Now that the actuality of this pandemic state that we are under globally is setting and our everyday life is affected by the parameters of stress, uncertainty, and fear; how do we adopt?
How do we not only leave in survival mode, but use this opportunity to pivot, to create/design a plan that will keep us resillient, healthy, pro-active, progressive and in control? Where are sense of self is not under threat, but unfolding towards greater well – being, a possibility, a metamorphosis of our highest self?
Here are 25 tips that I am myself in the process of creating as I go, learn and with the help of others:
- Create routine – after the initial few days of shock wore off as each day we were entering a state that we never thought, or planned to experience; organizing a routine felt productive, predictable, controllable and stress reducing. Especially when I think of people who suffer from the effects of trauma, like PTSD and other chronic pain patients, creating routine that is safe, predictable and based on self care can be life saving. Make it balanced based on your daily needs, work, social, connection, wellness/self care.
- Outdoor time – In Vancouver, British Columbia, we are so fortunate to have clean and fresh air and lots of nature all around us, just outside our doors. Try and get out to nature everyday for at least 20-30 minutes minimum daily, even when it rains.
- Dress Up – Even Though I am not allowed to go to my workplace and work in person with people where I would usually wear my work clothes, I still do that everyday at home. It makes me feel good and trains my mind to be in work mode, or feel good about myself and how I look.
- Social Connection – From day one I have made a point to connect more via different platforms with family, friends and colleagues. I feel great, more loved, supported and stimulated. Actually this is such a great opportunity to all go through and come out more connected with others then ever before.
- Limit time with the news – how much time you spend in front of the news can really trigger you into anxiety, panic, fear and pain. Don’t completely cut off, be informed, connected but limit your time of exposure it will affect your state.
- Exercise – whatever works for you to what stage you are in with your health and well being. Choose something daily and do it consistently, at home or outdoors. Exercise has many mental and physical benefits. I’ve been enjoying, biking, running, walking, hiking and playing with my son.
- Creativity – In my household we have been really creative with food prep, baking, cooking, learning new languages, or learning new platforms. It has kept all our creative juices in the house flowing and giving us joy. What is a project your always wanted to do? a language, a skill? Now there is so much time to explore.
- Laughter – laughter is the best medicine. Some of the best comedies and comedians were created during personal hardships. Laughter and joy is healing that a fact, so find movies, sitcoms, comedy routines, or people in your life that make you laugh and book that in daily :).
- Finances wellness/security – Many individuals, families and businesses are financially devastated by the pandemic. The governments are trying to step in and support its citizens, cable companies, insurance companies, tax agencies and so on are stepping in during this crisis to offer support in their own ways. There could be family members supporting each other, friends and so on. Make sure you can control what you can control and take all the help that is offered through this period. Cut all non essential expenses from your monthly expenses, get creative with possible income streams. Talk to the accountant, your bank, your credit card companies, financial advisor and your landlord; we are all in it together.
- Meditation/Mindfulness Practice – There are so many ways to learn how to be more mindful and how to meditate that you can find something that works for you. I always say if you are a beginner start with guided practice, meaning someone/a voice guiding you through experiences. Do it daily if you can it has cumulative effects and trains the mind to be more resilient, present, focused and creative. If anything your learn how to BE with self without a need of something/someone else.
- Yoga/Movement Practice – The tissues need to be moved in order for issues to be released. Yoga and other bodymind movement therapies have proved to help people in chronic pain, suffering from the effects of trauma and ptsd.
- Nutrition – this is customized to the individual needs taking into consideration, possible allergies and sensitivities, but in general: 75 percent vegetables and fruits, proteins , healthy fats and certain complex carbohydrates. Find something that works for you and your body type and belief system, but trying to avoid the usual triggers: refined foods, excess sugar, preservatives, nitrates, excess alcohol, excess coffee. All of these create more inflammation, pain and an overstimulated nervous system.
- Reading – there is so much time to read and your knowledge is based on how much you assimilate other’s wisdom and information and your wisdom is learned through your pain experiences. You can join a reading club, or share books with friends and colleagues.
- Support Group – If you don’t have currently a support network around there are millions like you! There is no shame to join one either on social media, or available through your municipality, city, country. If you are ambitious and creative and feel called upon create your own :).
- Get Therapy – now more then ever you will need some additional support with dealing with heightened stress, pain levels, or triggers that evoke traumatic memories, anxieties, fears, depression, pain, of your chronic condition. Please reach out before it gets to a breaking point, before you are overwhelmed and debilitated. Prevention is the best cure.
- Spiritual Practice – you don’t have to be religious to believe in something that is greater, in the divine that is within all of us. If you are religious or not, it has been proven that the power of intentional prayer is very powerful for our sense of well – being and our health.
- Immune Boost – there are so many herbs, vitamins out there on the market and that could be a post on its on and will be soon, but it has been shown that Vitamin C, D and a B Complex is a good foundation together with Vitamin A and Zinc. They actually have been treating Covid-10 with High dosage Vitamin C Intravenous transfusions in hospitals in New York, USA and China.
- Restful sleep – years ago i trained myself how to sleep no matter what kind of stress i was going through. It was the best thing I did for myself as chronic stress affects your sleep quality and can create insomnia which will affect in turn everything. Get into the habitual pattern at night time to transition your brainwave state into an alpha state which is optimal to transition to that deep sleep where the body heals and recovers.
- Just Play – Don’t forget to continue to play, watch nature it still is playful and full of life. We don’t allow ourselves to play when we are stressed and that ages us quickly, makes us rigid in the body and mind. Play with children, animals, others.
- Create your space – If you are locked up in a house with others, create own your space and give that time for yourself, its healthy for everyone.
- Add to your toolkit – It the lack of tools that put us in a chronic state not our innate ability. Collect more tools of resilience, regulation and self care.
- Music therapy – when patients are coming to see me in person there is always soothing music with nature landscapes playing, i found with this isolation I was definitely missing that and started to play it daily. My wife and son started to sing together to their favourite songs and my son playing the violin daily and the synthesizer. It all adds up to enhanced mood and more joy in the house. Music helps us process emotions, increase creativity, cognition and self regulation.
- Stay hydrated – besides the obvious of washing your hands all the time, drinking room temperature water, 1.5 – 2 liters per day. That could be a mix of water, tea, coffee, fresh juices. It helps with so many physiological processes in the body and helps your kidneys and adrenals cope with stress. If you are dehydraded you will become more acidic and therefore inflammatory markers will increase and you will experience more inflammation.
- This will pass – was a mantra i learned in 10 days silent retreats that I’ve done throughout my 20’s. Nothing is constant and forever, the only constant is change. Once i worked with a holocaust survivor and she asked me you know how I survived in Auschwitz? I answered no I don’t know how. She said I told myself everyday that tomorrow will be different, tomorrow will be better even when i was on the march of death, i said soon i will be rescued.
- What Is the Meaning – when people are wondering why this suffering has happened to me? why did i need to go through this traumas? why me? In a way there is always a clear purpose to that answer. It is just that is hard to see it through the pain, the stress, the story, but there is always a purpose for people who dare to go through their pain. This is a collective opportunity to ask what is the meaning in all of this? I contemplate that daily and the answers that come to me keeping me hopeful, driven and on purpose.
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