These are very stressful times with a worldwide pandemic that is dragging on with no end in sight. And now, out here where I live on the West Coast we have epic wildfires that have caused people to flee with the clothes on their backs, ravaging whole communities. The suffering is immense and hard to witness, especially when added to all the months of sadness and grief during COVID-19.
Even the most relentlessly optimistic among us are having a hard time coping, so I went in search of ways to bolster my own spirits and found some things that I hope will help others.
An online search for how to cope during a pandemic yields a lot of articles and resources—they all cover the basics of eating well, staying hydrated, and getting exercise and contacting your medical professionals for advice as necessary. Those are the basics, and we can all benefit from following those suggestions.
However, in these extraordinary times, we all can use a little more help.
On a Zoom meeting a few weeks ago, the chair of the meeting asked us all what we were reading, watching and listening to during these times. It was enlightening and educational to hear what others were doing and gave me the idea to ask that question in other virtual meetings, as well as online. People love to share what they think is the funniest movie or the best comedian, or an intriguing Netflix show. Put the question out on your favorite social media platform and you will get some great suggestions! (Bonus: you will most likely laugh just reading the comments and remembering the ones you have already seen.)
VIRTUAL YOGA AND OTHER EXERCISE
Restorative yoga—if you haven’t already heard of this, you are in for a treat! In real life, an instructor will guide you through a series of supported poses that you can comfortably stay in for several minutes, while playing soothing music or even massaging essential oils into your head or feet or arms. Obviously, the massage part is not happening now but the rest of the experience is easily done virtually. The silver lining? You’re at home so you can stay relaxed at the end for as long as you want, even sliding right into your bed!
I found these classes and experiences because I was signed up for my yoga teachers’ emails and newsletters—if you have a studio or gym or teacher you used to go to, search online and see what they are offering virtually.
As we all know, staying active is good for our physical and mental health. Challenge yourself to do one new thing a month and maybe even invite a friend to join you - virtually, of course!
PODCASTS ARE A THING
Now, I am of a certain age and had been hearing of podcasts but thought they were mainly news-related or political. Well, lo and behold, there is a whole universe of topics out there. Whatever your interest is, you can find several podcasts on it. My daughters turned me onto a podcast that ostensibly focuses on true crime stories but is more about the relationship between the two woman who host the series. They discuss EVERYTHING, and frequently go off into riffs that are hilarious, poignant, and inspiring. Ask your community for ideas of podcasts they listen to — and prepare to be amazed! Who knows? It may inspire you to come up with your own podcast idea. And again, ask your friends and colleagues what their faves are!
HOBBIES, OLD AND NEW
Have you always wanted to knit or crochet? Paint? Bake sourdough bread (that seems to be a popular hobby right now!)? Now that you are at home a lot and unable to go out with friends, use the time to really dive into something you have always wanted to learn. There are online videos for everything you can think of to get you started (or you can order a how-to book online if you’re old-school like me). Now is the time to try something new! Or maybe now is the time to finally do one of those craft ideas or projects you’ve got hanging out in your closet or garage.
IT’S SILLY BUT….
Look up cute dog and cat videos online. There is a reason they are so prevalent—they always bring a smile!
Written by: Dawn Lopshire
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