No matter where you are in the world right now, you’re either experiencing a self-imposed quarantine or complete lockdown in some cities. If your weather is not easy to go out in, becoming stir crazy indoors can happen. With limited exposure to the outside world and restrictions with social distancing, it can be easy to get pulled into a lackluster daily experience.
In my neck of the woods, Southern California, it’s usually sunny. Although in the last week, it hasn’t been. We’ve had unseasonably cloudy and rainy days which makes going outdoors challenging. For me, personally, as an ambivert (one part introvert, one part extrovert), I felt myself starting to slip into a slow melancholy. Without being able to take a walk outside or have in person conversations with many people (as I used to throughout the day), I felt displaced. I knew it was time to find solutions in order to maintain my well-being.
While we all have different things that light us up, I thought I’d share mine in hopes that it will stoke your fires, bring some hope and add a spring in your step during these challenging times.
1. Get moving
Yep, I realize we’re mostly confined to the indoors right now. Many of you may be operating from tiny spaces. More than ever before, so many yoga studios and gyms are streaming classes online for free. YouTube is a treasure trove of workout videos of all shapes and sizes. Then there are apps like 7 minute workout that help you get in some movement even if you’re pressed for time between working from home or wrangling your kids. If weather permits, take a walk around your block and appreciate the nature around you. If you’re in a city, appreciate the structures and the streets—see them in a way that you never have before.
2. Get centered
Meditation. I realize this may not be a fan favorite, but quieting your mind is a powerful action to take especially now. Being bombarded by the media and our social feeds can send our minds into a veritable tailspin and heighten our anxiety, thwarting our clarity and our connection to ourselves and a higher power. This is the perfect moment to take a step back, breathe, connect with your body and find your center. Take 5 minutes, lock yourself away from the world and do your best to quiet your mind. Yes, thoughts will still flock in. Invite them in and then gently escort them out. Focus on your breathing—the inflow and the outflow. Pay attention to your muscles by tensing them and then relaxing them. If you find yourself getting distracted, try again. Start in small increments and increase them over time. Meditation is a practice. Be patient with yourself.
3. Get grateful
A gratitude practice. This one is good for you and your family. I suggest starting at the beginning of your day. If you’re struggling with melancholy, up-level your gratitude practice by finding things to be grateful for throughout the day. Take the time to be grateful for at least 5 things. If you find even that challenging, I get it. Go back to basics. I’ll help you start. You’ve found this article and you’re reading it—be thankful you have the device to read this on and you have good enough eyesight to read this. Is there someone you love that you can be grateful for? Did someone or something bring you hope today? Did you have food to eat? Are you breathing right now? I could go on and on. I’m passionate about a gratitude practice—it literally saved my life. Many years ago, I was struggling with clinical depression. Gratitude was one of the tools that lifted me out. When I started my gratitude practice it took me starting very small—with a list of five things. Over time that grew and it can for you too.
4. Give back
We’re all aware of the old adage, “it’s better to give than to receive.” While receiving, especially right now, can be good if we’re in need of support, there is a secret sauce that can lift us out of our melancholy and worry—it’s giving back.
Hang in with me here for a moment. I realize that some area of your life may be compromised right now and you have no idea how you can give. I invite you to expand your perspective. Giving in this case could be something as simple as a blessing, a smile, an encouraging word, listening to someone, offering your time. I could go on and on. Giving to another takes our focus off of our concerns and makes a contribution to someone or something that helps them or makes their experience better. In this global community, we’ve seen so many cases of kindness—people sharing with each other and lending a helping hand during these uncertain times. Figure out a way that you can give from a place of love rather than obligation and notice how whatever you put out there comes back to you in a beautiful way.
Some of the most challenging times in history have led to outcomes that have served to lift humanity, leading to innovations, solidarity and renewed vigor. This may be one of those times. It’s easy to get caught up in the fear, panic and pandemonium the media so dearly loves to spew. I invite you to switch up your focus and see how others are coming together to lift spirits, to contribute to causes that are near and dear to their heart, to share whatever they can to help another and so on.
There is one thing I know for certain. Everything in life is temporary. There is a season for everything. It could get worse before it gets better or it could continue to get better. There’s a great deal of uncertainty in our world right now and we have the choice to be ok with it, knowing the situation is temporary. Nothing lasts forever and this will pass. Support, solutions, resources show up, even at the last minute. Believe that your best days, our best days as a collective, are still ahead of us. Hold out for the hope and choose love instead of fear.
Which one of these suggestions resonates most for you today? How will you keep your spirits up? Comment below and if you know someone who could use this message, share it out. Want a little extra support? Get free uplifting tips here. Remember, we’re all in this together.