April 4, 2020
The world is a scary place right now, for everyone! But I know there will be many a parent, freelancer/self-employed creative finding themself on the brink of self-destruction.
So I have come up with 6 simple steps to help you find your balance and instil a sense of calm amongst the chaos as you go about your day-to-day.
I’m sure you’ll agree there seems to be nothing but confusion, panic and false information everywhere you look! Fear is spreading and breeding within every social platform and the many groups on Facebook! And, let’s face it, it’s completely overwhelming! Not only for ourselves, but for our jobs, businesses and livelihoods as well.
I’m sure I’m not the only one to have found their social media platforms have been inundated with fearmongering, guilt-ridden posts, exclaiming what we all should and shouldn’t be doing in this mutual limbo we currently find ourselves in. It’s not only unfairly attacking our mental health, but it’s also quashing (great word) other peoples feelings and means of processing as we come to terms with the ever-changing effects this pandemic is having on our general day-to-day outlook.
At the forefront of our families and our businesses is us. We are all experiencing the effects of COVID-19 in some way and only as individuals can we know what is the best decision and course of action to move forward through this. But we can only control what we can control!
So, with that in mind, I am not going to suggest you now spend your lockdown/quarantine/self-isolation time working on your business, re-branding/re-building/re-designing, etc. (Especially for those of you with children! Home Schooling is hard enough!) But what I would like to share with you are some of my own personal tips to reinstil a sense of calm and quiet during moments of panic.
I know this may seem painstakingly obvious, but the whole ‘counting to 10’ thing really does work!
So if you find yourself on the brink of panic, step away from whatever task is in front of you and simply take a moment to just stop and breathe.
In moments of distress, such as the ones we are currently facing, we are going to be forever in fight or flight mode. So before you spiral into a blubbering mess or send a much too harshly worded email, take a step back, shut your eyes and focus on your breath. Allow yourself enough time to find within you the calm you need and take things at your own pace.
If you’re anything like me (Queen procrastinator) then you too struggle to work or focus in a messy environment! Of course, right now when there is likely more than one body contained within your home (spouse/partner/parent/child) then that is only going to add to the pile and make things even trickier for your brain to handle! So set aside some time to channel your angst into creating the perfect little work/chill station that is to be free from clutter and everyday mess, and occupied by you and only you! Get some scented candles going, crack open a window/throw on a slanket, whatever you need to provide comfort and calm.
There’s something about physically writing down an issue/task/reminder onto a piece of paper, not an iPhone or tablet, that somehow solidifies the message and allows our brains to CHILL OUT! Our minds will be working overtime (even more than usual) right now, and there will be a lot of fleeting and lingering thoughts hitting us throughout all hours of the day and night. So keep a notepad and pen nearby to scribble these thoughts down and allow them out of your brain.
Everyone loves a good to-do list and it doesn’t matter how many of them are stuck to the fridge! It’s better they linger there for as long as is necessary than occupy valuable and fragile space in your mind.
Whatever you need to do to escape your mind, allow yourself time to switch off without the guilt! There is nothing wrong with taking a 20-minute work break to watch an episode of Friends if it will help you return to your laptop/work station happier and refocused. There is nothing wrong in starting your day with a cup of tea/coffee and an hour of reading in bed (we’re all working from home after all, who’s gonna know)!
If your day is falling apart and you need to give yourself more time and space to work through your emotions and devise a sensible plan of action, then switch off.
My personal suggested list of activities are:
– Practice the art of Feng-shui
– Netflix binge (personal recs. include Gilmore Girls, Sabrina, Sex Education, Locke & Key, Ozark, Entourage, Game of Thrones (obvs), Mind Hunter… I’ve got more if you want them!)
– Baking (if you’re lucky enough to have all the ingredients you need!)
– Reading (check out this blog post for my recommended reading lists!)
– BUILD A BLANKET FORT!
– Practice your latte art (again, if you’re lucky enough to be in possession of Oatly Barista, which I, presently, am not *cries into my black coffee*)
– Start a Journal
– A ‘stay-in-your’ house party with friends
– Marie Kondo your house
– Download QuizUp!
Our usual daily routines are, more than likely, going to be all over the place at the moment. So nourishment and activity need to be on your top priority list! With the kitchen mere footsteps away at all times, it’s going to be difficult to avoid those precious and very limited quarantine snacks!
So keep your body hydrated (and not just on coffee/tea), plan a fun walking tour of your house/apartment to keep your body moving, and remember to eat your veggies and not just the ice cream! But ultimately, and especially for right now, consume what makes you happy! If a Twix bar is what it will take to suppress the tears and help get you through the day, then a Twix bar is what you shall have!
Use your voice and phone a friend!
There will be plenty of people self-isolating with no partner/spouse/parent/child to *distract them (*aka ‘drive them crazy’), but loneliness will likely be taking care of that for them at some stage! So don’t wallow in silence and don’t allow your friends to either! If you have questions, concerns, worries, positive news, new jokes to share, get on the phone and use your voice!
We’re not totally alone in our isolation – others are experiencing it too. So now is the perfect time to speak up and check-in with those around us, both for our own mental well being and theirs.
I hope you’re able to find some comfort somewhere within these six simple steps. Please do leave a comment if you found this to be helpful/have any steps of your own you’d like to add!
For daily hang-outs and chats, you can always find me over on Instagram! I’m forever scrolling and lusting over gorgeous feeds, so no doubt if you want to have a chat, that’s where I’ll be!