case. I read this article in the Harvard Business Review about that topic the other day and found it quite inspiring. If you belong to those who are affected by short-time work and now have more time to pursue long forgotten hobbies, why not use the time to consider a side job, an additional qualification or even further education?
- Cultivate new hobbies. Have you always had a talent for painting? Why not get a canvas and color right now and be a painter, at least for today? What’s the harm, we can only gain a little fun by exploring things we have always put off. Have you always wanted to learn another language, but never had the time? Now may be just the time to pursue that intention. Acquire new skills or refine existing ones. Whatever brings you joy and some distraction will add more value to your life. If not now, then when?
- Read books. Eventually I’d like to share my last idea on how to create more serenity in your life: Nearly all of the world’s knowledge is accumulated in books. There are books on every topic, for every taste and age, in many different languages. Find your space in the literary world and dive into wisdom, fiction, poetry, knowledge and education. Stories are a window to another world. They are the medium we can use to escape reality for a bit or broaden our horizon on so many levels. Here comes a list of books that I have enjoyed reading:
- Katja Pantzar: Sisu – In search of courage, strength and happiness the Finnish way
- Michelle Obama: Becoming
- Ilya Ilf: Ilf & Petrov’s American Road Trip
- Fiona McIntosh: The Lavendar Keeper
- Benedict Wells: The End of Loneliness
- Joachim Meyerhoff: All of his biographical novels
- Haruki Murakami: 1Q84 and many others
- Alexander Puschkin: Pique Dame (A short story)
- Diana Gabaldon: Outlander
- Ronald H. Balson: Once we were brothers
- Donna W. Cross: Pope Joan
- Charles Belfoure: The Paris Architect
- Betty Mahmoddy: Not without my daughter
- Dr. Josh Axe: Eat Dirt